Overcoming nature’s fury: an interview with Mathieu of Sofy Major

4SM press

The events and drama which stood in the way of the recording of the album Idolize would have left any band lost in turmoil and self-pity, but for French metallers Sofy Major it was just an obstacle to climb over and use, with the help of similarly determined and generous people. What emerged was a beast of an album, a release which takes noise rock/hardcore/metal, whatever you wish to call the diverse mighty sounds explored on the album, to greater levels. We had the distinct pleasure of delving into not only the band itself but also the devastating events confronting the recording of Idolize and its aftermath with vocalist and bassist Mathieu. Also looking at touring and the music itself he gave us full insight into the past few months.

Hi and welcome to the Ringmaster Review, thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Hi Pete, I’m Mathieu doing bass and vocals for Sofy Major, here are the answers to your questions

You have just released your, may I say outstanding, new and second album Idolize, a release which faced a shall we say’ very testing time to be born’. The relief to get it out there must have been more intense this time around I am imagining?

Yep, we’re in the process of promoting the album now and the endless touring time is coming! Yeah!

Could you tell us about the dramatic obstacles you faced after travelling to Brooklyn to record the record?

Well, basically we were supposed to spend nearly 2 months in the US recording and touring. The journey originally had to start with a 3 weeks recording session. I remember that I left Europe first and alone as we were travelling in separate planes. As I arrived, no New-Yorker was telling me about a potential disaster or what so ever was coming. When I first met Andrew, our producer, when we arrived, he told me that a hurricane was on his way to the coast, but you couldn’t feel any panic all around in NYC. Probably because people out there know that it’s not supposed to be a common weather phenomenon regarding the location of the city. The day before we were supposed to begin doing the tracking work, we did all the drum set-up and we checked all the lines, everything was ready for an über blast. When we left the studio, it was already windy outside and I could see the industrial canal fronting the studio facilities having a super high level, literally as high as the parking lot was. The day after, when we came back to the studio (the first tracking day), the facility had already been a little bit flooded and it already had damaged some of the practice rooms. We tried to help the studio owners securing the building, putting sandbags in front of the doors and then we left as the water was coming to the building.

The hurricane happened at night and actually destroyed the studio in its entirety; you could see those old Telefunken mics in the middle of the parking lots… Sad.

There must have been moments where you thought it was never going to be possible to record it? Or did your determination refuse to accept defeat?

When it happened, I just didn’t know what to think. I knew that Andrew our producer was even more affected and I was just thinking something like: “man, we don’t want to disturb even more”… considering he took care of us as we were homeless after the disaster happened. The next few days, when we were walking from a place to another with our 30kgs backpacks, I guess I thought 2 or 3 times that we’d better go home, particularly when we didn’t know which place we were going to sleep in. This plus the fact that I felt like it was too much for the people to whom it happened, yeah that was a weird feeling. But Andrew is always a positive-minded guy, he told us: “You came here to record an album, you need to leave the States with an album”! Dave Curran assisted him, saved our asses and lent us the gear to record.

I read that the band lost its equipment as well as the studio; this meant all your instruments, amps etc.?sm 2

This means all the stuff we bought when we arrived (cabs, pedals, various stuff) and all the gear we rented (which means that they took the deposit for each item we lost and/or didn’t manage to save from the water).  All of this is nothing compared to what the studio’s owners lost.

How did that impact on the recording using equipment you are not used to and at one with in many ways?

Well, if you’re a musician you know what it is not to play on your own gear, when we’re on tour I usually admire drummers who are not playing on their hardware. Imagine you’re a guitar player and you play with another guitar with a different tune without having practiced on it. It’s like you’re running for a Formula 1 Grand Prix and they tell you you’re going to use a different car 5 minutes before the race begins. We were lucky to have the opportunity to record though, I cannot really complain about this. But yeah, I remember the gear at Translator Audio was perfectly fitting our needs until it happened.

The local music scene gave you great support and help to be able to do the recording after the disaster, showing the strength of the community out there. This must have added extra spice to your passion during the recording sessions?

Well, what is crazy is that those guys didn’t know us until it happened. That’s funny because when I think about this happening in France, nobody would be giving a single fuck, we don’t have that strong music community background here. Everybody showed us so much support, including bands whose gear was entirely destroyed as well, it was 100% sure this record would include a little bit of those people.

We called the album which did come out, Idolize carnivorous, in sound and intent, and wondered if the circumstances surrounding its recording added extra snarl, rawness, and venom to the music. Do you think that is so?

