Asomvel – Knuckle Duster

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Roaring at and bruising up the senses with a riot of belligerence and unkempt rock ‘n’ roll, Knuckle Duster the new album from UK band Asomvel is an uncompromising and thrilling storm of prime beef heavy metal. With a more than healthy throbbing vein of punk rock and Motorhead like bruising rock to it also, the album is a pungent blaze of sound and attitude which continues the impacting and sparking presence of the band since their first days and provides the year with a release which has no want to create new pastures for metal but is more than ready to churn up and reseed existing fields.

The band was formed in 1993 by guitarist Lenny Robinson and bassist/vocalist Jay-Jay Winter, with a line-up completed by ex-Cathedral/Acid Reign drummer Mark Wharton. The position behind the beats changed on numerous occasions in the earlier years before The Blood Eye demo was released in 2002. Establishing a strong reputation for their sound and live performances Asomvel released the To Hell with All the Rest Demo in 2005 and the Full Moon Dog EP two years later to strong responses and acclaim. It was debut album Kamikaze of 2009 which really set the metal underground and media on alert with its raucous presence and set a rigorous platform for the band ahead. Within a year though tragedy struck when Winter was killed in a road accident which understandably devastated the band. Determined to continue with the spirit and presence of Winter still part of the band, Robinson took time to find a musician to not only match what the frontman brought and intended for the band, but to continue his attitude. It was with the finding and addition of ex-Deathwing bassist/vocalist Conan that the band came back to full life, Asomvel soon after headlining their own inaugural Full Moon Dog Festival in Bradford in 2011 in honour of Winter; the event also seeing the stage thriving with the likes of Carcass, Anvil, and Orange Goblin. Following the Stare at Death & Spit EP of the same year and the split release Vol. 1 of last year, the band with drummer Jason Hope surge back with the Bad Omen Records released Knuckle Duster and it is a fluid continuation of the last album and sound.

Produced by James Atkinson (frontman of Leeds rockers Gentleman’s Pistols), Knuckle Duster flies at the ear with opener Dead Set on Asomvel Knuckle Duster cover loLivin’, drums and bass making an instant rapacious charge around and through the ears whilst the guitar scorches their surface with sonic causticity. The vocals of Conan snarl and growl with a throaty rasp which you could easily mistake for Winter without prior knowledge, to again cement that feeling of the band around the time of Kamikaze though there is also an air of the now in the venom and inciting breath of the track, and subsequently album. With a raw edge suggesting the release was recorded live in the studio and an unpolished touch which only ignites the instinctive appetite for dirty rock ‘n’ roll, the track makes a strong and magnetic  start to the album, its groove one which only eager submission is the order of the moment.

The following Cash Whore and Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing immediately take the impressive start and shift it up another adrenaline fuelled gear, the first of the two a carnivorous persuasion which grinds its way to the passions whilst tearing up the scenery with a blaze of hungry riffing and rhythmic barracking whilst its chorus is simply a primal torrent of pleasure giving dirt throwing excellence. The melodic flames of the guitar also send shards of addiction causing pleasure through to the heart to help sculpt one of the early pinnacles of the album. Its successor stands side by side with its swagger of blues bait and intensively contagious punk ‘n’ roll teases. There is a southern lilt to the hooks which only light greater attraction whilst the punk rock scythes of guitar and anthemic vocals add to a combination which leaves senses and passions with a great greedy hunger for more.

Both Thrash Talker and Waster settle down the climb of the release though each provides a provocation which continues the compelling draw of the album and the uncluttered, organic fire bred fury of sound. The pair again leaves appetite fully satisfied though its greed is ready to devour the insatiable thrashing surge of Shoot Ya Down and the groove carved Wrecking Ball with a grin on its voracious lips, a lust the songs feed but incite further. Like their predecessors the two encounters leave ears full of cutting riffs, commanding vocals, and a bass grizzle which especially on the second of the pair is as predacious as any offering this year.

From the outstanding title track, a song which glares at the listener eye to eye and challenges it to resist its irrepressible temptation, the album unleashes a closing ravaging of the senses with firstly the savage Final Hour. The track is a ferocious yet melodically grooved blaze of ridiculously infectious combative posturing which is backed up within a gulp of breath by the sizzling intimidation that is Strangehold, the drums of Hope a hypnotic conjuror and instigator of instinctive compliance so the riffs and vocals can cut and graze their punkish vitriol into the psyche.

