Dark Century – Murder Motel

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A release which can just as easily raise a wide grin as it can an urge to go violate something, Murder Motel is an exhaustive and exhilarating corruption from a band clad in imposing and compelling devilry. Dark Century comes with a potent buzz behind them and their new album easily reveals why as it ignites ears, imagination, and a greedy appetite for their fusion of death, thrash, grind with a viciously healthy course of hardcore. It is a release which has plenty in it to feed expectations but also comes with a just as rich soak of originality to thrust The Canadian quintet into a spotlight of its own.

Formed in 2001 by guitarist Martin Gendreau, Dark Century has built an impressive reputation and presence over the years around Montreal and beyond. It is a time sign-posted by their excellent and well-received debut album Days of the Mosh as well as a live presence which has seen them alongside the likes of Aborted, Misery Index, Quo Vadis, Rose Funeral, Exhumed, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Goatwhore, Origin, The Faceless, Battlecross, Fuck the Facts and many more as well as light up numerous festivals. With a new line-up Dark Century return with their monstrously towering new incitement, an album which puts the band on a new plateau. Produced by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy, Mythosis, Erimha, The Agonist, Derelict, Neuraxis) with Gendreau, Murder Motel is a storming onslaught from start to finish, a ravenous bestial proposition veined by incessantly riveting imagination and unpredictable twists.

     In Our Veins starts things off and is soon careering through the same network of the listener with riffs grazing every surface they can find and rhythms voraciously pummelling the senses. It is a ferocious start which aided by the raw thrust of the vocals and that rhythmic tsunami, only intensifies its assault the further into its destructive arms you sink. Drummer Steve Burns is exceptional from the off but also is the stringed ravishment from Gendreau whilst the slightly varied and excellent caustic tones of vocalist Leather King and the predatory bass incitement of Francis Lafrenière equally steal their share of attention and acclaim.

The fine start hits another gear with the following title track where again a mere breath is taken before a disorientating rhythmic assault and bass grilling consumes the senses. Little time passes neither before a swagger and violent swing to the track wraps its irresistible temptation around a by now rampant appetite, the track lurching over and provoking the emotions with mischievous designs and violent intent. Here as with a few songs there is something familiar to the proposal offered but it only eases the accessibility of the track for the eagerly offered passions. The solo from Erik Fernet-Evans is a plume of intrigue and drama to colour further the potent canvas of the song as it drifts away at its end for Torticolis to seize its portion of attention. Rabid and intensively imposing, the track grips with carnal intent and flesh savaging sounds, its breath toxic and riffery a torrential assault driven harder by the severity of the Burns’ rhythmic spite.

Knees might already be buckling at this point and senses cowering in fear but hunger for more is insatiable and fed healthily by the brief but intensive predation of Ice Breaker and the fearsome rage of new single Kill The Crowd. The latter’s touch is as violent and scarring as anything heard before on the album but is aligned to a masterful persuasion of heavy metal coaxing and hardcore ravaging. Add the irresistible swinish grind twists and vocals plus the teasing cowbell, as well as the horde chants and you have another irrepressible capture of thoughts and emotions, but one exceeded even more by the brilliant Dead Birds. It is one of those addictions impossible to shrug off with the track from its anthemic rhythmic entrance stamping its authority over ears and excitement, crowding and preying on the senses with primal riffs and vocal voracity. It is just one of the structures ready to subjugate the passions, a heavy intensity laden consumption taking its sizeable portion of the adventure under its control just as firmly as the underlying but easily detectable excitable grooves have their appealing say.