Probably. The reason we came to work with Andrew is that we like his approach of getting the organic and natural feeling a band can provide while recording. All the records he made had that particular thing, it’s like he always manages to catch the best he can get from the purest recording string. Also we were not playing on our own gear; this gave another harsh thing to add on this album.

Did the album emerge exactly as you imagined before travelling out to record it or do you write songs in the studio generally?

When we arrive in the studio, 90% of our music is already written, but we need those 10% of improvisation. If there’s a cool lead, or something we might want to add on the album and didn’t think about when we were pre-producing, we want to have the ability to do it. But yeah, usually everything’s is planned and written.

Your sound straddles numerous genres, from noise to hardcore, metal to psyche punk. What are the inspirations which have would you say initially fuelled your own distinct ideas?

We listen to tons of different genres, the extreme music field is wise, it can be Noise Rock, Free Jazz to Crust Punk and Black Metal. We don’t restrain ourselves to a specific genre when it comes to listening to music. We like to write consistent music though, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck in something really particular. I’d say we’re punk rockers and metallers playing noise rock. The three of us have their own personal influences, but we do have the same roots. I mean all those scenes you’re talking about are connected to each other. Everything comes from the riffs, if the riff is cool, let’s just play it.

There is a passion to your sound which suggests the main directive of your songwriting is to create sounds that you like to listen to then everything else falls in to place…

I’ve always been willing to create something I could see live and say “cool, those guys are great”. The fact is that we’re also a live band, gigs and shows are part of the game, I’d be egocentric if I said that I would not care about what the audience is feeling while I’m playing. I do enjoy playing live for sure but this is not a competition. If you go on tour, you’re here to share it with the audience, not masturbating your guitar in front of 100 people, what’s the point? I don’t get bands who do not play live, there are so many. Life is hard for everyone those days regarding money, living conditions, etc… so I want to provide the audience something great, something which I worked a lot on, if the dude pays 5€ for a show, I’m here to give him what he came to hear.

There is also that rawness suggesting tracks are recorded live in the studio, is that the case?

Nope, that’s where Andrew did a fantastic job. The organic and live feeling was provided as we were recording separately. It’s like what the Melvins did with their last albums, the drums sound amazing. They manage to play those songs live and it’s like listening to the CD with more beers and more sweating.

coverhighThe album is out on Solar Flare Records, which I believe is the band’s own label? What inspired the creation of the label?

Well, the idea of creating Solar Flare Records first came early last year. Andrew and Dave did have the first Pigs record ready and I suggested to them: “Hey, I can help you release it”. I was a little bit nervous as it was the first time I was releasing something for another band. The funniest thing was that I didn’t even listen to the record before throwing the idea of releasing it. Well, I was lucky as this is probably one of the best records of 2012, that album is a gem and we all have to see this band live. I was already working on Sofy Major’s promotion and distribution and was doing a whole label’s work for my own records; I just did the same for another band. We’re in 2013, the time when bands got signed on major labels is now over, there are so many bands all over, you can’t wait to get into a super big label like Relapse or Sub Pop if you really want to release records and tour ; this will actually happen for 0.01% of the current touring bands. Many good bands are also doing everything themselves, I know that Big Business did their own label to release their records, that’s probably true for tons of other bands. Now I’m releasing the 11th record for Solar Flare Records and I still enjoy it, I’m glad to release records for bigger and less known bands. If I dig into your band’s music, there’s no reason you won’t be into the Solar Flare roster.

With the situation with the hurricane it must have stretched the finances for the label and yourselves to the limit?

That was terrible when it happened, but so many people helped us, we got donations and merch sales from all over the world. I did lose a shitload of money on this one, but I was glad I managed to make the trip happen anyway. Every single penny I’m earning with my regular job is injected in the label or the band, hope we can recover quickly.

After recording the album you went on tour in the US; that must have revived the spirits…

We knew what to expect. All our friends who toured the US told us it was really… particular. You don’t have the same touring conditions that you can get in Europe: no food, no sleeping place, not a lot of money, that’s probably one of the hardest country to tour and it obviously didn’t improve our financial situation. But we met many good people, great crowds and we left the US with tons of new friends. Also you have so many great bands there that it was a pleasure to share the stage with them. That’s hard for an indie band, not signed on a major label, to tour the US, especially when all the money you’re spending is coming from your personal funds. But when you’re working hard, almost everything can be done.

You are a band who loves to tour and lay waste to audiences obviously, more so than recording?