     Hangman’s Rope closes up the album with a searing heavy metal finale though it is the one song which noticeably pales against the rest of the tempests upon Knuckle Duster. It is still a satisfying and easy to return to growl finishing off a powerhouse of honest to the ground rock ‘n’ roll which maybe is not offering anything new but provides a potently exciting bruising and thrilling confrontation. Asomvel are still one of the true joys of UK’s metal underground just now you sense they may get a much wider recognition.

http://www.asomvel.com/

8/10

RingMaster 07/10/2013

 

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Eutopia – Satellite of Love EP

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The Satellite of Love EP is the debut EP from the London based power-pop/electro-rock band Eutopia, a release which toys with the senses and thoughts to emerge as one vibrant and intriguing encounter. It is a proposition which does not exactly ignite raging fires within the passions but certainly one which keeps them entranced and riveted to its enterprising persuasion from start to finish.

Eutopia consists of Alexander Kotziamanis (music/lyrics /guitars/vocals) and Leah Lennick (keys/synths/vocals), the pair forming the band in 2011. Their first EP is a blend of classic and electro rock with plenty of pop and dance spawned tantalising. It offers a collection of four tracks which are individual in presence and in success but combined make for a magnetically calling piece of energetic revelry. The opening title track immediately tells you what Eutopia is all about, bold electro weaves flirting wantonly with the ear whilst guitars add a raw glaze to the atmosphere above snappy beats. It is an instantly intriguing premise given an extra drenching of tempting by the Russell Mael like vocals, their expressive devilry evolving into a more classic rock delivery further into its energetic flame the song ventures. There is a certain familiarity to the song which has an essence of the eighties in its classic rock and metal fusion and reminding of David J Caron at times, but equally there is a sizzling imagination which sets it in its own limelight.

The following City Lights continues the strong start arguably elevating its introduction to another step of satisfaction. The song again 294920_416945564989548_1720032215_nemploys the same essences but has a broader snarl to its presence which adds a pleasing shadow and texture to the contagious exploits of song and sound. As with the first there is plenty of invention and energetic ideas going on within the electro classic rock bred conjuring which brings enough for those without an appetite for old school eighties rock and pop rock to chew over and contemplate.

Wave Goodbye and Life complete the EP, the first an emotively sculpted pacey ballad with a great guitar enticements and an almost folky whisper to the keys and melodies. At times the song feels like the band is merging two different songs into one landscape, the at times awkward union of electro and melodic rock seemingly coming from individual direction but then when the excellent chorus harmonies wash over the senses it is all forgotten and rich satisfaction sets its claws in. The closing track also takes a slower classic rock gait as its core wrapping it in electro beats and melancholic keys whilst shard of crystalline sonics tenderly shine upon the expressive narrative.

It is a strong end to Satellite Of Love, a release which leaves a healthy appetite for it and the band in its wake. The electro beats for personal tastes do not do some of the songs any favours, their mechanical touch too regimented for the flowing melodies elsewhere, and as mentioned you need a strong taste for eighties classic rock to fully appreciate the release one suspects, but for those of us without that palate Eutopia and Satellite Of Love are still a meeting you cannot pull away from and the promise they show very tempting.

www.facebook.com/eutopiamusic

7.5/10

Ring Master 18/09/2013

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Die No More – Blueprint EP

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With a sound bred from the inspirations of the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Black Sabbath as well as softer essences of a Pearl Jam and Muse, Die No More step forward with a debut which suggests we have a very promising and exciting band on our hands. Consisting of four riotous and impressively sculpted songs, the Blueprint EP gets the job done with accomplished craft and scintillating energy. It is possibly not the most original sound which eagerly accosts the ear but it is an encounter which lights a deep satisfaction and hunger for plenty more.

Formed in 2011 and hailing from Penrith, Cumbria, Die No More consists of four friends with an unmissable passion for classic and modern metal. Originally under the name Dynamo up to just before recording their debut, the band has forged a loyal and enthusiastic fan-base across the north of the UK. The release of Blueprint should see the rest of the country and beyond beginning to stir to a similar awareness and greed for their potent presence. Mutually inviting and confrontational, muscular and melodically charming, the EP is an eventful storm offering familiarity and freshness, but mostly it simply brings inescapable enjoyment.

Opening track Conscious Indecision instantly leans against the ear with enticing riffs soon joined by tempting rhythms. With a swift Die No More Cover Artworkbreath the track erupts into an intensive push of thrash seeded riffs from the guitars of Kev Smith and Marc Farquhar, the latter’s vocals riding confidently and impressively on the crest of the powerful energy now in charge of the song. With a definite Hetfield lilt to his delivery he brings an expressive narrative to the track whilst the bass of Andy Minnett adds extra delicious intimidation, especially when given a space mid-way to drive the track into another transfixing venture. Guitar flames from Smith flare up magnificently at this point and with the sinews of drummer Steve Orchiton framing it all firmly and at times antagonistically, the skill of the band shouts loudly. It is an excellent start which without lingering after its departure ensures the release has a strong grip on the appetite.

