Possessor – Electric Hell

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Hailing from London with a penchant for occult metal and with already the Wings of Fire EP under their belt this year, UK metallers Possessor have unleashed a rather tasty and impressive debut album in the stormy form of Electric Hell. There is not much more we can tell you about the band except that if you like a cocktail of sludge and stoner metal with thrash and varied metal rapacity, then this is an ear rioting album to whip up the juices. Consisting of nine tracks which simply flirt with the imagination whilst rigorously fondling the passions, Electric Hell is a treat for all fans of bands such as Black Sabbath, Slayer, and Fu Manchu through to Black Tusk, Gruntruck, and Kyuss with plenty more on offer. There is one band though which came to mind again and again as the release set to work on ears, and that is early Therapy?, the album vocally and in its predatory sounds holding a highly agreeable and uncanny essence of the Irish trio about them.

Unique in its own presence too, the album is a gloriously raw and irresistibly cantankerous encounter which makes an immediate and appetite igniting impression through the first rugged swipes of opener Chasms of Malice alone. From the first breath, sinew clad strikes of guitar courted by the bestial throaty charm of bass crowd ears to spark swift attention, the imagination following suit as an acidic groove and caustic riffing emerges to consume the senses. There is a punk vitality to the track too, especially once the effect surfaced vocals join the now rampaging stride of guitars and the punchy rhythms. It is a glorious enticement with the snarling bass stealing the limelight, but only just from the toxic groove and insatiable swagger of the song.

Its striking start is swiftly followed and matched by Invisible Face, again riffs setting down predatory bait which is coloured by stoner-esque hues and infectious grooves. With a haunted tone to the vocals and grumbling voracity to both bass and drums, the track bulges with rabid riffs and spiky hooks to inflame an already greed bitten appetite. It is a hunger soon fed a tasty morsel by Limb from Limb and spoilt by the outstanding Castle of Bastards. The first of the two is a more slowly intensive proposition, its acidic binding of sonic enterprise as restrained and flavoursome as the gentler expression of the vocals. It is deceptive though as at its core, the song is primed and driven by an incessant nagging of riffs and the ever incendiary bass sound. It is an underbelly which is fuelled with rabidity, a lure as potently predacious as the sounds around it are magnetically reserved. It is a fine encounter but soon left looking up at the might of its successor. Like most tracks on the album it is driven by thrash bred tenacity and muscular urgency which makes for a familiar and easily digestible spine, upon which the rest of the song expands and brings its creative devilry. Castle of Bastards is no exception but to this insatiable bait it unleashes a bestial breath and inventive sonic unpredictability which simply bewitches. The track is where that reference to Therapy? is first bred, though earlier tracks hint at it at times too. Far too short at less than two minutes long, the song is pure hostile drama and quite magnificent.

The sultry stoner grooving of Strange Summoning over a garage punk and heavy metal blended canvas makes its own sturdy claim for top track honours. Again brief in presence but rich on irrepressible adventure with riffs and grooves the prime addiction, it soon makes way for the Sabbath-esque Heavy Dreams. It is a song intensive in weight and primal structuring yet veined with a sonic intrigue and melodic causticity which would not be out of place in a Torche or Melvins treat. It is followed by the virulent contagion of the instrumental Skeletal Form, a corrosive dance of scathing riffs and inhospitable rhythms with an impossibly addictive groove, one again related to anything the previously mention Irish band uncaged on the Shortsharpshock EP or the Troublegum album. Equipped with sludge oppressiveness and acute stoner seeded sonic enticements, the piece is a deliciously enslaving encounter which reinforces the depth and devilish character of the band’s exhilarating sound.

The album is concluded by firstly the sonic grazing of Face the Possessor, a track which fails to find the same eagerness of reactions as its predecessors but still with intimidating jagged riffery and entrancing guitar endeavour leaves ears richly satisfied and the imagination enticed. The final song of the album is its title track, a hypnotic and unrelenting persuasion of doom spawned pressure and bordering on insidious temptation. It is a demonic slice of instrumental alchemy which shows that if ever their frontman lost his voice the band would not disappoint on stage thanks to their absorbing and spellbinding, not forgetting ingenious sonic adventure.

As Electric Hell seduces time and time again, it is hard to imagine that Possessor will go unnoticed for long by fans, media, or even label interest. Now is the time to submit to their diablerie we say, this raw and unpolished gem of an album a thrilling ticket to the start of their inevitable ascending ride.

Electric Hell is available now @ http://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/electric-hell

https://www.facebook.com/possessorband

9/10

RingMaster 10/08/2014

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I Am Duckeye – Commando Too

pic Michael Reynolds

pic Michael Reynolds

Those insatiable Australian riff stalkers I Am Duckeye have returned with second album Commando Too and if you thought they could not exploit and distort the classic cacophonous swipe any more than they did on debut album Husband, then stand corrected as the Melbourne quartet has bred and plucked a whole new tsunami of belligerent riffery and merciless revelry. Consisting of fourteen tongue pressing slabs of salacious devilment and unbridled wickedness, album two spreads the toxins birthed in its predecessor into new insatiably irreverent and seriously compelling brawls.

From the first day of their rampage in 2008 it is probably fair to say that the quartet of guitarists/vocalists and brothers Sam and Matt Haycroft (who also play in Sydonia, Afterwhite and Chico Flash respectively), bassist Jules (also in Dirty F), and drummer Sean (Sydonia), has had the good clean living people of Melbourne drenched in nightmares and the hellacious basking with broad grins. They are a band that once assaulted and thrilled by lustful hunger is inevitable, as with us after their inescapable Punching Dicks EP. It was a release which told us all about the mischief and intent of the band whilst Husband revealed beneath all the humour and sexual antics, I Am Duckeye takes their music seriously and with a plentiful of skill and imagination. The Duckeye riff mobile has been taking on steam to match its weight and with the release of Commando Too, it can only be a matter of when and not if the tea bagging reprobates infect and bring down the world.