   The four second Trio du Bûcheron comes next and there really is little to say about it. Neither working as an intro nor making any impact being so short, it is just there before both Cholestérol and Chloroforme cast their severity over ears. The first is another merciless gorging of the senses with piggish vocals, hellish rhythms, and a sonic weave of skilled enterprise igniting the otherwise pleasing if underwhelming song, in comparison to previous maelstroms. Its successor is similar in its presence, formidable and undeniably impressively crafted but failing to spark the same rapture. Nevertheless both keep band and album in solid control before the closing pair of firstly Mosh Test Dummies and the closing Gore On My Snare ensnare ears to inflame responses all over again. The first of the final two initially stalks and stares venomously at its recipient, its approach reserved but only for a deceptive moment as the song soon uncages its sinews and rigorous ingenuity to smother and savage all before its predatory strides. Its companion is pure blistering barbarity, everything from riffs to rhythms and vocals to creativity a masterclass of bloodlusting malevolence. It is demanding physically and emotionally making a scintillating conclusion to a tremendous provocation.

The album comes with recommendations that fans of bands such as Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Hatebreed, and Annihilator will get a hot flush from Murder Motel, but we suggest anyone with a lust for inventive and revelling extreme metal will find Dark Century a new best friend.

The self–released Murder Motel is available now @ http://darkcentury.bandcamp.com/album/murder-motel

www.DarkCentury.ca

9/10

RingMaster 19/04/2014

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Gutslit – Skewered in the Sewer

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Like having your brain cells exposed to a carnally fuelled attack from a horde of carnivorous boars, Skewered in the Sewer impressively gnaws and tears the synapses with a forcibly impressive pestilence of brutal death grind. Unleashed by an intensive scourge going under the name of Gutslit, the debut album from the Mumbai, India quartet is a scintillating primal fury sculpted with technical excellence and passionate violence, not forgetting  packs of riffs and hooks which just infect the passions. Though the release is not offering anything strikingly new it is fair to say, with a mouthwatering craft and riveting enterprise to its triumph it easily stands out from the crowd and rigorously ignites the imagination.

Formed in 2007 and for the album consisting of original founder member and bassist Gurdip Singh Narang, vocalist Aditya Barve, drummer Aaron Pinto, and guitarist Dynell Bangera who has since left to be replaced by Prateek Rajagopal, Gutslit is poised to ignite an international appetite for their lethal sounds. Since forming certainly they have made a rich impression at home in what one assumes is a limited audience and just as potently further afield, the split release Contorted Mutilation with Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2009 alerting attention beyond their borders though without lighting any major fires. Skewered in the Sewer with luck and support should be the trigger to greater things and with its careering spite and insidious charm the album deserves all the attention it gets.

As mentioned the nine track release is not bursting with originality and at times easily sparks thoughts of bands such as Dying coverFetus, Disgorge, Goratory, and Devourment but it is never an issue as the refreshing and annihilatory voraciousness of the songwriting and savagery  unleashes its unrelenting skill and creativeness upon the senses. It is a gripping and thoroughly thrilling violation which mercilessly ravages the listener as soon as the opening intro, Prelude To Putrification sets the scene, the short piece a spoken demonic narrative over an atmospheric evocation. Pustulated Phallic Enthrallment emerges from a cyber-clad violation to seize the ears with a torrent of intensive riffing aligned to an exhaustive tempest of rhythms and bestial growls, the guttural spewing of Barve instantly magnetic with enough variation to lift the narrative without reducing any of his intimidation and primitive malevolence. Sonic invention and acidic grooves make varying degrees of intervention in the maelstrom, each additive igniting the track and passions which are opening their arms towards the exceptional track.

Offal Barter takes the throat in its vicious grip next, again riffs and rhythms a predatory summons for the imagination earning an easy submission before their carnivorous intent and rapaciousness. The production on the album is a big factor in the album’s success as much as the sounds, its willingness to give full clarity and space for the individual elements of the band and songs whilst accentuating the united tsunami of sonic pestilence and creative venom outstanding and on this fury of a track it allows hooks and melodic toxicity to charm and infect the imagination as potently as the violence which pillages the senses.