Nope, we love both equally. We love to tour as that sounds like the best way to share and promote our music, as simple as that. We could hit the studio, release a record and just wait for something to happen, but what’s the point again? We don’t have enough money to travel by our own or go on holidays; it also enables us to discover different cultures. That’s our main motivation about touring: promoting what we do and showing our work to the audience, and meeting other bands. Also, this is probably the best way to sell your records and make enough money to record new songs.

Can the rest of 2013 expect to see the band out there taking the album and sounds to the masses?

Sure! We’ll be supporting Pigs on their first European tour this fall on 20 gigs. Come see us, spit on us, have a beer with us.

Are you a band who is continually writing and already working on ideas for the next release?smnbfinale

Funny you’re saying this because we’ve already been writing a couple new songs; we love to move things forward. I guess we’ll be touring for a couple years now to promote Idolize.

I can assume you will be taking closer of inspection of the weather when choosing the next studio? Ha-ha

A friend of ours recommended us to record our next album in the Bahamas in the middle of August.

Once again Mathieu many thanks for chatting with us.

Any last thoughts you would like to leave us with?

It’s hot outside, don’t forget to drink beers otherwise YOU’RE GOING TO DIE.

http://www.sofymajor.com/

Read the Idolize review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/sofy-major-idolize/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 24/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MESSiAHLATOR – Brain Killer

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The truth is we cannot tell you much about Canadian metal punk band MESSiAHLATOR such the surprising difficulty in googling the distinctive name and lack of info online with any successful search, but we can tell you their latest EP Brain Killer is a raging spiteful assault that all hardcore, punk, and extreme metallers should take time to investigate. A free download from the band’s Bandcamp profile and available in cassette form, the five track intensive abrasion is an uncompromising violent attack on the senses and very satisfying indeed.

Consisting of Pavs (bass, vocals) and Brett (guitars, vocals), and Eric (drums), the trio from Edmonton combine an unhealthy mix of death metal, hardcore punk, crust, and grindcore resulting in a very beneficial and inspiring corrosive confrontation. The first vicious grazing comes from opener Righteous Man. It is a torrent of corrosive riffs and pummelling rhythms forced further home by the caustic sprawling vocals. The reoccurring groove which switches off and on is a grinding tease which excites the ear within the merciless intensity. The song is a testing and exhausting aggressive rampage which is powerful in its simplicity and provoking in its nastiness.

The following Canada Dry chews the ear with the sonic jaws of a predator who knows its victim cannot escape, flinging its carcass around the limits of the bruising aural cage with glee and unbridled aggression. It is a brief bitch slap with little respect for mercy and with an unrelenting hunger, something which is echoed by Ride The Plague. The third song is a surge of metallic enterprise and the continual vehemence which pervades every track on the release. The song offers diversity too, the rolling avalanche of rhythms and scorched melodic guitar strikes new contagious lures within the tempest of intensity and ferocious annihilation. The fluid mix of destructive metal and hardcore malice is impressive throughout but on this song at its most formidable and enthralling.

Who Won’t Wear The Ribbon is a slower consumption compared to what came before though still a raging violating fury across its towering presence. The track is the least successful on the EP yet still captures the imagination through an inventive enterprise which sparks from within the caustic sensory trespass.

The release is completed by Sky Burial, the groove driven best track on Brain Killer. It is a sonic malefaction leaking infection from inside its tumultuous intense assail. It overwhelms the ear with a compulsive and appetising mix of flesh grinding riffs, taunting melodic hooked grooves, and rampaging energy. It is a discord wrapped ravishment and quite punishingly delicious.

Brain Killer is not a release for everyone but certainly extreme noise fiends will find a thrilling challenge and adversary from the EP and MESSiAHLATOR themselves. Go and stand before their violence is our recommendation after all it is free from the link below.

http://messiahlator.bandcamp.com/album/brain-killer

RingMaster 10/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bingo: Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar

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    Offering 23 abrasions in just over 25 minutes, Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar is a ferocious grindcore assault which is not for the faint hearted. Unleashing the rawest and most chaotic mass of sonic bruises the album is a debilitating collection of tracks from Swedish grindsters Bingo brought together in one lethal release. It is a festering expanse of spiteful venom, merciless aggression, and insidious invention. It does not play nice, or fair, but for fans of the genre the album is an eagerly awaited and rewarding intrusion.