The following Council Of War emerges on a wall of menace and building intensity, slow predacious riffs and rhythms caging the ear before the rampaging heart of the song erupts. With an arguably more classic metal feel than its predecessor though that thrash breath is still laying a hand on proceedings, the song is a relentless gnawing of the senses yet merciful enough to allow amidst its rapacious rabidity, melodic and sonic colour to burn brightly with the fullest temptation and imagination. The best track on the release it alone makes Die No More a band that has to be watched closely and with intent.

Nightmares steps up next with a warm blues lacing to its opening guitar beckoning joined swiftly by the heavy anthemic rhythms of Orchiton which build another compelling stage for the full body of the song to explore and ignite upon. Mellower than its predecessor but still bold and big boned in, the track is a pleasing and easily engaging companion, vocals and riffs easy to unite with whilst the sonic flare unveiled by Smith is magnetic. With its successor also a mighty assault on the passions, being sandwiched between two pinnacles does leave the track a little pale in comparison but it more than satisfies any need and has a lure which pulls you in time and time again.

The closing Oblivious is pure metallic tempestuousness with a more than healthy dose of punk attitude to its lyrical and belligerent riffing. With a chorus that commands the voice, rhythms which act like a puppeteer for feet, and riffing that takes care of the neck, the track is another anthemic high spiced with glorious spires of sonic invention. It is an irresistible climax to an equally contagious release, a final enslavement for thoughts and passions.

Certainly the Blueprint EP shows that Die No More has a little way to go to find a unique presence but at the same time it suggests that it is merely a matter of time. Most importantly it entertains from ear to heart and leaves you wishing this had been an album. A band on a rapid rise…

www.facebook.com/DieNoMore

8.5

RingMaster 07/09/2013

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The Mezmerist – The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty

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    The Mezmerist , a project which few have heard of and even less has music from, is the centre is attention from the newest release of Shadow Kingdom Records. A reissue of two EPs the band recorded back in the mid-eighties; The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is an intriguing and riveting insight to a band almost lost to time with a background as interesting as its engaging sounds.

The band was the project of Thomas Mezmercardo, a young guitarist taking influences from the likes of Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and Mahogany Rush into his own ideas and creativity. With a sound which merges psychedelic and classic/heavy metal driven with a strong mix of vocals highlighted at times with falsetto squalls and expression, The Mezmerist released The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty in 1985, the ‘double EP’ release filled with tracks recorded over two sessions two years apart.

The first notable thing about the release is that the 1983 4 track EP section features Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward alongside Mezmercardo and bassist Roger Abercrombie. As Ward was with Sabbath at the time his contribution was un-credited for legal reasons on the 500 copied pressing, which with the band holding on to a great many of the copies has become very collectable with those in the know and selling on eBay for extreme high prices. Mezmercardo himself has been a sought after and hard to find man since for many interested parties in re-releasing the EP, but finally tracked down and coming to an agreement with Shadow Kingdom for its reissue, which took five years to come to pass even from that point, the described as ‘ by far one of the best cult classic metal albums you’ll ever hear’, is finally available for all.

Whether the release does fit the label’s declaration is debatable but certainly it is an engrossing and enjoyable step back in decades which is very satisfying to have encountered. The first quartet of songs come from that previously mentioned 1983 session featuring Ward and starts with The Forsaken, a caustic atmospheric confrontation with the droning hum of destruction soaring its skies and stark chilling winds wrapping their cold intimidating tendrils around the spoken narrative of Mezmercardo. It is an excellent intro to the release though arguably what follows is an anti-climax to its ruinous suggestion as they seem to steer away musically from the menace and aggression laid down.

The following Dead Ones Cry No More is instantly expelling a scorched heat of guitar and sonic persuasion, a sizzling psychedelic haze on the wasteland of its predecessor. A Middle Eastern temptation lines the immediately skilful and entrancing guitar work framed by the appealing bass prowl and strong rhythmic craft of Ward, though neither of those steal the glory from the guitars or attention from the vocals of Mezmercardo whom when hitting those high levels takes a little getting to use to, his lower cleaner presence more preferable for personal tastes. The song is a sultry caress which opens up the appetite for the next up Arabian Nights, another song reaping those seductive eastern essences to fine effect.  There is a Led Zeppelin/Sabbath feel to the sound which draws in the emotions potently though this is tempered by the vocals which at this point has for these tastes, lost their flavour.

Victim of Environmental Change completes the first part in more than decent style though feels far more of a demo than the other tracks, before the three songs from the 1985 session take their place before the ear. With a line-up of Mezmercardo, bassist Steve Conrad, and drummer JR, as soon as Kingdom of the Dead steps forward there is a breeze of freshness and clarity over the previous songs. The bass has a swagger and mischief that has lips licked whilst the drums are easily an equal to what Ward offered previously. The vocals also have a greater control and persuasion with Mezmercardo staying to a less acidic delivery which with a raw and unfussy breath really works well with the great sounds around them. The track has a doom clad crawl and stalking to its presence whilst guitars and bass twist and turn with enterprise and invention.