The crowd-funded album opens with the towering ‘offspring’ of first album’s track The Riff, well certainly a closely bred cousin. Son of a a3551119337_2Riff reveals its intent lyrically and musically within its first breath, scraping guitars teasing ears as the vocals provide the source of the narrative in the bands as always one of a kind way. It is not long before rhythms are caving in on the senses whilst guitars turn up with searing flames and ferocity. The music growls like a woman giving birth, grizzling sonic endeavour adding to the heavyweight voracity driving on the track’s twisted rampage. It is a tremendous start given extra spice by the brief My Sharona like licks and swiftly matched by the just as ravenous endeavour of Grip It. Though distinctly different the song starts with the same intensity and scarring riffery of its predecessor but as it establishes itself soon unearths a hell of a demonic riff and throat which is plain rabid. Suddenly a juggernaut of rapacious urgency and spiteful dynamics, the confrontation tears down senses and ignites the imagination like a mix of Slayer meets Age of Menace meets Melvins, and is just brilliant.

Hi Viz comes next and though it has its moments just does not click overall. Steam punk expulsions and floating discord kissed harmonies drift into view first courted by a single guitar. It is an intriguing if not captivating start but one soon working once embraced by a torrent of scathing riffs and sonic antagonism. Sadly that is the best part of the song and only when it intermittently returns does, for personal pleasure, the song work. Nevertheless it makes a decent variation before the addictive punk- skat fest of Duckeye Boogie picks up ears and passions for a rhythmically hypnotic and sonically seductive romp. As always the band’s choice of words and lyrical adventure is irresistible but as with the last album it is the music which grabs the biggest plaudits, though combined everything is a destiny suiting fit.

The just as tremendous Windmills comes along next, again the band playing with their punk side (something their mother never warned them about). There is a sense of Dirt Box Disco to the feisty sinew driven punk ‘n’ roll incitement, where rhythms and especially riffs steal the honours once again though the infestation of hooks have their say also before the album takes another twist and venture into disco with Tuesday, I Go the Blues Way…only kidding. The song is a sweaty rather than sultry moan of the blues done Aussie style and as always with the band comes in an unpredictable soak of delicious taunting. Imagine Lemmy singing the blues after lessons from Sir Les Patterson and you get the drift to another great moment.

Things only get better and better as the album progresses, the noise rock mess of I Need Rehab just excellent and hilarious. Vocally distraught and musically deranged until its heavy rock needs escape, the track is just irresistible as is the following post/steam punk come electro orgy of What is Wrong with Me?, a brief self-reflection which is more pride than insecurities. Matching the pair in setting leakages in motion is Stool Bender, a fierce heavy stoner bred rocker of a mating with the ears which flirts, gnaws, and suffocates the senses, though not always in that order. Stalked by the bass and slapped around by the drums, passions are already aflame but sent feverish by the cruel causticity of the riffing and the ever engaging vocals. The track is another undeniable slab of evidence to the growing craft and intent of the songwriting of the band and their accomplished sounds, so much so that you just wonder if one day we will see a ‘serious’ rock/metal album coming from the guys.

This latest lofty plateau of the album continues with the stomping animosity of the blistering Meth is Death and the Black Tusk like avalanche Agonhymn, both adding rich fun, diversity, and might to the release before the angst drawn Headbutt. If persistence and sonic nagging is a sin than this band is going right where they want to with tracks like this their infernal anthem. It is a bestial and ruinous experience, a damnation of contagion.

The album finishes with firstly the exhausting blaze of Ayy Ayy, a savage and uncompromising fury which makes Mastodon look timid but a tempest which is just as gleeful mellowing in unexpected places with wistful harmonies and looks. From there the release closes on the sweltering climate and stoner sonic winery of Panchow, a final leviathan of proof in case you had any doubts left that this band can write exceptional metal/rock songs of varying spices. It is a smouldering stoner/psychedelic flame of acidic enterprise and evocative resonance which leaves a lingering fire for the imagination and passions to immerse in.

After Husband we were left wondering if I Am Duckeye could go much further in their invention and craft let alone devilment; well Commando Too is the evidence that not only can they but it is still blissfully early days…

Comando Too is available now @ http://iamduckeye.bandcamp.com/

http://iamduckeye.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 11/06/2014

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Triggerman – Origins, Lost Travellers & Rock & Roll Heaven

Origins Official

You are always guaranteed irrepressible heavyweight riffs and intensely thunderous rhythms from a Triggerman release as well as grievously gravelly vocals which provide the icing on the muscular cake. To date you are also sure of a proposition which leaves appetite and passions full, something new EP Origins, Lost Travellers & Rock & Roll Heaven breeds in cavernous depths. The three track release is a monster of an incitement, unleashing all that makes the Northern Ireland riff warriors rigorously magnetic and unforgettable whilst twisting in new strains and exploits in to its plentiful bounty.

Hailing from Derry, the quartet of Bap (vocals, guitar), Niall (guitar), Rory (drums), Dixie (bass), follow up their exceptional Hail To The River Gods album with another sizeable homage to the riff. The riff is king and Triggerman its unrelenting champion which as ever is vigorously proven on the new EP. Formed in 2002, the band has been a heavyweight protagonist from day one, their first album Brand New Day in 2010 an acclaimed introduction which Hail To The River Gods took to another level and depth of spotlight two years later. Converging rapacious metal and the heaviest of ferocious rock into their memorably distinct rampancy, an onslaught carved with spicy grooves and melodic toxins, Triggerman has shaped their finest moment yet with the new EP, a release already sparking greedy impatience inside for their next provocation.

From the first breath of opener Origin Of Man, incredibly chunky riffs are gnawing at welcoming ears before being swiftly assisted by lashes of sonic enticement and sinewed rhythms. Once in full swing the track strides purposefully as Bap uncages the lyrical premise of the song with his unique tones, the beginnings of man and the disputing of Darwin and his theories unveiled. With a tongue firmly lodged or not, the narrative has a resourcefulness and swagger to match the bold enticement of the track. Across its delicious lures, riffs chug with enterprise and melodies in their most acidic form entwined with spicy stoner seeded grooves which enslave imagination and appetite. At its core Rory beats out an inescapable trap whilst the heavily throated bass call created by Dixie simply enthrals and ignites the primitive antagonist inside. It is a glorious start and return by the band, a song showing an even greater maturity in design and adventure than the last release without losing the core essence which makes Triggerman one of a kind.