Both Circumcised With A Chainsaw and Atrophic Cranial Disintegration take things to another level. The first is a maelstrom of breath-taking energy and adventure veined with a technical manipulation and persuasion which stalks the senses with the same instinctive rabidity as the torrential force around them whilst the second track through a discharge of addictive grooves and crippling rhythmic invention leaves senses and brain wasted but blissful in subservience to the demanding provocation.  It sculpts bait and lingering contagion which is virulently exhilarating even when it drops to a crouch and slowly devours as it prowls around its victim. It is the best track on the album though constantly challenged by those before it with each play and the likes of the treacherously seductive Haemorrhoidal Brain Custard which follows with its consuming cascade of jagged riffery and a similarly ragged rhythmic excellence.

Pulp Face has body and emotions staggering under its intensive sonic malefaction, every instrument and member of the band bringing a transgression against sanity and emotional safety through a glorious sonic cyclone crafted in the finest detail to scavenge senses and synapses for the last vestige of refusal and defiance before the album’s noxious depths.  Its successor Maze Of Entrails is as equally an overwhelming scourge of invention and sound, the guitar design and mix of swinish and pit borne vocals leading the track’s grievous predation.  Though neither song can quite climb the heights of earlier tracks both leave a hunger and addiction for more of the sanguinary onslaught.

The album is completed by its sadistic title track, another wind of ferocity which scars and erodes the senses like an aural sandstorm haunted by a demon cast bedlam. It is the perfect ending to a hostile and inhumane assault which enthrals and inflames the passions. Skewered In The Sewer is a more than accomplished sonic malignancy which instantly thrusts Gutslit towards the fore of extreme metal. With a confirmed extensive European tour and slot on Obscene Extreme fest in 2014, this is a band all with an appetite for sadistic pleasures should pay attention to right now.

http://gutslit.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gutslit

9/10

RingMaster 17/12/2013

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Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light

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Unleashing a debut album which intrudes upon and explores the psyche, UK progressive death metallers Rivers of Nihil is a band with a ruinous sound built with superbly accomplished textures. The Conscious Seed of Light is a captivating confrontation which as it devours and stretches the senses you can only have the feeling that its creators are at the start of a certain ascent to major recognition. The release is a demanding and intrusion affair, one which needs numerous encounters to truly reap all of its rewards, but a release which constantly stimulates and ignites imagination and passions.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist Jake Dieffenbach, guitarist Jon Kunz, and drummer Ron Nelson, the band from Reading, Pennsylvania, was soon gripping attention locally with their dark heavy explorations. Extended to a quintet soon after their first live shows by the addition of guitarist Brody Uttley and bassist/vocalist Adam Biggs, Rivers Of Nihil subsequently released a pair of well received EPs, Hierarchy and Temporality Unbound in 2010 and 2011 respectively, whilst extending their live performances through shows and tours throughout the East Coast and Midwest as well as appearances at events such as Midwest Fuckfest with Dying Fetus, Misery Index and Arsis, and Akron Deathfest with Complete Failure. As their stock rose the band continued to reap praise for their live performances which saw them going on to share stages with the likes of Suffocation, The Faceless, Despised Icon, Revocation, Beneath the Massacre, Dysrhythmia, Decapitated, Six Feet Under and more. September 2012 saw the band sign to Metal Blade Records before entering the studio earlier this year with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel) at Mana Recording Studios (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Exhumed) to record The Conscious Seed of Light. The result is an intense and dramatically agreeable death metal violation, a confrontation which is as abrasive as it is magnetic and as destructive as it is violently seductive. With essences of the likes of Morbid Angel, Gojira, and Decapitated to its uncompromising depths and presence the album is a release which cries out for attention, and you suspect will eagerly receive it.

      The Conscious Seed of Light is planned as the first of four related albums, each reflecting a season with Spring the theme of the band’s Coverdebut which explores “various themes concerning new beginnings, growth, and an attachment to the natural world in a post-human Earth.” It opens with Terrestria I: Thaw, the track a short instrumental which sets out the soundscape for the release to expand upon. The melodic breath and progressive endeavour of the piece is an instant if not quite dramatic draw which builds up its pressure and intensity to flow into the torrential assault of Rain Eater, its rhythms and vocals a squalling tempest of malevolence and creative causticity. Dieffenbach has a nastily grazing delivery which easily pleases and makes a great rub upon the sonically melodic enterprise which spawns from the guitars. As emerges across all songs, there is plenty going on within the vicious maelstrom, a wealth of invention which needs time to reveal its full suasion but provides potent and exhilarating rapacious flights each and every time.