No Family, No Friends has a definite punk stroll and snarl to its riffs, their hungry belligerent course seared and entwined in defined and potent sonic spirals of imagination and skill whilst the rhythms again cage it with eagerness and craft. Like the song before it is an excellent taunt for the passions and easily the pair steal the honours on the release.

Completed by the instrumental The Jam Song, a track which feels like it says, an improvised playtime for the musicians which flows and courts the imagination with ease, especially the underlying surf rock dance to its controlled charge, The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is a release all heavy metal fans should take a look at. A cult classic…maybe not, a thoroughly entertaining and flavoursome treat…undoubtedly.

www.shadowkingdomrecords.com

www.shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 04/09/2013

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Tempest Rising – Calm Before The Storm EP

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Just as the excellent Australian Reapers Riddle is putting Perth on the map in the sight of a growing legion of fans we find another emerging force in the sinew powered shape of Tempest Rising. Bringing a refreshing fusion of many distinct metal flavours, the quintet make their debut with the Calm Before The Storm EP and a quite formidable attention grabbing slab of power it is too.

Formed in 2012 with influences coming from the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Exit Ten, Disturbed, Karnivool, and Lamb of God, the band has forged a strong status within the underground metal scene at home, drawing acclaim and sparking up an ardour driven fan base at the same time. Consisting of vocalist Vin Trikeriotis, guitarists James Ward-Armstrong and Sheldon Blackwell, bassist Jarrad Cracknell, and drummer Bill Mann, Tempest Rising now set their sights on a wider field of awareness with Calm Before The Storm the hopeful key. Listening to the muscular and fiery release you would not bet against it opening up a new wealth of attention even if at times it maybe lacks enough uniqueness to set it strikingly apart from the constant wave of bands clamouring for the same focus, but with a furnace of passion and openly strong craft to its body it will certainly make a loud enough noise to lure many more into its intensive arms.

My Extascy opens up the release and is easily the best track on the EP, though admittedly seriously challenged by later songs. With a calmbeforethestorm_portraitblaze of guitar scorching the ear to herald the entrance of vocalist Trikeriotis who from his first breath and the soon to join thumping drums of Mann, shows strong diversity and strength to delivery and voice which carries right through the whole of Calm Before The Storm . With every sinew making its impact the track explodes with a bruising energy and carnivorous ferocity framed by the now towering rhythms and predacious riffing. It is a furnace of intensity and thrills which eat the passions alive before slipping into a lighter classic and alternative metal flame which eases the intimidation before a return of the flavoursome assault. It is a compelling confrontation and welcome to a band that arguably is offering little new but delivering what it exists in a fresh and inventive way.

The only niggle with the song and EP as a whole is the less than satisfactory and complimentary production which blunts some of the really potent skill and sound of the band, and though the vocals generally seem to escape its touch at times they too get submerged in the unsatisfying production approach. The fact that the song still impresses so much is all down to the band and its quality which is just as striking across the other songs starting with The Descent. The song is less rapacious than its predecessor but just as hungry and inventive and actually has moments where Tempest Rising sound like the previously mention Reapers Riddle, but then with a more purposeful metal structure they also discover a distinct lustful sound wholly theirs. With the guitars carving out another fine design of sonic aggravation and the vocals continuing to ooze strength and passion, the track presses the first for that best of accolade from start to finish whilst lighting a fresh helping of greed for their sound.

Hollow Dream is a ballad which merges keys and acoustic guitar for an emotive hue filled enterprise whilst Trikeriotis shows his slow narrative telling is as powerful as his raging stances. It is a more than decent song though lacking the temptation and hook of the previous tracks in person and in staying as a lingering presence. It does show the depths of the band though and how they have much more to show ahead which is extremely promising. It is followed by the returning rabidity of the band’s sound in No Remorse, a track which again savages the senses as it simultaneously treats them to more classically toned metal. Probably it suffers most of all from the production, the guitars and drums finding their energy and power dissipated by the coarse handling of their potency, but it still makes for an exciting end to an impressive and enjoyable release.

That the Calm Before The Storm EP rises above its main obstacle is more than creditable and shows the strength and promise of Tempest Rising, a power sure to earn the band a greater waiting hunger from around the world for their currently being recorded debut album.

https://www.facebook.com/tempestrisingofficial

8/10

RingMaster 29/08/2013

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Promethium – Origins

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Two years ago UK rockers Promethium impressed with their debut album Welcome to The Institution declaring themselves as a band rife with promise and enterprise. Their mix of heavy and classic metal, despite its strong and gripping entrance, also seemed to be saying ‘you have seen nothing yet’ as it left a certain hunger in its creative wake. Now awaiting its moment to burst into the world on September 30th, Origins with ease backs up that apparent statement with a collection of tracks which scream from the rooftops just how much Promethium and their sound has matured and evolved between albums.