The Lazarushian swiftly follows and is instantly embracing the senses in a spellbinding sonic lasso of melodic endeavour which once established in thought and hunger relaxes into a virulently infectious canter around the next turn of the EP’s venture. Niall creates an instinctive seduction with his enthralling designs around the strolling lyrical premise from Bap, beats matching the gait of the vocals whilst the bass shapes imposing shadows to add captivating textures and depths to the riveting canvas. Across its full scenic adventure, both Bap and Niall create a thrilling web with their guitar enterprise, reinforcing the open evidence that the band is much more than just about an allegiance to the riff.

The closing Valhalla stomps from its first second with a raw glaze and addictive temptation to its riffs and hooks, the track arguably closer to the last album than the other pair of songs but still shaping a fresh twist in the creative evolution of band and sound within the release. The track roams ears and imagination with a more straightforward suasion than elsewhere until igniting with a blaze of stoner metal flames and sonic invention to bring a thrilling release to a masterful captivating close.

Looking at the start, uncompromising middle, and departure of life lyrically, Origins, Lost Travellers & Rock & Roll Heaven is an exceptional new incitement from a band which should have its name spoken alongside the likes of Svolk, Black Tusk, and Red Fang from now on in. Triggerman have always been setting standards to match the names of heavy rock and metal but now they run the risk of being a template for new bands.

The self-released Origins, Lost Travellers & Rock & Roll Heaven is available now digitally from the usual suspects and on CD from http://www.triggerman.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/triggermanrocks

9.5/10

RingMaster 02/06/2014

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We Hunt Buffalo – Blood From A Stone EP

     whb_live

     Clad in a thick rich blanket of enticing fuzz, the quartet of stoner sculpted tracks making up the Blood From A Stone EP provide one of the most refreshing and invigorating treats from the genre in recent months. The new release of Canadian rockers We Hunt Buffalo, it is a masterful tempest of intensively persuasive riffs and commanding rhythms around melodic imagination, the result a release which captivates and fires up the emotions.

     The Vancouver trio of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Forsythe, vocalist/bassist Brendan Simpson, and drummer Brandon Carter, soon set tongues wagging and appetites awakened for their compelling sound with the release of a first EP in 2010. Linking up with Tanis Gibbons at The Hive recording studio in Burnaby BC the following year, the band recorded their self-titled debut album, the release re-working tracks from the previous EP and new slices of psychedelically touched stoner spawned rock ‘n’ roll. 2012 saw the band place in the top three, out of 400 entries, in the 99.3 The Fox annual SEEDS competition which led them to supporting Monster Truck at Vancouver’s The Commodore Ballroom, a stage which subsequently saw the band returning often to sharing space with the likes of Chevelle, Matt Mays, Danko Jones and Steel Panther over time. Released at the tail of last year, Blood From A Stone reinforces and stretches the band’s stature and potency with four tsunamis of creative power and hungry riffery, the release a wake-up call for a still sleeping world to the band’s tremendous potential and presence.

      We Hunt Buffalo opens up the EP with its title track, a song which from a restrained sonic mesh of guitar acidity canters into an coverinstant attention grabbing proposition, fuzz cloaked riffs and crisp rhythms leading the imagination into an evolving and enveloping stoner grooved almost doom based embrace. The vocals are as impressive and appealing as the sound, their expressive and earnest clean pleas openly magnetic within the squalling incendiary smog of fuzz and sonic invention. Essences of Black Tusk come to mind briefly during the excellent track’s persuasion but with its dirty climate and roughened touch the adventure creates an evocation of sound purely down to the Canadians.

    The bouncing yet heavy weight opener is followed by an equally energetic suasion in Cobwebs. A blues soaked flame of guitar veins the merger of military seeded drum beats and the tempestuous sonic scuzziness drifting across and drenching every note. Vocally the delivery takes a slower mesmeric radiance, Forsythe and Simpson blending for a resourceful and compelling mix within the fiery breath of the song. There is a Palms essence to the track, something which reappears again later in the EP but again an essence which is merely a radiant spice in a distinctive and unique recipe. You admittedly would not say song or EP is setting new avenues for stoner and heavy weighted rock but certainly it offers something strikingly fresh and individual to We Hunt Buffalo.

     Hometown taps a stronger vein of southern blues in its flame of guitar, the sultriness of its charm evolving into shards of heat and invention through the slowly strolling reflection of stoner fire and emotive ambience. We mentioned Palms earlier but maybe more so a Deftones embrace wraps this track through the atmospheric and evocative intensity dripping from every chord and syllable of the excellent track. It is a hypnotic incitement with punch and inventive endeavour to contrast with and add to the immersive journey into the depths of the song, excellently crafted twists and imaginative nuances working away at the senses on route.

     The triplets of outstanding tracks become four with the closing Telepathic Eyes, an arguably cleaner faced meeting though also not adverse to a healthy dose of fuzz permeated enticement. It is another slow and smouldering piece of melodic rock with blooming stoner flavouring, a fire of sound and temptation which retains the release on the same impressive plateau it started on and held. Blood From A Stone is one of those stoner cast treats you hanker for time and time again, and We Hunt Buffalo a band the world will be eagerly aware of sooner rather than later on the evidence of this.

http://www.wehuntbuffalo.com

http://wehuntbuffalo.bandcamp.com/album/blood-from-a-stone

9/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Sons of Huns – Banishment Ritual

SONSofHUNS_Will_Bragg-6233

Riff clad and groove shoed, Banishment Ritual is one of those albums which is so hard to tear yourself away from once it has its eager and rapacious hooks deeply entrenched within the ears and passions. Sculpted by Oregon trio Sons of Huns, the eleven track release is as virulently contagious and thrillingly magnetic as any stoner/heavy metal confrontation to come along over recent months and though its originality can be argued and debated the album is a ridiculously easy to devour magnetic treat. Since 2009, The Portland band has been firing up and building a keen and potent home fanbase since forming but now with the release via EasyRider Records of the riotous Banishment Ritual, expectations are simply rife with the expectation that the band will soon be recognised and cooed much further afield.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Peter Hughes, drummer Ryan Northrop, and bassist/vocalist Shoki Tanabe (who has recently departed the band to be replaced as touring bassist by Aaron Powell of Belt of Vapor), Sons of Huns has already earned a major reputation for their live performances which has seen them grace numerous Portland festivals and stages supporting the likes of Red Fang, Andrew W.K., Danava, and also comedian Brian Posehn. The band’s 2011 self-titled EP drew potent acclaim as did the 7” single Leaving Your Body, but you feel as debut album Banishment Ritual stomps and ravages through the ears like a sonic terrier on heat that everything before was mere foreplay for the real thing.