The impressive start flows into the equally compelling Birth of the Omnisavior and Soil & Seed, both unbridled individual creative predations which leads senses and thoughts on a savage stalking of emotions and a dark damning aural storm. The second of the two is especially a bestial inventive ravaging which hints of directions across its sinewed flank but persistently just as you think you are on course with its intent twists down new avenues, its craft and mastery making for one of the major highlights of the release.

Across an album which holds its imaginative heights at lofty levels throughout, further immense pinnacles come with the dangerously addictive riff chugging Mechanical Trees and the intensive sonically scalding Human Adaptation with its Meshuggah like air splintering malefaction, whilst closing track Airless is a lasting voracious transgression which invites the listener to take the sonic tsunami of The Conscious Seed of Light all over again.

Not exactly an easy listen at times and a release with moments where distinction between tracks is lost without a really deliberate focus on the encounters the album is nevertheless an exciting provocation from a band you just feel has explosive horizons ahead of them. Rivers of Nihil is a name we will be hearing draped in acclaim starting with The Conscious Seed of Light.

https://www.facebook.com/riversofnihil

8/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

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Besieged – Victims Beyond All Help

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Originally a self-release limited to 300 copies in 2010, Victims Beyond All Help the debut album from Canadian thrashers Besieged is getting its worldwide unleashing via Unspeakable Axe Records, the new sub-label of Dark Descent Records. After allowing the seven track tsunami of rapacious riffs and flavoursome aggression to rampage relentlessly over the senses it has to be said about time too. The album is a terrific release, a hungry ravaging of the ear which leaves you exhausted but fully immersed in satisfaction. With a more than open tint of death metal to its rapacious creative appetite, the album is prime thrash metal with plenty of further added  spicery and though it maybe does not leave as many lingering memories as you would wish, it is a towering fury of merciless and richly rewarding provocation.

Hailing from Winnipeg, Besieged first released the Visions of Pain demo in 2004 to good responses with the first appearance of Victims Beyond All Help equally commanding. Across the years the thrashers built a strong and fevered fan base in their home town and beyond, especially sourcing eager passions with their stage performances which has seen them share stages with the likes of Death Angel, Dayglo Abortions, Razor, Dying Fetus, Toxic Holocaust, Inepsy, Anonymus, Hellacaust and many more. Wrapped in its original old school artwork painted by the legendary Ed Repk, the re-issued album is set to deservedly take the band to ears far beyond their continent and even saying so amidst the suggestions elsewhere that the band is no longer with us, hopefully it will be a trigger to more and greater things from the band.

From its first breath opener Internal Suffering flies for the throat, drums crippling and caging any thoughts of evasive manoeuvres whilst riffs flail the ear in a torrent of finely crafted sonic lashings. As the vocals offer their own intensive provocation the track is a bruising insatiable predator which without veering from its prime directive employs enough psychotic grooves and sonically honed temptation to secure the strongest attention. This is not the breaking down of barriers or moving into new realms for thrash or metal but simply the enslaving of greedy expectations with refreshing and undiluted passion bred aggression.

Both the following Death and Buried Alive continue in the same ferocious vein, though each with a little concentration has their individual intent and volatile characters. The first is a raw tempest of caustic energy and provocation, a track which is unrefined vocally and melodically charged at its guitar crafted heart and a blistering adrenaline fuelled corrosive scrubbing of the senses. Its successor takes a less demanding stance…well for the first mass of seconds before again flipping into an intensive stomp though arguably for the first time on the album there is a more deliberate inventive twist and switching of intriguing aspects, as well as a punk breath to its drama clad hooks mid-way.