Bingo is/was a band formed in 2004 consisting of bassist Ivan Hermansson (now in raw punkers Lars Adaktusson), vocalists Anders Nordberg (now with crust band Eskatologia and also Lars Adaktusson) and Gerda Berglund (now ‘screaming’ for Misantropic), drummer Anders Inga (now in hardcore band Kidnapped), and guitarist Johan Larson (now in hardcore act Spela Snabbare). The band entered the studio in 2006 for what was intended to be their debut album Mer grind än din morsa (More grind then your mother). Shortly after recording the tracks Hermansson left and was replaced by Petter Karlsson (now guitarist with Lars Adaktusson). 2008 saw the band recording the follow-up release with legendary underground producer Erik Lindbergh, and it is both recordings which get their proper release as the double grind album Ett grindslagsmål i 2 delar from Discouraged Records. The tracks have been remastered to gain a consistency across the expanse of the album but without removing the raw harshness which makes them stand out and be so effective.

The release is a caustic onslaught with extra crust tendencies which takes no prisoners sonically or lyrically, the tracks dealing with bingo-album1400x1400the likes of politics, social issues, and the greedy consumer led society man has become, or simply as the promo states it is ’the soundtrack to your job resignation, your defence speech for a meat free lifestyle, or why not a “fast” tutorial to political activism.’ The vocals are a constant squall of energy and spite which thrust forth the predominantly real life story based songs and though sung in Swedish the emotion and anger is undisguised, even if the actual content is unavailable for us of limited language skills. As mentioned the album is for true genre enthusiasts but also offers plenty one suggests, to grab the attention of extreme noise fans everywhere.

The tracks at first engagement offer a similarity across the album, the surface sound cored by a constantly sapping attack but bravery rewards and determined venture into the release in time and effort reveals a wealth of variety and invention, you just have to work for it and swim against the sonic tide. The twin male and female vocals is the first notable thing about the band, the pleasing vocal attack an excellent distinct proposition which arguably can be best described as a violent union of Iwrestledabearonce and The Agonist. Behind them the sounds are a caustic maelstrom of violence occasionally speared by destructive grooves and shards of discord caked melodies. It is a compulsive combination which many will fear and just as many will revel in.

Highlights on an album which is maybe surprisingly high on consistency for so many crippling brief furies, arrive first with the twistedly grooved En Dor Cirkus Dar Folk. The song is immediately addictive as the serpentine groove entrances the ear whilst rhythms, riffs, and vocals unleash their barbarous intent. The longer it stays around, barely a minute actually and shorter than it took to write this particular paragraph, the more searing and nasty it becomes to result in a very satisfying encounter.

The punk riot of Jag Ville Hångla Men Började Slåss steps to the fore next soon followed by the best two tracks on the release in Gröna Vågen är wiped and Valkommen. The first of the pair is a stream of intensity built to waste the senses but beneath the fire there is a persistent drone like groove which wins the day as it climaxes the song accompanied by a sampled vocal piece. It is intriguing and openly different to what came before and what follows. The second is an infectious again punk driven track which reminds of bands like the Buzzcocks, its melodic hook irresistible, though at barely a few seconds long it could not go wrong.

Further peaks come with the sensational slight folk/progressively tainted Ålidhem, the contagious metal hooked For Istället Musik – Organisering with a great bass performance, the rampaging Grind Mot Reindfelt, and closing track Cancersvulst Kan Du Va Själv. Overall though the album is a great tempest of unbridled noise and passion which will be a pleasing treat for grindcore and extreme metal fans though maybe not quite as appealing for others.

http://www.discouragedrecords.com/artists.php

RingMaster 30/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Nuclear Death Terror: Chaos Reigns

The collecting together of previously only vinyl available releases from death/crust metal band Nuclear Death Terror in the shape of Chaos Reigns is a mighty and enjoyable album all fans of the genre should investigate. Without igniting new areas and avenues, the album is the history to date of a band which has its own little distinct corner away from most. Powerful and inventive the tracks within the album leave nothing but satisfaction in their heavily churned up dust and thanks to Southern Lord get a deserved wider viewing.

Originally from Copenhagen, the Danish metalers first drew attention with their 2005 demo and following self titled album a year later. A line-up change ensued at this point to be followed by the well received releases of the Ceaseless Desolation and Total Annihilation 7” EPs of 2007 and 2009 respectively, both making up two thirds of the tracks on Chaos Reigns. 2010 saw a relocation to Melbourne with strong touring around the country as well as in Japan and SE Asia the year after. 2012 has already seen the release of the Blood Fire Chaos Death EP, its five new songs now completing the track list upon Chaos Reigns.