The title track opens up the storming exercise in persistent dramatic riffery and rhythmic entrapment with an eager swagger and Cover Artfiery breath if not the rabidity and aggressive attention grabbing shown in later tracks. A warm blues squall wraps the guitar enterprise whilst the vocals have a strength and expression which matches the sonic intensity and melodic tantalising veining the track. It is a compelling accomplished start which lays down the appealing canvas for greater things to play upon starting with the following Argenteum Astrum.

The second track is a delicious flame of sci-fi inspired adrenaline coaxed stoner rock ‘n’ roll, a merger of Motorhead and Red Fang with the sinews of Black Tusk rippling throughout its contagious charge. The band is equally unafraid to twist and shift things around within the charge, a slow melodic croon teasing the senses midway in for a mesmeric enticement that tempers and compliments the sturdy riffery and thumping rhythms. It is the first of a few pinnacles closely followed by the mighty seduction of Heliolith, a track where grooves entice places which should never be felt up in public and riffs cage thoughts of escape with resourcefulness and irresistible addictiveness.

The dual assault of Horror In Clay and I’m Your Dad bring the album to another peak, the first with a blues crafted energy and rampancy which flirts with the passions through evolving gaits and inquiring sonic imagination whilst its successor, the best track on the album is pure undiluted bruising rock ‘n’ roll. Part early Queens Of The Stone Age and part Black Sabbath with a spattering of Trucker Diablo, the song emerges as a unique and exhilarating blaze of voracious enterprise to ignite a greater rabidity to the already spawned hunger for the album.

Following the decent but out of place amongst the other tracks instrumental Waking Sleep, Sons of Huns unleashes another incendiary device for the passions with the intensive infection of Planet No. 9, another track where grooves are as epidemically inciting as the riffs and rhythmic confrontation. With strong vocal harmonies to aid the always enjoyable delivery of Hughes and Tanabe, the track storms the barricades with charm and insatiable energy aligned to aggressive endeavour and addiction forging adventure. Seriously challenging for best song on Banishment Ritual it gives a tall order for the rest of the album to live up to.

Both the smouldering lure of Lord of Illusion and the garage rock escapade of instrumental Rollin’ the Dice make a fine if unsuccessful attempt, the pair as many of the tracks breeding a psychedelic air to their stoner and blues emissions, whilst Super Kanpai Rainbow steps up to the plate with an impossibly infectious temptation of garage punk and metal merged into a psychedelic psyche taunting with sonic colour as vibrant and transfixing as the imagination spawning its intriguing and thrilling offering.

Completed by final stoneresque fire of Oroboros, The Sword meets Led Zeppelin to give a whiff of its heat, Banishment Ritual is an outstanding release which makes a stronger persuasion with every encounter.  Maybe not strong on originality but towering in every other aspect, it is an outstanding full length debut placing Sons of Huns towards the frontline of stoner/blues metal.

http://sonsofhuns.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 03/12/2013

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Red Fang – Whales And Leeches

Red Fang "Whales and Leeches" press photos 2013

Back again to send heavy cascades of thumping rhythms, demanding riffs, and exhaustive rock ‘n’ roll contagion down upon the senses, Oregon’s Red Fang unleash their third dramatically compelling album upon the world. Whales And Leeches is a commanding storm of what the band does best, making intensive and rapacious heavy rock with more barbs and hooks than an angling convention, and though arguably it does not bring anything strikingly new from the Portland quartet it is undeniably pure Red Fang and a definite highlight of the year.

With the past two years or so a constant round of touring and shows, the foursome of guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles, bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam, guitarist David Sullivan, and drummer John Sherman have at the same time written a collection of songs which rampage on adrenaline and hunger and seduce with a virulently additive expanse of temptation clad grooves and incendiary riffery. Featuring guests Mike Scheidt (Yob) and Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), the Relapse Records released album outshines predecessor Murder The Mountains to stand almost side by side with Red Fang’s explosive self-titled debut full length in stature, an album which always has the passions inflamed.

Opener DOEN immediately tells you all you need to know about Whales And Leeches, a spiralling guitar tease across rabid rhythmswhalesandleeches_1500 bursting from a discord kissed introduction to lay the seeds for a groove cored flight of predacious energy and adventure. As you would expect riffs and drums command and bewitch the ear whilst the dual vocal attack is a pleasing magnet within the tempestuous assault, but there also seems an extra dose of mischief and infection to the song which subsequently permeates the whole album, a fun or devilry which has lips licked and anticipation brewing an even stronger hunger.

The following excellent Blood Like Cream is a thrilling feisty dance with a strong Queens Of The Stone Age tantalising to its breath whilst its chorus is epidemically captivating and the trigger to its recipient’s vocal and feet shuffling contribution. The song is a magnificent temptation with a punk rabidity to its urgency and enthusiastic swagger whilst its successors No Hope and Crows in Swine add their individual flavours to continue the terrific start to the release. The first of the two has a snarl and bruising quality which again offers a punk essence but this time within a Black Tusk like causticity whilst the second digs up the depths of the dirty side of the band to clad its sides in Mastodon like filth and aggressive enticement. With a wonderfully niggling presence to the serpentine grooves and sonic licks, as well as excellent unpredictable invention over a torrential drum attack, the song is one of the major pinnacles of the album especially with the Eastern mystique which seduces from within its enthralling climax.

