Verdict – The Meaning Of Isolation

VERDICT_Band

A virulent scourge you will want to be ravaged by, especially if your blood boils for thrash metal, The Meaning Of Isolation from German metallers Verdict is an uncompromising slab of riveting extreme destructiveness and mouth-watering savagery. The nine track torrent of aggression and enterprise takes no prisoners and has little time in gentle persuasion, instead it simply and voraciously pillages the senses whilst rewarding with an underbelly of exhaustive yet captivating invention. The release definitely needs time and work to explore but rewards long-term with some addiction sparking technical viciousness and passionate ferociousness.

Verdict began in 1991 with a technical and melodic death metal intent and rage to its sound. Numerous line-up changes followed during subsequent years from which the band’s sound evolved and developed a deeper wealth of thrash hunger to its attack. Debut album Reflections Of Pain of 2002 brought strong attention upon the band and their emerging sound whilst the following full-lengths, Generation : Genocide of 2005 and Assassin: Nation four years later, only empowered their presence which in  turn has led to eager anticipation for the Verdict’s fourth and new album from a great many. Live the band has not left any physical or emotional stone unturned within either as they shared stages over time with the likes of Destruction, Disbelief, Illdisposed, Dew-Scented, Legion Of The Damned, Entombed, Death Angel, Gorefest, Obituary, Nile and many more. Mastered by Dan Swanö, The Meaning of Isolation thrusts the band forward to the frontline of thrash and extreme metal with a masterful display of malevolence and enterprise. The release may be just misses out on threatening best of lists this year, mainly through an arguably too similar a surface storm across many of the tracks and the lack of diversity in the vocals of Daniel “Ratte” Baptista to match the unpredictability and surprise of the music, but nevertheless The Meaning Of Isolation is a thrilling and captivating devastation which leaves the listener exhausted and deeply contented.

Leader Of The Soulless opens up the absorbing punishment with a haunting entrance; a sinister ambience brewing up a VERDICT_Coverswiftly imposing sonic menace which around an inspiring classical stringed melody, intimidates to temper the simultaneously dark seduction. It is not too long though before an artillery of crippling beats from drummer Florian Bauer corrupts the air closely skirted by melodic flames from the guitars of Marius Pack and Dave Hadarik which scorch the air whilst riffs batter its peace with carnivorous urgency. From here the barbarous persuasion is in full flight, the vocals of Baptista as vindictive and merciless as the sinews driving the sounds. It is an intensive start to the album, one unafraid to delve into dark doomier places within its persistent predation.

Manifest Of Hate and Killing Fantasies both keep the malevolence spewing from every antagonistic note and vocal squall, the first charging over the senses with a violent rabidity whilst grooves and sonic invention entwine their venomous craft around the song’s core whilst the second from a delicious dark and brooding introduction with the bass of Dave Helmstetter a pulsating evocative lure, goes on a creative rampage which bleeds intensity and wastes the welcoming senses. It does not match up to the first two tracks overall but still makes a sturdy encounter leading into the similarly impressive if not jaw dropping Layer Of Lies, a track which has a very close related aggressive and melodic cover to its predecessor and needing deeper focus to reveal its individual bait.

Lack Of Insight marks a new upturn in originality and invention within the album, the guitar twisting with bedlamic adventure to cast the first web over the ears before fusing into a resourceful and magnetic weave of intrusive and spellbinding antagonism. The track is certainly no less hellacious than previous songs but unveils a greater exploration and imagination of textures and invention which prevails through the likes of the blistering First To Fight and the creatively pungent Through The Eyes Of A Dead Man, both tracks with grooves and progressive intrigue to light fires within the imagination. The first half of The Meaning Of Isolation is an intense and formidable offering but is definitely exceeded by the second half and it’s more potent daring.