Formed from the remains of Skin Crawl, Bodies, Desolate and Natual Thing around six years or so ago the Lancaster band first opened up a wave of attention with their first EP Tribute to the Fallen of 2009. Followed by the successful and well received Welcome To The Institution the feeling that the band was about to erupt upon the higher levels of UK metal was maybe a little premature at that time. Met with acclaim and support things still seem to have moved on slowly for the band in regard to recognition though certainly tours with the likes of Furyon and Beholder as well as their own shows, did their stature no harm at all. Listening to the rich textured sounds and riotous energy and appetite of Origins only supports the notion that we all jumped the gun on their ascent but now could be the time it all kicks off for vocalist Gary McGahon, guitarists Daniel Lovett-Horn and Rossi, bassist Barry Mills, and drummer Dominic Clayton.

Whereas the previous album was a multi-flavoured mix of metal, for Origins the quintet has gone back to the roots of the band and promethiumcentred the core of their sound in prime heavy melodic metal, though it is as full of aural colour and sonic spice as ever. This definition of their direction we would suggest goes much towards the bigger deeper sound making the songs immersive and captivating, that and the obvious evolution in maturity and musical skills. From the opening track Won’t Break Me the leap in sound and composition openly hits, the track immediately wrapping the ear in sonic flames from the guitar and a bass and rhythmic inducement which stands bold and tall in craft and presence. The vocals of McGahon have also found a richer voice and delivery to match the sounds, and as the contagious opener rampages it all makes for an intensive lure for thoughts and hunger. There is a familiarity to the song which teases but as from day one with Promethium, band and music refuses to be compared to anyone else such the unique flavour of their music.

From the impressive beginning the album unleashes two more fierce encounters in the form of the confrontational Gunslinger and the antagonistic beast The Art of Hurting. The first of the pair, and the track which has been publicly teasing people up to release date, brings a great mix of vocal styles and intensive riffing veined by a cage of rhythmic prowess but it is the searing charm and flames of the guitars which steal the show before passing on to its equally rapacious successor. Holding its rabidity in check certainly compared to the previous songs, the track prowls the senses sucking air from the lungs with its oppressive and menacing nature. It is a brute of a treat which continues the vigorously strong start of the album provoking more thoughts that the band’s time has come.

Bringing a less intensive but no less striking offering, Counterfeit with sonic spires of melodic potency and riveting craft leads the listener into further fresh avenues whilst Rain with its power ballad like passion pushes the envelope of the songwriting and its realisation on the album yet again. The song is a real slow burner with its first engagement drawing strong acclaim and over subsequent listens drawing real ardour.

The riff sculpted almost Sabbath like The Hunted reeks old school metal in the best of ways though the vocals lack the bite and potency on earlier songs, especially the less successful mix of harsh and cleaner hues. It is still a richly satisfying ride which is matched by the slow melodic drawl of Plagued by Evil, another song which reminds of something else but will not give up the source, probably because there is none. The songs make for a less impacting but undoubted magnetic middle to the album which is given another adrenaline boost with Revolver, a song which conjures up a predacious animosity and within its storm an anthemic persuasion to capture the imagination.

Completed by the excellent Believer, a track which has more twists and turns to its inventive sound and melodic furnace than a dog chasing its tail and an invention which leaves each listen a little more rewarding and revealing, and the closing mesmeric instrumental title track, The Sky Rocket Records released Origins is a mighty release and step in the dawning of Promethium as one of UK’s most thrilling metal bands. Strangely it still suggests there is more to come from and hone within the band which is as dramatically exciting as the album itself.

Origins is released on October 7th

http://www.promethiumband.com

9/10

RingMaster 28/08/2013

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Sinister Realm – World of Evil

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With an air of doom to its open classic heavy metal heart, World of Evil the new album from US metallers Sinister Realm is one of those releases which just grabs you by the emotions and thrusts you into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise. It is an exciting and pulse racing encounter which leaves senses and appetite alert and hungry for more, something you can argue few bands in the heavy metal genre has achieved in recent times. The Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet has no problem in recruiting the passions and hunger though, certainly on this their third full length release, and without necessarily breaking down existing walls they offer something refreshingly different.