     Voices of the Dead is next to keep the passions enslaved, the song a gentler sinew framed persuasion with great vocal harmonies providing a sweltering gentleness across  the more intimidating sounds. It continues to hold the imagination as firmly as the previous tracks before passing over the task to Behind The Light who then sends the baton into the eager hands of the Black Sabbath skirting Dawn Rising. The two tracks again leave attention and appetite fully satisfied but do miss the heights of their predecessors in many ways. There is plenty of gripping adventure to the songs but there is a lack of that killer aspect which makes them leap from the speakers into an infernally persistent and welcome long term instigator.

There is no such problem with Failure, the track an irresistible lure with broody shadows and a spellbinding menacing temptation. Slowly stalking senses and thoughts the track is a heavy prowling joy, riffs and rhythms crowding the ear into submission whilst the vocals add their demonic tension as guitars sculpt a mesmeric sonic web of invention and sultry desire. It, as many of the tracks shows the diversity and maturity within Red Fang’s songwriting before letting 1516 take the album back into a primal insatiable heavy stomp of blood curdling intensity.

This Animal ensures the album delivers another major highlight before its end, the song bringing again a QOTSA like twisting of inventive sonic diablerie and pulsating metallic predation which at times reminds of Therapy? whilst the final song and latest single from the album, Every Little Twist provides a smouldering , endearing slice of muscular rock with melodic caresses. It is a very decent conclusion though personally not a song I would imagine being the strongest pull into the album compared to much stronger infection soaked tracks upon Whales And Leeches. It undoubtedly brings the release to a fine finish and helps leave exhaustion and pleasure the overriding emotions and thoughts from one exciting album. Red Fang seemingly constantly create music you just cannot get enough of and their third album is another prime example; maybe not a classic but pretty damn close.

http://redfang.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

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Clashing sinews and sonic deities: an interview with Gregg Higgins of Venomous Maximus

Photo by Mark C. Austin

Photo by Mark C. Austin

 Rock/metal, however you wish to describe the enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy that is the music of Venomous Maximus it is a confrontation which leaves you gasping and hungry for more. The recent worldwide re-release of their debut album Beg Upon The Light has slammed the quartet right in the midst of the most rapacious yet sonically rewarding bands today. Towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms crowd maelstroms of irresistible grooves and an intensity which staggers within the impressive release backing up the almost fearsome reputation of their live performances. Given the welcome opportunity to quiz and dig deeper into the band with vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins, we soon realised this is much more than a band for the man and his colleagues.

Hi Gregg welcome to the RingMaster Review and many thanks for taking time to talk to us.

First of we will ask for the benefit of those yet to be fully acquainted with Venomous Maximus can you give us some background to the beginnings of the band and its members?

I am an artist and a tattooer. Our drummer Bongo builds motorcycles. Trevi is a math mathematician and a hot sauce master and Christian makes everything happen. I moved to Houston 6 years ago and had been planning for 4 or 5 years on starting the band. I was just waiting on the perfect time and the right people. Then everything fell into place…the end.

Was there an immediate connection musically and in thought about how the band would progress between you?

Yes of course. We weren’t getting anyone involved if they had to be taught anything. I think that’s important when putting together a band. Not just finding members that can just play the music. They have to understand the master plan.

Some bands have a ‘leader’, a founder who is the prime force behind the direction or creative input is that the same with Venomous Maximus or is it a more democratic process within the band?

It’s like being on a submarine. It’s a tight ship with not a lot of space to move around. Everyone has a role and job in the band and doesn’t have to be told what to do. I am the main creative force but it’s just a bunch of ideas. Everyone puts in their input but they are the ones that actually make it happen.

You are seemingly tagged as anything from an occult rock band to a doom or heavy rock. I am not sure any of those truly describe your intense flavoursome rock’ n’ roll, how would you describe your massive sounds?

The whole name game that is involved with underground music is getting pretty silly now days. None of it really matters it should be just for fun and a way to describe and communicate what bands sound like to friends. Our goal was if we play a metal show we are the rock band. If we play a rock show we are the metal band. A chameleon if you will.

I have to ask the about the seeds to the great band name, which alone raises images personally of an insidious dark unknown with

gladiatorial strength and purpose.

You have given the best description of the name. When I hear it that’s what I think of… A titan or god from the ancient world. It basically comes from a tattoo design from the 60s and 70s of a solider that has been away from home a little too long.

Lyrically your songs also approach and investigate the unknown and unspoken shadows. Is this an interest which goes beyond just writing songs?

Yes of course. All of the material comes from experiences or situations I have found myself in over the years. I am not signing about graphic novels or movies or religions. This shit is real man!

Your excellent originally self –released debut album Beg Upon The Light has just been given a re-release through Napalm Records, did they come to you with the offer or were you searching for a wider outlet for the release?

We have always had the attitude whatever happens… happens and Napalm was very interested immediately. Some other labels hit us up but we didn’t wanna get lost in the mix so we decided to go with our gut.

So they were not alone in showing interest over past months or so?

Yea I guess I don’t know what your idea of interested is. We can be pretty picky and choosy about dealings with our band. But most of the buzz has started again in the last couple months. The material on the record is getting old to us and time for some new tunes.

942460_10151622495054738_934875440_nBeg Upon The Light was very well received on its first unleashing, were you more confident with this world wide release or in some way more nervous than before?

Truthfully this band began with a spark and I have always known that we would grow into a flame. It’s kinda like when you meet a woman. Something is a little bit different about it…things just seems to work and flow naturally even when problems arise they seem to take care of themselves, almost guided if you will. When things seem to naturally work in life you shouldn’t question them. ..that’s arrogance to me.

The album follows your first EP The Mission of 2011, and though you are still young in terms of the time the band has been in existence how do you feel your music and songwriting has developed between releases and also what you are presumably coming up with as either new material or ideas now?

Yea I feel the material has grown light years. We spent a good two years just me and the drummer working on a set to finally scratch it when the band actually started playing. We spent damn near the 1st two years playing every week, there has been more time spent on stage than in a practice room now. When your material is written in a practice room compared to being written on the road and in a fully functioning band you really see what you’re made of. Right now we are in the process of writing the next record. I truly feel that it is a true interpretation of what we have wanted to sound like. Much more mature song writing with more of a classic approach to rock n roll than just metal or doom or fucking yea. Hopefully there will be a group of people that don’t like it because it’s not our old material… hahahaha…but they can live in the past and do nothing

How does the song writing process work within the band and are songs as good as completed before entering a studio or do you prefer evolving ideas within that environment more?