The album sets its listing out in reverse order with the songs from Blood Fire Chaos Death opening the release. This has a dual effect in that it makes the quality of the album diminish slightly as it goes but conversely highlights the quality of the music across the years as that fall is quite minimal considering the years and production levels the releases come from. The quartet of songs from their last EP steal the show to be fair, their presence a hardcore punk energy brought with a heavy intense death/crust breath. The opening Crisis immediately brings the senses into a riotous and sprawling soundscape of crippling rhythms and abrasive riffs. It is a contagious assault which ignites the senses with its latter enterprise and manipulative sonic fingerings, arguably the most appealing thing across all the songs and what sets the band apart from others. At times it can be quite subtle, maybe not a word expected to be used with an intensity like Nuclear Death Terror offer, as on the destructive Collapse and the fiery sonic Descent.  It certainly adds something extra though to spark the imagination within what can be without care a too similar consumption.

Along with the opener the biggest highlights come in Abyss again from the recent EP and the track Total Annihilation from the EP of the same name. The first is an infectious stomp through the ear, the growling bile spewing vocals riding an infectious and persistent grinding groove within the towering fury of energy and riffs. It has vehemence to its heart though which envelopes the ear with the slower twists and doomy heavy caresses. The second of the pair is a storming break neck thrash speared onslaught, unrelenting and hungry the track is a rabid corruptive brute which again twists its pace and intensity skilfully.

The likes of Devolve To Submission and World Enslaved hit the spot perfectly though all tracks leave nothing but good reactions and thoughts in their wake, even the more than decent if unadventurous cover of the Celtic Frost song Morbid Tales which closes the album. To be honest it is the latest four songs which steal top honours but in many ways that is how it should be, a band evolving and improving.

Will Chaos Reigns be in your best of year choices, most likely not but as a record of a great band to date, it and Nuclear Death Terror are a more than pleasing half hour spent, and often.

http://www.nuclear-death-terror.com/

Ringmaster 03/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Black Hole of Calcutta – Self Titled

As dark and dangerous as the band name, the self titled album from Black Hole of Calcutta is a festering sore of noise and intensity which leaves one gasping for breath but fully satisfied.  It is a destructive storm upon the senses, an aural corruption brought with expertise and a torrent of spite.

The album is the second with the same name to be released by the band and precedes a discography cd of past splits and EPs which is also available now. From Portland/Seattle, Black Hole of Calcutta create a disruptive tempest of punk, hardcore, and grindcore with more than a healthy spattering of crust and black metal to name a mere  two of its additives. They are not good for the health and openly destructive but as shown by the release also the creators of outstanding and essential pleasures. The album is incessant and merciless, a rampage which often leaves no time to appreciate the creativity spawning beneath the abrasive surface, but under the squall there is skilful inventive from a band as tight and vicious as you could wish.

Starting with the immense Myth Of Progress, the release is aural violence to either run from or welcome with open arms, the first option leads to safety the latter to rewards which far out way the hospital bills. The opener actually is arguably the least destructive track and part of an inviting sludge metal top and tailing to the song itself and the release as a whole. Once into its stride the track attacks every synapse with venom dripping vocal screams and shouts upon crippling rhythms. The guitar work is impressive bringing a groove to drool over and riffs which are manipulative in the extreme. The track is over five minutes of striking play and invention brought with unrivalled ferocity.

It is from this point where if you blink you miss, the following eleven songs ranging from the barely passing of two minutes down to the length of taking a deep breath, which one has to often under the fierce assault. Tracks using mere splinters of time have always brought enthused passion here, their brief yet punchy presence often far more effective and powerful than the laboured lengths of some songs, it is definitely the case here.

The following Age Of Extinction scrapes away flesh to instigate a blistered attack which leaves only debris in its wake whilst the punk cored Truth Is Never Told with hypnotic rhythms beneath rousing guitars and the predatory Total Collapse with its excellent instant switches in pace and weight, leave one shell shocked but fully gratified. Within their songs the band offer so much that initially it is hard to take it all in and within such short stays it is again impressive how diverse, unpredictable, and persistently inventive the songs are.

Further highlights come with the diseased grind of Cirrhosis, the tumultuous Nightmares, and the brutal  Arm The Hopeless, a track which in forty seconds is a compulsive car crash for the senses. The closing Vultures stakes a claim for best track with its filthy rock variance in collision with punk aggression. It is nasty and full of vehemence but totally contagious especially with that closing sludge feel.