The eight track album has an imagination and depth which also takes in the essences of rich flavours outside of its core sound, this fusion rising to songs that use open influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate in a shadows clad intensive union that sparks off of essences from bands such as Candlemass and Memento Mori. Formed in 2008 by ex-Pale Divine member John Gaffney (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon), Sinister Realm followed up a four-song demo with the well-received self-titled album in 2009, followed two years later to good acclaim its successor The Crystal Eye. Released through Shadow Kingdom Records, World of Evil takes the band to another plateau of accomplishment and one suspects acclaim, the quartet of Gaffney, vocalist Alex Kristof, guitarists John Kantner and John Risko, and drummer Chris Metzger, raising not only their own bar but that on modern classically sculpted heavy metal.

The first thing to say as we delve into the release is how impressive and deliciously imposing and creative the bass work of Gaffney is, 611-228x228throughout the release its throaty steely tone revolving through seductive  to carnivorous but perpetually darkening the shadows, breath, and creative presence of songs wonderfully. It is a bestial predator which gives an intimidation and menace to every second of the release taking the listener into hidden dangers tempering the melodic flames which equally enhance and fire up the release.

Opener Dark Angel of Fate escapes from a stark threatening ambience, exploding into an eagerly paced romp of crisp rhythms and that instantly calling bass sound. Riffs too grip attention with their unspectacular but directly invitational attack whilst the excellent vocals of Kristof parade the song’s tale with expression and strength. As becomes apparent across the whole album, the anthemic lure of the song is dramatic and potent, a power metal like charge fuelling the imaginative engine for the melodic invention to flare off from. It is an excellent start soon backed up by the following pair of Bell Strikes Fear and the title track, even if they fail to quite live up to the impressive welcome of the album. The first of the two holds more of the expectations you would assume from a classic metal song but with good backing vocal shouts and the excellent guitar play not forgetting the bass threat expanding its presence, the track is a rewarding encounter equalled by  its slower intensive successor, the song a more than decent companion to thoughts and imagination.

The grooved enticement of The Ghosts of Nevermore with its familiar yet undefined touch marks the epically breathing song as another major highlight. As guitars coax the appetite with those acidic grooves the bass unveils its own predatory but simultaneously beckoning lure, the union bringing greed into play towards the rich weave of the song. Hunger for it is accelerated by the fine craft of the guitars and the rising symphonic atmosphere infusing the air. The captivating track is just the start of a scintillating passage within the album, Prophets of War stepping up with its confrontational rhythmic sinews and antagonistic riffs next to lead the listener and thoughts into a battlefield of climactic emotion and riveting endeavour. The bass again steals the biggest share of the passions, but every aspect of the track recruits full eagerness and instinctive subservience to its towering inventive declaration, the melodic and adventurous exploration of the initial dark premise as it moves towards its climax especially enthralling.

The pulsating and deviously addictive Cyber Villain has blood surging around veins with irresistible ease, the song a thumping example of choice heavy metal whilst the instrumental The Forest of Souls calms down emotions and energies with enchantingly creative poise before evolving into the vibrant key for final track Four Black Witches to unlock its brooding malevolence and doom like gothic presence. Approaching nine minutes of classic genre fare it is a captivating if slightly overlong conclusion to an excellent release.

World of Evil is a thrilling fascination brought by a band in Sinister Realm which is giving an arguably well-worn genre a new kick of creative adrenaline.

www.facebook.com/sinisterrealm

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

 

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Night Demon – Self Titled EP

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Hailing from California and breathing the sounds of NWOBHM, Night Demon is a trio beginning to make a ripple across the world of metal. Well beginning is not quite right as not long after formation in 2011 the band was drawing attention amongst fans of their chosen genre, especially online where through Bandcamp especially, their success and appearance led to the organizers of Germany’s Keep It True Festival offering Night Demon a place on the fest’s 2014 line-up. Their debut self-titled EP brings four teases influenced by the likes of Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Tygers of Pan Tang, and Iron Maiden to a wider platform brought with the snarl and fuel of modern confrontation.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, the EP opens with the track Night Demon. It is an instant appealing riot of riffs and crisp rhythmsuntitled ridden by melodic flames from the guitar and strong clean vocals. Consisting of Jarvis Leatherby, Brent Woodward, and John Crerar, the latter pair also in The Fucking Wrath, Night Demon envelops the ear in old school metal and fresh energy. It is not a sound breaking down barriers, nor even stretching them, but for passionate and intense heavy rock ‘n’ roll strapped to insatiable melodic metal, song and release provide a rich encounter to lose oneself within.

The strong start is built upon by The Chalice, the track entering on the back of an excellent bass beckoning soon joined by roaming riffs and sonic temptation. The thumping rhythms equally make a compelling invitation and frame the accomplished sonically coloured heart of the song as the vocals again make an expressive hue which only enhances the aural narrative. It is easy to see as the song wraps its well-crafted charms around the ear why the band has drawn an eager following and attention, it an easily accessible and welcoming blaze of modern nostalgia and enterprise.