The formidable start is just as impressively continued by The End, even if it is initially not quite as striking or unpredictable as other songs though it does evolve into something stronger with numerous confrontations. It continues the pressurising of the senses with ease and marks the beginning of the strongest part of the album. The title track as you would expect is no slouch in predacious riffing and excellent rhythmic irritation but to this it infuses an adventurous and skilfully developed melodic and imaginative enterprise. There is a familiarity to the alluring grooves and melody soaked additives but nothing you can define or label, and it all adds to the adventure of the enthralling song.

From the infectiously virulent Trapped Inside with its addictive grooves and hardcore vocal expulsions along its raucous course, the album offers up its pinnacle with the closing Black. At its core the track savages with prime thrash venom and animosity but around this mighty assault the band seduces with a persistently shifting maelstrom of epidemically inducing riff devilry, melodic flames which soar over the constantly at work intensity, and a sonic nagging with its just irresistible. The best song by far on Victims Beyond All Help amongst nothing but very good tracks, it is a potent antagonist to want and hope to hear more from this incredibly promising band. Whether we will time will tell but if it is to be their solo moment of glory it will leave a deep mark with their name on it.

https://www.facebook.com/Besiegedthrash

8.5/10

RingMaster 08/07/2013

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Six Feet Under: Unborn

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    Approaching Unborn the new and tenth album from Tampa death metallers Six Feet Under there was a mix of expectations after hearing the songs making up the release were written around the same time as those on their more than decent previous album Undead of last year. Would they be tracks which were deemed not good enough or suitable for their previous album or could they stand alone with equal or superior results? It does not take too long to realise they certainly have the strength and quality to match those on the last album though equally they do not leap beyond it in standards or engagement either. It is basically a sister release to Undead, a sideways step or second part depending how you look at it which leaves one more than satisfied but devoid of any fired up passion towards it.

With a new line-up of guitarists Ola Englund and Steve Swanson, bassist Jeff Hughell, drummer Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Chimaira), and the distinctive corrosive tones of band founder Chris Barnes (ex-Cannibal Corpse), Six Feet Under return to the scene of ‘the crime’ satisfyingly created with Undead to give arguably a more vicious and visceral musical breath to the again Metal Blade Records released Unborn. The songs making up the album again are borne from when Barnes wrote with a group of guitarists/songwriters in Ben Savage (Whitechapel), Rob Arnold (ex-Chimaira) and Jari Laine (Torture Killer), a union which has brought rich rewards across both albums.

The album makes an initially gentle approach with inviting guitar caresses to open up Neuro Osmosis but is soon opening up itsSix Feet Under - Unborn muscles and intent with dramatic grooves and caging rhythms whilst Barnes exploits every syllable of his delivery with a corruptive and intimidating abrasive primal growl. The song whips and scores the ear with accomplished and inventive sonic intimidation crafted into barbed lures which equally seduce and threaten. It is a pleasing start which captures the imagination ready for the following encounters starting with the prowling Prophecy. The track swaggers with spite and devious intent knowing its weaponry of sinewy riffs and hungry rhythms is a seduction hard to resist. The song does make the keenest persuasion and ticks all the boxes a musical appetite has but its failure to find anything unique to really excite slightly defuses its promising strengths a little.

It is a good start though and leaves one more than happy to delve deeper into the release with an immediate reward from the outstanding Zombie Blood Curse. The track stomps with confidence and magnetic unrelenting purpose, the guitars chugging with a greedy hunger and bass adding extra raptorial malevolence to the rampant endeavour. Mid-way the track slips into a sonic enticement which initially feels wrong but soon leaves an appealing flavour before the song returns to its carnally conceived romp. It is by far the best track on the album and a rival to the greatest moments on the previous album too.