Its 3 parts me in my bedroom. Then brought to the practice room and then worked out for the stage. Once the kinks are worked out for performing the song, then the studio. All of the salt and pepper is put on in the studio through intense examination and then its dead to me.

Are you quite strict with yourselves over ideas and things that do or do not work when writing? Do you have a mound of elements discarded or shelved for another opportunity?

We treat the band as if it was a being. As if it’s a ghost. He has his own personality and own opinions and knows what he likes and if he wants to change or stay the same we have to respect his decision. We are just here for his voice to come through. He does half the work we do the other half, so not all the decisions are up to us.

Is it riffs or melodies which generally come first for songs, or do are more often triggered from the lyrical side of your invention?

Actually goes back and forth. A lot of times its lyrics and thoughts that really drive me to write a song, or it could be as simple as me jamming Fleetwood mac and going to the guys with we have to write a song like this our way. Which is normally slightly faster with a little bit of chuggy and a blues lick laid on top. If you got a sharp year you could relate every one of our songs to The Cure, Madonna, David Bowie, all the everyday music that elitist underground’s lie about how much they love. We don’t give a shit about any of that. One of my favorite bands is Enya and she ain’t even a band. hahahaha

Beg Upon The Light is an inventive and intensive ravishing which does not really allow any breaths to be taken within its leviathan like confrontation of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms as well as enthralling of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy, well how we see and feel it anyway. Is it a deliberate intent to have the listener use every part of body, senses, and emotions within its encounter or just something which naturally evolves?

I believe that all artists that have suffered and given their lives up so that they could interpret their experiences to art hope that other people will pick up on what you’re putting down. What you’re explaining is pure projection. It’s the same as someone is lying to you. You can sense they are full of shit, but when people are truly disturbed and upset to their core you can literally feel. Their emotions are so strong and being amplified so much that they literately travel from your body to yours…that’s one of the 12 super powers humans are naturally born with. It’s a shame that people in this modern technology world of information don’t even know the 12 special powers that only human beings possess…or I could be lying about all this. All that really matters is what rings true to you.

You hail from Houston, how would you say the city and surroundings have impacted on you as musicians and band either positively or negatively, if at all?

Houston is my home and I have many friends here but Texas is where I am from. Houston itself is a hell hole of grime and multi cultures. It’s like the New York of the south. One thing that it has provided for us is all the many flavors of culture. So it’s helped us be a little more diverse and not seem like hippie grass eaters from Austin or Pantera rednecks from Dallas. We love all the cities here we just love to talk shit too. It’s a Texas thing. Fun loving shit talking.

Is it a supportive metal scene there for new and emerging bands?vm

Texas can be the easiest and the roughest crowd anywhere you go. People don’t care about the bullshit politics of what kind of band you are. All the crowd wants is for you to play your hardest and get off stage and have a beer and talk to them like a real person. Everybody in Texas thinks about themselves as a rock star on or off stage. So the crowd doesn’t give a shit who you think you are. They wanna drink a beer with you.

You have a great reputation for your live performances and have played with the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC, the list goes on. Apart from great experience and recognition, what has playing with bands of this calibre brought to your own headlining shows now and in the future, again in a good or negative way?

From day one the bar has been set super high. More than 1/2 of the bands we have played with the members have been playing longer than I have been alive. The intimidation and self-consciousness got to a point of almost conquering me but I am not really one to fail. I will bite my own leg off to get out of a trap. So we had to really bear down and focus and stay out of the bar to figure out if we were gonna do this it’s gotta be all or nothing. But it was just a trial period. When things are forced to live up to a certain expectation after a while that’s just the level it becomes and then you get bored and you take it up a notch and up a notch and up a notch. It’s truly up to you if you ever want to stop progressing because the second you do. You can clearly hear it.

I sense you guys love the live side of the band intensely, more than the time and creative process involved in writing and recording new songs?

Our band is more than a band to us. It’s more like a cult. It’s taken over all of our lives and the wives of the band, but in a good way. It’s became something that brings us all together as people for birthdays, weddings, movie nights and just straight up weekend partying. Not everyone in the world still has the family they had when they were children but everyone needs a family whether they are blood or not. A band or anytime humans group together creativity and happiness should arise. so to answer your question yes this is way more than a band.

What has Venomous Maximus in store for the rest of the year and are we able to talk about a successor to Beg Upon The Light yet?

For the rest of year we are working on writing and recording the new record which will have videos, new line of merch, and a short film. We have a few shows sprinkled in the next couple months but we have worn ourselves thin so right now we are juggling our personal lives, writing and recording and planning most of next year.

Once again a big thanks for sparing time for us, anything you would like to say to the readers?

I wanna thank all the people that have taken their time to take a second glance at something and follow their gut when they feel that there’s a deeper meaning in things. If you ask the question is it going to happen to me that means it is and that’s the truth.

And finally what have been the five most potent inspirations on you musically or personally?

Music I would have to say Beethoven, Pink Floyd The Wall from 5th grade, The Crow and the Doors from 6th grade and for films that helped me get a visual for music. The lists can go on and on. I am the kinda of guy that’s good with lists. For some reason music from people who are sad or disturbed has always just made me happy. It’s the people who relish in superficial joys that make me angry and Kenneth Anger is the shit. Read books so you don’t have to wait

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

Read the Beg Upon The Light review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/venomous-maximus-beg-upon-the-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Black Tusk – Tend No Wounds

black_tusk_satan_2  Geoff Johnson

The promo with Tend No Wounds, the new six track EP from riff sculptors Black Tusk, says it is a stop-gap release between the outstanding previous album Set The Dial and its successor sometime in the future, and in many ways it feels like that. There is something indefinable missing within the release which leaves it in the shadows of certainly the last two albums but even in saying that the EP leaves senses and hunger more than satisfied as the band unleash more of their rapacious riffs, equally predatory rhythms, and squalling throaty vocals to ravage the ear.