Ancient Evil chugs along like an express train from its opening seconds but with a gait that is in no rush to miss the sights. The guitars sculpt a scenic route for song and ears whilst the bass treads the sinew clad road provided by the drums with a heavy and eager intensity. As with all songs on the EP, there is a familiarity which arguably deflects it from developing the strongest impact, but the call of all tracks is easy to respond to and join in league with, even if they do not offer a lingering persuasion that remains without their company.

The closing Ritual ensures the release ends on a high whilst reinforcing the promise and stance of the band. Its groove littered flight of incendiary melodic craft and pressing riffs an appetising suasion whilst the muscular prowl of bass and prompting drums cages it all with a firm and determined hand. The best song on the EP, it completes a very pleasing and invigorating introduction to a band we are destined to hear much more of and from. Night Demon has risen and one suspects will have claws in a legion of passionate followers quite soon.

www.nightdemon.net

8/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

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Death SS – Resurrection

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    Resurrection the follow-up to the critically acclaimed previous album The Seventh Seal sees the return of Italian heavy metal band Death SS and their compelling tales and sounds of horror soaked devilry. Formed by vocalist Steve Sylvester with its first recordings as far back as 1988, the Pesaro band has been an ever potent presence within Italian heavy metal and to a lesser degree the world. Taking, one suspects a more than healthy influence from the likes of Alice Cooper, and possibly inspiring again on assumption the likes of current bands such as Houston! and Superhorrorfuck, Death SS create a blend of metal and drama inspired by horror movies and literature and apparently also this time around the Italian sexy-horror comics of the Seventies especially in the album art work. Resurrection is at times a riveting excursion through crimson red temptation but also has tracks where inspiration is lacking for song and listener, something which suggests that many of the bands they may have sparked life within have since surpassed their own creativity. Despite that for the main the album is a pleasing and easy to return to riot of familiar fun.

For the first half of the Lucifer Rising / Scarlet Records released album, Resurrection is a bit hit and miss, the alternating tracks bringing death-ss-coverrides of horror rock and more straight forward heavy metal, and the former much more thrilling than the latter style. For the first time Sylvester produces a Death SS album and does a great if unspectacular job whilst alongside guitarist Al Denoble, keyboardist Freddy Delirio, bassist Glenn Strange, and Bozo Wolff on drums, he leads the stirring passions through a disjointed but appealing journey of rock ‘n’ roll. The album certainly gets better the further into its body you go too, finding a stronger consistency to the variation working its devilment.

Opening track Revived opens on a pulsating heartbeat with a sinister ambience soon emphasised by the vocals of Sylvester. This menace is accelerated by the joining throaty bass and wide rhythmic punches all scored by sonic guitar lashes. Into its thumping stride with a blanket of refreshing electro temptation, the song is a rampant stroll of horror rock which instantly brings thoughts of Wednesday 13, Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, and as mentioned earlier Superhorrorfuck. It is not bursting with originality but as the riffs and rhythms cast their contagious net around the senses and the vocals unleash their raucous grazing it is imagination capturing fun.

The following track The Crimson Shrine avails itself of a more classic heavy metal breath, riffs and drums a tower of sinews whilst the keys paint a symphonic picture upon the big boned canvas. The guitar work of Denoble is impressive and creates enthralling shards of melodic flames across the song whilst the additional female vocals temper things with grace and beauty, but the track is pale in potency against its predecessor and next up The Darkest Night. To be fair some of this is down to personal preference towards the two styles offered but it is an uneasy lie in many ways nevertheless. Its successor takes a mere breath before launching another muscular stomp of horror rock/power metal like persuasion. The electronic veins provided by the keys are like torches, lighting the thick shadows of the narrative which dance within the crushing frame of rhythms and hungry predatory riffs. Like the first song there is nothing unheard before but delivered in the accomplished and energetic style of Death SS leaves a very satisfied appetite.

The decent enough melodic charms of classic metal honed Dionysus lead into the rapacious growl and hold of Eaters, the track a bestial torrent of steely jawed riffs and mountainous rhythmic provocation driven by great vocal incitement, lyrically and in delivery. Again it is no coincidence that the song is a Cooperesque/Murderdolls like romp with lethal dangling weaponry disguised as guitars solo and bass lines to enslaved and tear the senses into bliss, and is the style exciting these ears.