The Meaning Of Isolation returns the senses and dull peace back to its recipient but only after the barbarous Nemesis Of God, the song an exceptional beast which stalks and gnaws the listener from the inside, and its title track which provides another prowling intimidation prone to inventive sonic lashing outs and ruinous brutality, takes their pound of flesh. They complete an excellent album which from an impressive opening stretch emerges as a sadistically pleasing treat. For all thrash fans especially with those holding darker preferences in their hearts, Verdict has given the year an inventive pestilence which leaves no one disappointed or in one piece.

www.verdict.de

www.facebook.com/verdictthrashmetal

8.5/10

RingMaster 12/12/2013

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Sawthis – Youniverse

SAWTHIS (3)

Tagged as modern thrashers and sounding like the exhilarating offspring of Static X meets Bloodsimple, Italian band Sawthis unleash one of the year’s highlights in the corrosive riveting storm of Youniverse. An unrelenting and breath-taking tempest of sonic intensity and exhausting predation, the eleven track release simply leaves the senses and passions raging for its predation.  Not arguably ground-breaking but thoroughly refreshing and explosively incendiary, this is one album that all thrash fans should add to their personal playlists.

Formed in 2000, the Teramo hailing quintet bred their sound on the inspirations of the likes of Soilwork, Machine Head, Slipknot, Metallica, Testament, and Pantera. Debut album Fusion emerged in 2003 receiving very positive responses from media and fans. This was followed by an extensive time of shows which saw the band alongside the likes of Destruction, Anathema, Sybreed, Impaled Nazarene, Extrema, Sadist, Necrodeath, and Assassin. Their live performances consistently added to the stature of and acclaim upon the band; further appearances with Lacuna Coil, Entombed, Shaman, and Konkhr to name a few only cementing their reputation. Second album Egod appeared in 2009 via Scarlet Records, again to strong reception and followed by more intensive gigs and tours, this time with bands such as The Haunted, Primal Fear, Bulldozer, Cattle Decapitation, God Dethroned, and Sepultura last year. Released through Bakerteam Records, Youniverse is the next step to world awareness and domination, its aim you suspect destined to success.

A conceptual album focused on the theme of multiple personality disorder, Youniverse immediately tests thoughts and synapses with SAWTHIS_YOUNIVERSE_COPERTINA HDThe Logical Color. Rhythms splinter bone from the opening second with deep drilling riffs a muscular companion. It is an attention gripping entrance which only explodes to greater heights as the two protagonists extend their rabidity to further heights and the vocals of Alessandro Falà scorch the air with his vocal squalling, every syllable intense and malevolently sculpted but forcibly engaging like the sounds around him. Ensuring escape is futile the song relaxes into a tantalising embrace, the guitars of Adriano Quaranta and Janos Murri gnawing the senses whilst offering new mystique to the blistering encounter whilst the vocals also offer a more respectful and mellow if still an intimidating and commanding lilt. The track is a scintillating introduction, varied and adventurous but deliciously predatory from start to finish.

The following fury of The Waking Up is equally rapacious and magnetic, the beats of Michele Melchiorre building an irrepressible trap whilst his vocals slip perfectly and potently alongside those of Falà, their at times dual attack an exceptional driving force for the riveting inventive sounds. The bass of Gaetano Ettorre also creates a sinew clad prowl which menaces and tempts like a stalking beast within the torrent of intensity and energy surrounding its intent. It is another towering song continuing the immense start and soon matched by both The Voice Falls On Me and The Disturbed. The first has an insidious breath and air certainly around the vocals but tempers it with a melodic fire reminding of In Flames whilst its successor which features Rob Cavestany from Death Angel, simultaneously sears and smoulders within the ear whilst weaving melodic and vocal temptation that leaves the passions alight and guitar enterprise which spawns burning tendrils of sonic enterprise to seduce without mercy.

Through all the tracks the album deepens its hook within the emotions breeding a hunger which dares Youniverse to fail their need. No such realisation is forthcoming as the likes of The Indelible, a track which swings seamlessly from carnivorous intensity to seductive melodic flaming, The Impure Soul with its creeping twisting sonic vines of excellence within a ferocious yet carefully trained consumption, and The Spotlight only increase the dramatic strength and torrential imaginative lure of the release. The last of the three finds an extra growl and rawer presence to its caustic provocation, though melodic and harmonic exploration is only a deep breath away and soon merging into the turmoil with enchanting toxicity.