Twenty minutes of raw and furious rock ‘n’ roll, the Relapse Records released EP sees the band merging their earlier sound with its subsequent evolution over the years, the sludge bred rock abrasiveness given further caustic venom from hardcore and punk sculpted additives. It is a compelling and insatiable sound which sparks a strength of appetite in the listener that is always welcome and though as mentioned there is an absent element which prevents the release being one of the major provocations of the year it stands tall and muscular against plenty of the other more than decent releases unleashed to date. To be honest by the end of only its first listen Tend No Wounds inspires the desire to hear more of this approach from the band ahead and numerous encounters with it only reinforce that thought.

A Cold Embrace opens up the enjoyable brawl, the track a brief instrumental which opens on a sprawling expanse of jangling tendnowounds_1400guitars before unleashing the trade mark riffs and grooves the Savannah, Georgia trio are renowned for. With the drums of James May as punchy and spiteful as ever the piece softens up the senses and lights the greed inside despite being barely two minutes of corrosive beauty. It soon passes the baton over to the belligerent Enemy Of Reason which takes no time from its opening barrage of beats in creating a tempest of animalistic rhythmic intent and unpolished encounter. The guitar of Andrew Fidler scorches the senses with tight acidic grooves in between gnawing at flesh with his dirty metallic riffing whilst the bass of Jonathan Athon prowls and provokes within the maelstrom like a beast on heat. With the vocals a truculent hardcore confrontation pushing all the right punk crafted buttons, the song has no problem seizing attention and enlisting the listener into its adrenaline fuelled charge.

The strong start is taken to its biggest peak on the release with the following gem The Weak And The Wise. Its start is a deliciously mesmeric call of seductive strings, cello and violin making a sultry temptation which actually reminds of UK band The Mission. It is an introduction that only gains greater potency as bass and then guitar share their emotive presence to the persuasive lure. With full submission to the smouldering embrace ensured the band release the throttle for another ferocious blaze of punk filtered rock ‘n’ roll, riffs and grooves coated in vitriolic aural oil to easily slip through the ear and vocals challenging and provoking with chest beating antagonism. It is a screamer of a song, easily the best track on the EP and the one which lingers the longest after its departure.

Internal/Eternal sonically niggles from the off with a groove spanning the mesh of sound which has a Celtic lilt to its voice. Into its stride the track strolls with rabidity to its gait that again makes sure it has the full gaze of the ear and thoughts on its combative body and though the track arguably is unremarkable in originality within the release, it still gives a rugged experience that is impossible to dismiss, the returning groove irresistible bait as the song leans into its heavy weight climax.

The closing pair of Truth Untold and In Days Of Woe continue to grip the listener firmly, the first a heavy metal/hardcore torrent of aggression and evolving predacious riffs whilst the last song is simply a sonic fire that sears whilst riffs and rhythms crawl over the emotions with sludge laden intensity and metal borne antagonism. It sums up the whole of Tend No Wounds too, a song which leaves you richly satisfied and drawn physically into its superbly crafted furnace of sound but lacks the killer touch or final piece of its aural jigsaw.

Tend No Wounds is not the best thing Black Tusk has thrust through our ears but is still easily worth an investigation and purchase such the impacting fun and qualities the band brings to the table.

http://www.blacktuskterror.com/

8/10

RingMaster 23/07/2013

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Lord Dying – Summon the Faithless

Lord Dying

You are standing under a moonless sky with all the hordes of hell descending on your singular patch of light. You need back-up to fend off the insidiousness eager to devour every atom, who would you want by your side? If we were you we would choose heavy metallers Lord Dying because if their gladiatorial prowess and consuming might is as immense and irresistible as that of their debut album Summon the Faithless, everything will fall before their mountainous strength. The eight track tsunami of rapacious riffing, deliberately antagonistic rhythms, and sonic ferocity wrapped in melodic fire, is a sensational introduction to the Portland, Oregon quartet. It is unbridled high intensity unfussy heavy metal of the highest quality and animosity which instantly and firmly slams the band down at the same level as the likes of Black Tusk, Svolk, Red Fang, and maybe even Mastodon.

Within a year of forming, Lord Dying was sharing stages with the likes of Unsane, Red Fang, Yob, Valient Thorr locally as their sound and live presence ignited a rapidly increasing following. This start just grew as the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Eric Olson, bassist Don Capuano, guitarist Chris Evans, and drummer/vocalist Jonathan Reid ventured along the west coast with Danava and Lecherous Gaze as well as co-headlining a tour with Nether Regions around their home state. A self-titled 7” released came next via Powerblaster Records label and again drew strong attention towards them whilst shows supporting for Black Cobra and Gaza and a tour with Witch Mountain at the heart of 2012 thrust them up more rungs of recognition, accelerated again by a US tour in that October with  Red Fang and Black Tusk. Summon the Faithless is the key to a worldwide recognition, a muscular unlocking of that awareness which will not take no for an answer.

As soon as the Relapse Records released sinew strapped tempest lets opener In a Frightful State of Gnawed  SummonTheFaithlessDismemberment off of its leash you know what you are in for, an onslaught of adrenaline fuelled predacious metal as infectious as carnal relations and just as sweaty and dirty. The opening sonically sizzling start of the song is a climatic build offering a sense of impending danger wrapped in an intensive coaxing, riffs and drums heightening the energy and tension. The leap from its precipice is a fall into further inviting riffs and tumultuous rhythmic beckoning veined with carnivorous sonic sculpting of the senses. Into its full stride with the growling bear like vocals of Olson wonderfully intimidating, the song merges a sludge thick breath to white hot sonic provocation, the union speared with flesh scorching guitar invention and melodic toxins. It is an insatiable confrontation feeding the equally fevered appetite rampant in its recipient, and a breath-taking start to the onslaught.

Despite its immense stature and sound the starter is a mere appetiser to greater things as the title track soon shows. Immediately provoking the ear through a crescendo of riffs and drums the song evens out its pace into a lumbering prowl, the guitars and bass stalking the listener as the vocals graze with its narrative all within a cage of already impressive drum work on the album from Reid. With sonic scythes flaring up throughout there is a build into another commanding and dramatic focus of demanding intensity. Grooves, as throughout the album, bring another contagious lure to succumb to whilst the superbly shaped and honed guitar blazes whether as a solo or melodic seduction seal the deal for the passions in a fiery storm of superbly developed yet uncomplicated aggressive metal.