The likes of Decapitate, the carnivorous Fragment with Barnes at his most venomous, and The Sinister Craving with crippling drum skills from Talley carving up the senses, all make their mark though without lighting any rages or fires inside. Despite that the album continues to satisfy and pull the listener into its firm grip squeezing with extra thrills through Alive to Kill You and Psychosis. The first of the two chews and exhausts the senses with a riotous and eager bloodlust honed by the vocals and sharp guitar scything across the ear whilst the second moulds and perverts emotions with fiery sonic teasing and imaginatively destructive guitar confrontation.

Unborn is certainly a strong and pleasing release which alongside the last album sees Six Feet Under finding a much more widely palatable and impressive presence with vital grooves and moments of inciting invention to those not already persuaded by the band. Whether it will convince all that the band is their new passion is unlikely but neither will the album leave any depth of displeasure in its wake.

https://www.facebook.com/sixfeetunder

7/10

RingMaster 19/03/2013

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Dying Fetus: Reign Supreme

As technically intrusive and eagerly brutal as ever, death metal legends Dying Fetus return with their seventh album Reign Supreme to prove they are no spent force and still able to stand  in the frontline of the genre with ease. The album finds the band as uncompromising and vicious as ever with their technical side of their heart as concise and manipulative as the aggressive half is violent and destructive. It makes for an album which leaves only debris in its wake and enthused submission before its power.

Released June 19th via Relapse Records, Reign Supreme actually raises questions whilst quite simply bringing the fullest satisfaction. The album is pure Dying Fetus the band offering what they excel at without venturing down particularly new roads, just adding a detour or two along the assault of the album. This makes it relatively unsurprising but still a feast of what they do best and what people have devotion for, thus a great bruising time and plenty of impressive sounds to be consumed by. Saying that though from the initial introduction to the album igniting gasps of instant pleasure the flowing few plays caused that reaction to evolve into a lull of fervour as certain aspects emerged. The arguable lack of anything we had not heard before and an overplay and repetition of certain things which wore a little thin, openly stuck out but as continued attention was given the tracks then shifted again and striking slithers of creativity and imagination leapt out to re-ignite that keen emotion again. Basically Reign Supreme managed to do that rare thing of bringing an indecisive overall view towards itself. For sure the album is excellent, few do this style of death metal better but should we expect more from the band? Then again they have brought more it just does not leap out which again makes one wonder if it was not enough. Countering that the album is a fully rewarding pleasure to share time with, and that is the main thing surely.

This is a Dying Fetus at the top of their delivery and rampaging aggression though and that always leads to a welcome merciless collision of great sounds for the senses. With a surging sonic fingering as its intro, opener Invert The Idols rampages with a malevolent storm of dehabilitating rhythms and predatory spiteful riffs. Stalking its prey with a threatening breath and menacing gait the track brews up a storm of bestial energy, its wanton sonic flares igniting the oppressive lumbering intensity pervading every pore. It is an outstanding opening to Reign Supreme and a track which invites and receives a constant companionship.

Next Subjected To A Beating enters to chew on the carcass left by the opening abuse of the senses. It is a persistent and again unrelenting surge of corruptive grooves flanked by merciless rhythms and bludgeoning riffs. The dual vocal attack is at its best with black bile dripping off every word and aural expression. Nearing its climax the track punctures the ear with a combination of a great devouring doom bass riff and sonic guitar conjurations which scale the synapses as forcibly as they do their notes. The blend works great but the mounting climb of ear scorching sonic bursts already begins to outweigh their quality with their frequent presence and this is only track two. The song though is a striking slab of muscle which again is easy to revisit.

As the album progresses the likes of the outstanding Second Skin with its insatiable thunderous persistence, the senses stripping From Womb To Waste, and the spiteful In The Trenches leave one impatient for more. The last of the three is a barrage of artillery precision and ferocious drum attacks supported by combative riffs and deep grooves to wake up the dead their lure so contagious. Lyrically the socio-political drive of the band has never been more confrontational and intense, and as we have come to expect their intent as invasive and striking as the sounds they lash out from. Every song punches low and hard, each an undeniable statement of directness and power.