All the tracks are of equally strong quality and creativity on the album and mark Black Hole of Calcutta as a band destined to grab the attention they deserve at some point. The band might blast the senses to pulp and corrupt the ear with blistering speed and unbridled aggression but they do it with an invention which is g rare in extreme noise. Find out for yourselves by grabbing a name your price copy of this album at their page @ bhoc.bandcamp.com  , it could be one of the best things you do this year.

RingMaster 07/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Enabler: All Hail The Void

Stripped bare, relentlessly violated, and left a gibbering wreck on the floor, no not a scene from an entry within the Hostel movies franchise but the course and aftermath of the annihilatory bliss that is All Hail The Void from the Milwaukee-based extreme metallers Enabler. To call it an assault is to underplay its ferociousness and merciless intensity but within the violent hurricane of sound there is a creative brew of imagination which without attention can almost go unseen. Given focus the release emerges as one of the more exhilarating albums to corrupt the ear this year.

All Hail The Void is not an easy listen but nor is it so harsh that it offers nothing for those with more melodic veins to their tastes. Enabler unleash a storm of hardcore, punk, crust and varied flavours of extreme metal  but spearing it all are some of the most delicious and addictive grooves and hooks you could wish for. Ok they come with a caustic rub for the senses as intrusive as the aggression but they are as sweet as the cruellest pain and equally addictive.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber (Harlots, Eyes Upon Separation, Trap Them, Today is the Day, Shai Hulud), Enabler persistently has drawn increasing attention with their powerful sound. Consisting of guitarist Greg Thomas (Misery Signals, Shai Hulud, The Risk Taken), bassist Amanda Daniels, and Andy Hurley (Racetraitor, Kill the Slavemaster, Fallout Boy, The Damned Things, Earth Crisis)on drums alongside Lohrber, the band through the release of splits with the likes of Drainland and Ambassador Gun, and their EP’s Eden Sank To Grief and War Begins With You (both re-released together on the album Year One CD), have twisted metal inside out, gathering extreme flavours into their own fury of creativity. All Hail The Void is a mighty continuation of their staggering sound and a real treat.

Released July 16th via Southern Lord, the album captures the imagination from the start, the emotive strokes of a lone guitar at the beginning of F.A.T.H. an irresistible invitation for the ear even with the brewing intensity lurking behind it. A gentle start full of drama the song soon explodes into a knee buckling force of aural vengeance as riffs bruise the ear and sonic melodic scythes blister every surface they come in contact with. Like being trampled underfoot by a raging bull in the tight streets of rural Spain the track leaves one breathless and drained, senses grabbing for some kind of security though the chances of safety are destroyed as the following song The Heathens soon crushes any bones and sinews left intact. An equally vindictive piece of songwriting and its eager realisation the track contorts synapses with vicious melodic scrapings and a rampant groove intent on submission. With drums pummelling and laying bruise upon existing bruise whilst guitars flay the air mercilessly Lohrber spews unrestrained anger and spite with the strongest accuracy, the combination of all like in the opener quite glorious.

The excellent Speechless with its hypnotic dirty sonic groove and prowling bass from Daniels which intimidates with every note continues the impressive start. It is a riot of insatiable energy and twisted riffs which ignites every favourable spark within. More punk than hardcore it is another of many possibly destined to be classics on the release.

Though the album barely exceeds the thirty minute mark it feels much bigger and certainly has a titanic effect on the body. Tracks like the title track with its stalking riffs and taunting groove, the unpredictable They Live, We Sleep with its sonic blinding of the senses and haunting sanity twisting melodies, and especially Save Yourself, are all mesmeric violations which rupture and fire up every part of their recipients. The latter of the three is the best song on the album, a nasty stomping brute of a song with destructive grooves so addictive they leave one with permanent whiplash.

All Hail The Void initially came over as an impressive album but its persistence on the ear and our increasing insatiable desire to keep returning to it saw it evolve into one of the hungriest and fully satisfying intrusions of the year, and Enabler a band which should be in the ear of everyone.

RingMaster 10/07/2012

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From Ashes Rise: Rejoice/The End Rage Of Sanity 7”

Just the news alone after a nine year wait of new material from US band From Ashes Rise was sure to have the juices of all hardcore punks flowing with unbridled anticipation. Once they finally hear the unmistakably impressive and powerful duo of songs making up their new single, fans will be in a fully satisfied meltdown. Following on from the Nightmares album of 2003, if nine years can be called a follow-up, the release shows the band just as mighty and destructive as ever. The often acclaimed pioneers of modern crust punk have quite simply returned to show they still are one of the bands to inspire and help lead forward the genre and extreme punk of all aspects.