The following Greed Is Your Horse and Descend Into External continue the rise in power and quality of the album, the first a ravishing mix of Bloodsimple and Mastodon which insistently and relentlessly gnaws and pressures the senses whilst offering wantonly winning melodic mercury and sonic acidity as potent reward. Its successor stands face to face with the listener, riffs crawling over the skin like a swarm of locust whilst the drums give rhythmic acupuncture to the delicious itch driven deeper by the ever appealing vocals. Both songs leave hunger rife and lips licked voraciously for whatever is to come, in this case the best song on the album, Dreams of Mercy. With a Kyuss call to the sonic spires shooting from the base of the song and a rabidity to the squalling riffs, the track takes a mere breath to command the passions, the punk lilt to the vocal delivery adding further rich bait. It is a scintillating ferocious fire of melodic and sonic temptation taken to another pinnacle with the brilliant enslaving rhythmic enticement of Reid which has its own singular moment of seduction midway in. Accompanied by the bestial snarl of the bass it is dramatically persuasive, especially as shards of guitar flames lay their hot enticement into the coals and leads one eagerly into a closing dirt clad passion fuelled storm of metallic voracity.

Perverse Osmosis and Water Under A Burning Bridge stand tall in their mission to match their companion in the album’s furious creative assault, the first unleashing a new nastiness to its rapacious savagery whilst the second is a doom breathing oppressive smog of intensity and hunger driven riffing placed on reins of sonic contemplation. Exploring its every corner and depth, the song is arguably the most inventive track on the album and certainly alongside the others in inspiration.

The closing esurient What Is Not…Is,  where riffs, rhythms, and vocals fuel a ravenous thrash bred canvas clad in sonic waspishness and melodic toxicity, sums up band and release in one incendiary swoop, its creative poison  pure sirenesque aural manna. Summon the Faithless is easily one of the best albums this year so far and the best debut anywhere. Lord Dying will be chewing our senses and souls for years to come, this only the exceptional beginning and that is truly exciting.

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying

10/10

RingMaster 11/07/2013

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Venomous Maximus: Beg Upon The Light

VM Composite - Large

Released in North America last year, Beg Upon The Light the debut album of Texan Dark Occult Metal band Venomous Maximus gets its worldwide unleashing via Napalm Records, and a powerful deep mark it is sure to make. Ten tracks of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms alongside a web of potent irresistible grooves and an intensity which sweeps you off your feet, the album is an enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy wrapped in a classic metal inspired embrace. It and the band stand as a major stoner/doom clad player, their presence sure to be an inspiration to many.

The album follows their EP, The Mission of 2011, a release which set thoughts and appetite in strong motion with its promising start for a band which formed in 2010 and has since risen to be one of the most successful and important metal bands from Houston in recent years. Equally live the quartet has earned an enormous reputation  as they have lit up stages alongside the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC and many more. Now thrust into the faces of the full expanse of the globe Beg Upon The Light will take little time in persuading, one suspects, that it is one of those classic moments which defines a band and their presence in the ears of the world.

The ominous emotive keys opening up Funeral Queen instantly engage the imagination, the brewing darkly exotic atmosphere a 485 Venomous Maximusspark to devil spawned thoughts and challenging sonic caresses. As it closes the distant but distinct vocals of Gregg Higgins add their corruptive presence though his tones truly stand eye to eye with the listener at the beginning of the next up Path of Doom. His part spoken resonating tones provides here and across every song a glorious unique narrative which invites irresistibly the listener into the heart of the dark realms explored. From its opening crescendo of energy and potent sound the song prowls the senses with scorching flames from the guitars of Higgins and Christian Larson licking at the ear whilst Trevi Biles brings further menace with his bass lures. The track continues to roar and growl through to its thick and provocative conclusion, the band providing a sonic fire to eat at and ignite the senses.

From the immense start things only reach to another depth and plateau with firstly Give Up the Witch and then Father Time, the first of the pair a fresher version of a song from their first EP. Stroking the ear with sinew driven riffs and firm rhythms from drummer Bongo from its opening breath, the track is a primal contagion which incites the imagination and toys with the passions through spires of sonic wind and tumbling cascades of addiction causing rhythms whilst vocally again Higgins pulls us through an invocation of devilish mystique. It is a slice of compelling excellence soon matched by its atmospheric successor. With keys crafting the intriguing ambience a lone guitar colours thoughts with its emotive description whilst Higgins again paints the scene in his unique style. It is only a brief song but quite delicious as its sets up the climate for what is to follow.

Complete with bulbous beats and stalking rhythms the outstanding Dream Again (Hellenbach) is next to inflame the passions, its thick stoner fragrance a sizzling temptation within the uncompromising intensity and power of the track. Another major highlight of the release with grooves and sonic colours wrapping greedily around the listener, the song encapsulates every rich aspect of the individuals within Venomous Maximus, their absorbing songwriting and its invigorating burning realisation, and the union of everything into what surely is a major breakthrough into the echelons of metal for the band.

All through the exhausting Moonchild, the predacious Battle for the Cross, and the dramatic and antagonistic triumph that is Venomous Maximus, the album reinforces its riveting authority over the passions with inventive ease whilst Mother Milk is simply another emotionally conjured delight with strings providing a mesmeric melancholic cradling of the ear whilst quaint keys paint their equally suggestive hues. Quite stunning it is a masterful fascination leading into the final blaze of inventive ravishing, Hell’s Heroes, a lasting confrontation which sears and chews on the senses with rapacious riffs and rhythms veined by sonic radiance and vocal intimidation. Complete with more ridiculously contagious grooves it is a mighty end to a magnificent album.

Though lyrically you can question some of the ‘comic book’ like tales and the band does not break into many new arenas of invention with Beg Upon The Light, you will not have heard it before in the individual and thickly persuasive style as brought by Venomous Maximus. The album is an insatiable treat and one setting the band as a true force in world metal.

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

9/10

RingMaster 07/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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