The most grievous track on the album comes in the primitive Devout Atrocity, the lush pit borne bass spine a glorious expulsion of venom alongside riffs which flay the ear as harshly as the underlying groove scours the wounds. Ending on the rugged assault of The Blood Of Power, a track which closes the album with one final unbridled pummelling, Reign Supreme is an outstanding album and one of the biggest pleasures this year so far. The only question is could we have expected more from Dying Fetus upon it or are we just being extremely greedy?

RingMaster 17/06/2012

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Six Feet Under: Undead

To be honest the enthusiasm going into the new album from death metal giants Six Feet Under was not at an all time high. This is a band that has not really lit any personal fires or imagination since their emergence leading into the mid nineties most predominantly from the dislike of the style of vocalist and founder Chris Barnes, something the attention to his previous band Cannibal Corpse also suffered when he was fronting them. It is purely personal taste and without any reason, just an aversion to his vocals as simple as that. This has led to only fleeting acquaintances with their previous eight albums until now. It has to be said Undead again did not cause any mass jubilation or a breakout of unbridled passion with the initial contact relatively underwhelming. But it is a sneaky little beast and given the deserved time and multiple chances to state its case the album proves to be a bit of a slow and persistent burner. It still does not have flags flying but it is a feisty little piece of pleasure that proves its worth even with Barnes as distinct as ever.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Undead is the first release with new guitarist Rob Arnold (ex- Chimaira), who we are led to believe also contributed the bass parts too as new bassist Jeff Hughell joined after the recording. Alongside Arnold and Barnes the album also sees long time guitarist Steve Swanson and drummer Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index, and Chimaira), also new to the band. The album has been quoted by Barnes as “…a rejuvenation, it’s a rebirth of Six Feet Under, and fans will definitely latch on to my excitement and how focused I am in the lyrics I’ve written.” Whether it is down to the energy and creative input of the new members or not there is certainly a freshness and intensity to the release that had vacated some of the previous albums. Arguably originality is still not in full force but allowed the attention and time to express itself the album is certainly rewarding and at times rather impressive.

The opening bomb that is Frozen at the Moment of Death from a first feeling of this is good but… evolves into something additive and openly hypnotic. With a groove that churns up the senses into a tight knot and riffs beating it around the ear the track grows more essential and striking the more it meets the ear. As assumed the vocals stoke up the expected personal preference immediately though once realisation that he sounds just like the Judoon out of Dr Who emerged there was an extra sense of fun attached. As said Barnes is a strong if unvaried vocalist with many others far worse around and it is merely personal taste involved but saying that as the album progresses even a warmth to him emerges or is it submission.

The following Formaldehyde is a blistering assault upon the ears whilst 18 Days with its striking waspish persistent groove sends sparks through the senses. By this point Talley has left nothing but an immense impression upon the music and thoughts, he is a literal machine but with organic instinctive passion and invention. The guitars of Swanson and Arnold too impress as they bustle and cut through the ear with fine play and intensive sounds to ensure each track is intriguing and gratifying, whilst Barnes is Barnes, you always know what you get with his brutish guttural delivery.

Whether the band have worn down the defences or there is a sudden vein of something new the best two tracks on the album by far step up to challenge and inspire next. Firstly the Molest Dead collapses on the ear like a juggernaut of death and destruction, its sprawling fetid breath soaking every note with an atmosphere of dread and violation. This is immediately backed up by Blood On My Hands, a song from an initial predatory crawl which envelopes its host in a soak of spiteful malevolence completes the malefaction with a scorched melodic entrancement and groove which blisters every surface it consumes.

It has to be said by this point and entering into the last third of the album one is hooked especially when the obvious but irrepressible and irresistible Reckless rumbles across the ear. With the most wanton of grooves and an insatiable infection the track rummages through thoughts and darkened corners with eagerness.