Formed in Nashville during the mid nineties before relocating to Portland, Oregon, the band has through a trio of albums and numerous EPs and split releases not to mention their rushing live shows, helped shape the hulk and presence of hardcore punk alongside bands like Tragedy and His Hero Is Gone. Their absence in past years has been felt certainly by punk fans and their return with what is undeniably one of the best releases of the genre in a long time an impatient wait for a great many.

Released July 16th via Southern Lord the twin track single shows the decision to pack it in as From Ashes Rise in 2005 and try new ventures has ultimately energised and inspired their work as individuals and a band. Evidence was given towards that by their acclaimed bullying of stages with their aggressive compulsive sounds when returning in2009, the single proves it. Sometimes these things have to happen for a band and artists to inspire or re-energise their hearts and power, certainly for guitarists/vocalists John Wilkerson and Brad Boatright, bassist Derek Willman, and drummer Dave Atchison, it has lit sparks going by the two tracks here to ignite even greater fires within.

Rejoice The End broods with menace and brewing intensity from its start, the guitars stirring up the air around the ear with deliberate aggressive intent whilst the rhythms of Atchison thump across the senses with a predatory energy. As the track spreads into every pore with its corruptive and challenging breath it bristles with a caustic and rasping energy whilst the vocals send the senses safety reeling into provocative thought and the fullest satisfaction. The song takes a mid way break or respite on the coarse assault to intrigue at first, its presence a preparation for the returning tempered storm of riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. The track is openly infectious and arguably more melodic and definitely if one dare use the word lighter than expected from the band but no less impressive and powerful.

Other track Rage Of Sanity unleashes its punk heart from the very first note, a riotous explosion of pissed off riffs, barracking vocals, and beats to take knees to the floor. Far more greedy than its partner though no less hungry, the song goes for the jugular throughout. Punk at its best it brews up a storm of sounds across the spectrum reminding of the likes of Discharge, Exploited, Minor Threat and Motorhead but all very much From The Ashes. With a surer intent than Rejoice The End to annihilate the safety net within and leave one grasping for support from its mere two and a half minute assault, the track is a violation of glorious punk rock, deceptively simple and skilfully crafted.

The return of From Ashes Rise may be over due but they have made the wait worth ever second with their Rejoice The End/Rage Of Sanity 7”. All that is left to say is bring on an album.

https://www.facebook.com/fromashesrise

RingMaster 06/07/2012

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Martyrdöd: Paranoia

Paranoia the new album from Swedish crust punk/D-beat band Martyrdöd is quite simply a blistering assault upon the senses. The eleven track blast across the ear is merciless and brutal, the crushing intensity it infiltrates with is at times overwhelming but ultimately very rewarding thanks to the skilful and imaginative underlying melodic impactful invention. The first release since recently signing to Southern Lord it is hard not to be confronted by and seized by the sounds the album for the fullest satisfaction. Though admittedly it is not the easiest of releases to engage with certainly initially, it is ultimately one of the more impressive extreme metal releases this year so far.

Since forming in 2001 Martyrdöd has been a persistent and challenging contributor to underground metal through their always impossible to ignore releases. With ex-members of the likes of Skitsystem, Agrimonia, and Miasmal, the band had a dedicated following which has grown through each of their outputs and live shows across Europe and the US. Paranoia was recorded at the infamous Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Opeth) and has emerged with the band arguably even more aggressive, intense, and full of discord and disassembled melodic invention.

From the opening Nog Är Nog the band is snarling and scraping flesh with decisive guitar play within angry riffs. The addictive scorched groove offers slight respite but the track takes no time in scouring the senses with abrasive melodic play and unsophisticated venomous vocals. As the whole album the lyrics are in Swedish but the malcontent and passion behind the lyrics is unmissable.

As tracks like Överkom Er Rädsla, and Klassfienden follow, the rabid intensity shows no sign of abating instead becoming even more forceful and spiteful. Each track though brings compulsive invention to line the insatiable energy and malevolence, their blackened and acidic melodic conjurations twisting and turning with fresh poison in each song. The second of these two lights up the ear with an initial attention grabbing rhythmic attack before plastering the senses with barbaric riffs, beats, and venomous guitars.

The album is firmly consistent if at times under a similar consumptive mass but with concentrated endeavour the full diversity of the songs are to be found. As mentioned it is not an easy listen but as here many releases needing focused intent and patience are the most satisfying.