The likes of the Ogre’s Lullaby, with its psychotic whispers and heavily laden vocal tempting, and the metallic swing/swagger of Santa Muerte both ignite thoughts and a little bit of greed for their sinew stretching and especially in the first, schizo charms, whilst The Devil’s Graal is a crawling provocative beast that leaves welcomingly entrenched sonic claws and dramatic teeth in the senses. As mentioned previously, Resurrection gets stronger and more perpetually appetising as it works nearer its climax, both the Manson like Precognition with its rhythmic juggling and carnivorous riffing and the bruising rock n’ n’ roller Bad Luck proof as they leave limbs and passions laying down an accompanying energetic escort. They make a thrilling conclusion to the album and compensates for the disappointment of songs such as the bland The Song of Adoration, certainly in comparison to this last pair. Wrapped in the great artwork of Emanuele Taglietti, an internationally renowned painter and author of all the covers of cult adult comics such as ‘Belzeba’, ‘Zora’, ‘Sukia’, ‘Cimiteria’, ‘La Poliziotta’ to name a few, Resurrection is a very enjoyable album even with songs which just do not ignite any heat for their presence included, and though there is nothing truly new here which has not been discovered and reaped elsewhere, it is hard not to like and want to return to.

http://www.deathss.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 31/07/2013

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Battlecross: War of Will

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Two years ago US metallers Battlecross impressed with debut album Pursuit of Honor, a release which pooled a potent and powerful blend of classic, thrash, and death metal into twelve ferocity driven senses withering tracks. It was possibly not steeped in ground breaking originality but compensated with a sound which ravaged and thrilled with exhausting hunger. The Detroit band now return with its successor, the again Metal Blade Records released War of Will, and taking the same flavours and inspirations into its torrent of heavy metal fury stands as a big, if again undemanding on boundaries, step forward. It is a breath-taking onslaught of adrenaline crafted metal brought with unbridled passion and untethered aggression, and simply irresistible.

All the elements which powered its predecessor into the passions return; the rapacious riffing, uncompromising rhythms, and the deliciously predatory basslines all remain at the core of the sound but taken to another depth of enterprise and skilled effectiveness. Featuring this time around the drumming skills of Shannon Lucas who arguably adds an extra antagonism to the rhythmic potency of the band, War of Will roars before the ear like a muscle fuelled gladiator and promotes the band into an even greater and formidable presence within metal, backing up their impressive reputation garnered from live performances at numerous festival and sharing stages with the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Suicidal Tendencies Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity and many more.

Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios with famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, War of Will rips at the ear from its veryBattlecross - War of Will first second as opener Force Fed Lies stands eye to eye with the senses, challenging them to flee before gripping them by the throat and showering them with exhausting rhythms, equally commanding riffs, and furies of vocal enterprise, not forgetting tantalising grooves. Into its stride the track provides a steady wall of provocation which expels flames of melodic enticement from its sinew clad battlefronts. The vocals of Kyle Gunther deliciously squall with serpentine intent as they ride the crest of the sonic abrasiveness and at times is joined by a sturdier pose to snatch a lift on the continually impressive grooves. It is a mighty start which ignites the greed for more of the same.

     Flesh & Bone follows with a melodic tease to its armoury, riffs and tight feisty grooves bringing a fiery narrative to the infection soaked track. The guitars of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala create compelling colour soaked sonic endeavour alongside the insatiable riffs which ignite the senses throughout the album but here they carve an adventure far from the more direct aggressive confrontations elsewhere which is just scintillating and inspires equal imagination in the thoughts. It is an enthralling slice of inventive imagination and a benchmark for the rest of the album.

The cantankerous Never Coming Back with its belligerent rhythms and vocal scowling sear the flesh of the ear next, its battering intensity speared with further flames of riveting sonic hues from the guitar, soon followed by the equally and arguably similar malevolent provocation of My Vaccine. With the bass lines of Don Slater coursing moodily through the track it is not a song which has the drama or impact of previous songs but still keeps attention and hunger bubbling for Get Over It to exploit with its unpredictable savagery and inventive manipulation held in a rhythmic caging alongside insidiously bred grooves,  the bass again finding a stronger rabidity to its presence. Wholly infectious and matching in intimidation it is another powerful highlight of the album.

The likes of the thrash cured Ghost Alive, the tempestuous The Will To Take Over with its treacherous sonic terrain, and the threatening raptorial Beast provide further notable moments on the album though every song makes an explosively satisfying companion even if not all linger after their departure in thoughts. The third of this trio stalks the senses with roaming grooves and magnetically luring riffs which combine to enslave the passions and pull the passions deeper into the release, the solo and melodic imagination an extra feast of pleasure and certainly long remaining once off to find new flesh to savage.

The exceptional track is followed by closer Never-Ending Night, a song which choices a more predictable stance to make its final statement. It is a more than decent proposition but possibly the album would have been better ending on the intense height of the previous track. It does not stop War of Will from being an impressive and exciting antagonist and confirming Battlecross as one of the best emerging heavy metal bands this decade.

http://battlecrossmetal.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2013

 

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