     Undead is far from a classic but it is an album that in hindsight ignited a few more flares of passion than at first thought and the more times shared the hotter they become. Six Feet Under did arguably find a rejuvenating essence for the album and it turned out quite striking if not stunning.

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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Deadborn: Mayhem Maniac Machine

From the very first drum hit Mayhem Maniac Machine from German tech-death metalers Deadborn lights up the senses with formidable yet undemanding, insatiable and high quality destructive sounds. Consisting of nine muscular deliberately combative tracks the album is a deeply satisfying varied and abusive tower of steel.  Unrelenting with brutality and direct sonic manipulations Mayhem Maniac Machine hits every one of the senses with an unerring bullseye.

Formed in 2002, Deadborn released their first four-track EP Decades Of Decapitation two years later to be followed by their debut album Stigma Eternal in 2007. Both releases as well as tours with the likes of Graveworm, Disbelief, Hate Eternal, Cephalic Carnage, and Dying Fetus, and their own shows brought them an enthused attention and respected name within German metal and further afield. Now consisting of vocalist Mario Petrovic (ex-Necrophagist), lead guitarist Kevin Olasz (ex-Jack Slater), Jo Morath on rhythm guitar, and drummer Slavek Foltyn (ex-Necrophagist), Deadborn look set with their new album released via Apostasy Records on April 20th to take an even bigger stake in the attention of the world.

Mayhem Maniac Machine is an unrelenting technical metallic dance across the senses, each and every track ripping away their safety to replace it with tense intrigue and intimidating intrusive grooves. There is no respite from the driving aggressive rhythms, crushing defiant riffs, and scorched blistering melodies that frequent each and every metallic soundscape on offer. The album to be honest does not open up new chambers of sound and directions but simply is a gloriously stimulating and exhilarating rampage to full within and be inspired by.

Though classed as death metal the album opens up many more doors of metal to add a extra flavour to their striding sounds. From the opening march of Premises Of Cryonics one feels ranks of varied metallic spices coming together to lead a mighty and unassailable sound. The track forges a deep bond between complete captivation and senses obliterating extreme metal to create a song as catchy and irresistible as it is disarming and venomous. As the rhythms of Foltyn hungrily and continuously machine gun the ear the guitars lead the rest of the body and thought through showers of flesh stripping riffs and burrowing razor sharp melodic intrusions.

The following Profanatic Reanimation takes a sideways step in sound to infiltrate the listener just as accurately and effectively as the opener. The groove and melodies fly with a raised temperature and acidic sound to ride the wave of heavy weight rhythms and intensity from bass, drums, and the excellent bestial growls of Petrovic. The vocalist offers an overall similar styled attack throughout the album but adds a coarse mesmeric edge that ensures it never grates or becomes dull and constrictive within the songs.

The album has a mass to it not only from the music and intensity but also within the production from Christoph Brandes. Together he and the band have given Mayhem Maniac Machine an intimidating thickness and imposing ominous atmosphere but still have brought and allowed clarity to the intricate exploitive grooves and the at times deranged rhythms. Songs like the combative declaration that is Slaves Of Megatron, the sonically piercing Reinvented Power Process, and Second Order Cybernetics a full fury of metal, all lay their bulk upon the ear whilst splintering into distinct and openly compulsive features.

The twin highlights on this impressive album, are Insane Motor Cortex and Replicants Device. The first is the best track on the release, an uncompromising stretching of the senses through cyber madness and tumultuous metal invention, every note like a destructive nanobot stripping the body of feeling and breath. The second of the two stands over the ear like a towering behemoth of hardened iron, its riffs dropping down like lead from on high whilst the melodies and insistent groove garrottes feelings and emotions. Both are majestic death/metal conjurations from a well of maniacal ingenuity and ferocious intentions.

    Mayhem Maniac Machine is a gem, an album that intrudes upon and makes use of every part of the body and in return rewards with sheer unadulterated metallic pleasure. It is hard, consuming and without mercy, and also as is Deadborn, the reason metal is so important to our souls

RingMaster 13/04/2012.

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