Ett Hjärta Av Eld, title track Paranoia, and Köttberg, are easily the biggest highlights on the album. The first is a sprawling expanse of insistent energy and enveloping droned guitar menace. The track writhes and teases with a muscular breath and intrusive touch without fully violating every inch of the senses instead leaving them sizzling under its mesmeric distressed melodies. The other two of the trio are similar in their ability to manipulate and offer a hypnotic pull though Paranoia is a far nastier and caustic track whilst the latter of the three is a visceral aural destruction of the synapses.

      Paranoia is a fine album which demands and deserves more attention than maybe most will want to give but dive beneath the vicious surface skirmish of aggressive energy and Martyrdöd give you far more rewards and fulfilment than many other releases especially of the extreme nature.

RingMaster 01/06/2012

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Acephalix: Deathless Master

What to say about Deathless Master the debut album from US death metallers Acephalix. It is singular in attack, sound, and intent, it is relatively unadventurous and it is unremarkable in changing the genre or thoughts of its followers, most of all it strikingly impressive and deeply satisfying. The album does nothing but stoke up the fires and passions that lurk in every dark recess of the heart and mind. It is a release that barely strays from its core and a blistering album uniformal in sound, quality, and enjoyment.

Out of San Francisco, Acephalix formed in 2007 with originally a crust punk surface to their death metal sounds. Taking influences such as the likes of Celtic Frost, Cro-Mags, Discharge, and Bolt Thrower to add to their ideas the band has evolved into what is bursting out from Deathless Master, a spiteful venomous old school tainted death metal band. Last year saw an upturn in attention their way with the bringing together of their two cassette demos in one limited edition CD called Interminable Night through Southern Lord. The 2,000 strong pressing sold out swiftly and brought them to the fore of underground metal. Shows in support of the release did them no harm either whilst their part in the Power of the Riff 2011 tour with the likes of Undergang, Black Breath, Winter, Noothgrush, Eyehategod, and Pentagram only increased the acclaim.

Again through Southern Lord, Deathless Master seals the full transformation of the band and their sound though there are still tones of their initial punk driven energies veining the tracks within. As heralding chords open up the album and starter Bastard Self and guitars blister the ear the sense of something powerful and vicious approaching is immediate. The track does not leave it long to bring confirmation as tumultuous riffs flatten all defences and the rhythms leave the ear quaking in the aftershock. The track is not a full on assault though, it is more premeditated and picks at the nerves with razor blade melodies and a groove to strangle all life it touches, and with the festering corruptive filth claiming to be vocals outstanding the track lays waste.

It is a staggering start from arguably one of the weaker songs on the album, if the word can be used in any context regarding a release this powerful and aggressive. Things do take a further upturn though with the following duo of the title track and Tomb Of Our Fathers. Deathless Master surges upon the senses like a rabid scourge, incessant and merciless it is a ravenous assault of thumping drums and malicious riffs. With a death knell ambience to the cleaner spoken vocals behind the full pit borne gutturals creations that lead, the track is a crushing pleasure. Tomb Of Our Fathers picks up where its predecessor left off, its raging rampage hypnotic and the caustic groove that follows in their wake vehement in intent and mesmeric effect. With an added solo which sears deep furrows within the senses it is an unstoppable joy.

Already one is aware that diversity is not the order of the day though each track offers something a little different to be numbed and violated by. Because the base and intensity of what the band does offer is so immense and gratifying it really is not an issue. Tracks like the outstanding On Wings and Raw Life just leave one a gleeful spent husk from their irrepressible consumption. The first of the two is a song staggeringly effective in simplicity of vocals and attack, its smothering fetid aural stench a contagion that reeks of malice and foul intentions. The latter is a mesmeric piece of putrefaction, its decomposing breath a smog of sonic evil. From an initial prowl and taunting air the song slowly shifts its muscular might into the expected charge that fuels each track but always it offers the tease of a respite to snatch it away with pure devilment.

Blood Of Desire, In Arms Of Nothing, and the great closer In Hunger ensure the album retains its high level from start to finish. The uniformal heart of the album means every second of the album is an incessant and very satisfying annihilation devoid of lulls. Obviously you have to have that level set at a high to make it work and Acephalix definitely achieve that. Like ordering eight slabs of quality steak for consecutive meals you know what you will get, there are no surprises, but it is a guaranteed feast of flavoursome and undeniably tasty pleasure each and every time. Deathless Master is the same, enjoy!

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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