Before departing the album ensures the listener is left a wasted blissful wreck through the corrosively contagious tempest that is The Mad and the hellacious beauty of The Switch, both tracks stretching the passions and boundaries of the album further. Earlier we said that there was debatably nothing unique about Youniverse which was true except that as tracks like this and the closer, The Walking exploit the rapture seeded, it is hard to remember many others stalking the same routes as Sawthis. The final song is no slouch in whipping up the senses and satisfaction either, its rampaging stomp another blaze of sonic venom and melodic adventure wrapped in creative savagery.

Produced by Paolo Ojetti (Infernal Poetry) with the band, Youniverse is a massive war of pleasure and enthrallment, a release which takes Sawthis to the upper echelons of new metal, and without doubt another album to add to the growing pool of serious contenders for album of the year.

www.sawthis.it

9.5/10

RingMaster 30/09/2013

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September Murder: He Who Invokes Decadence

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Though new album He Who Invokes Decadence is the third release from German metallers September Murder, a band which was founded in 2005, it is fair to say for most outside of their homeland underground scene the band is one which is still an unknown proposition. That might soon change though as their excellent eight track release is like a storm, a sonic encounter which is violent and extreme in its presence and touch but veined and stretched by hues of melodic imagination and colour filled invention which sparks the richest captivation. It is an album which still sparks thoughts that the Thale quartet is not the finished article, that things still have scope for evolution and improvement, but on the evidence of He Who Invokes Decadence the band is on the right incendiary path to being one potent and important force.

Formed by guitarist Emanuel Brauer and bassist Guntar Elsaßer, and with a line-up completed by vocalist Oliver Schacke and drummer Stefan Voigtländer, September Murder started making impressions in the local scene and nationally from their live debut in 2007, the year seeing the band play over thirty shows across Germany alone. It also witnessed their self-released EP After Every Setting Sun which aided the band coming to the attention to the media and numerous labels. The signing with Berlin-based Maintain Records, with whom first album Agony in Flesh was unleashed in the February of 2009, came next. In between releases a line-up change was enforced when Voigtländer left the band but September Murder was soon back to full strength though the recruitment of Clemens Frank (ex- Hidden in the Fog). Followed by acclaim for the release, the band played numerous headline, support, and festival performances including appearing with the likes of Entombed, Origin, Illdisposed, Merauder, Hail of Bullets, Disharmonic Orchestra and many more. All the time the members continued to explore and stretch their potent extreme metal sound, experimenting and employing numerous essences like progressive metal which is a vibrant spice to the new album. Work on He Who Invokes Decadence was given the obstacle of the departure of Elsaßer but once Marcus Kühne of Metzgore stepped into the breach, band and album were on full throttle. Self-released the eight track beast of a record is now rampaging across the ears and senses and if you are yet to welcome its brutal but charming delights hopefully we can add some persuasion as to why it is a release which deserves to be heard.

To give an idea of the sound which rages and tempts within the album imagine a loose mix of Cryptopsy and Between the Buried a3678947257_2and Me without than brewing expectations, as from the opening song, September Murder defy any assumptions and predicted thoughts of what is to come. Like the whole of the release, the first track demands full attention and a numerous encounters to reap all of its sonic depth, but the rewards for doing so come thick. The emotive beginning of Under Severed Skies is shaped by a lone guitar but soon expanded by the elevation of intensity brought by the drums and the temperature increase of riffs and chords. It is an intriguing opening narrative which takes a breath before exploding into an inferno of raging riffs, combative rhythms, and guttural grown vocal squalls. It is soon evident that the band does not take it easy on themselves or the listener and each element from the crippling drums and voracious bass to the scorching guitar sonics and fiery imagination come with twists and perpetually shifting presences. It makes for a breathless and continually enthralling onslaught which leaves you dazed and basking in creative ingenuity. Arguably the band does not take it far enough at times here and across the release with more simply approached aspects of songs standing out as pale against the tremendous maelstrom of invention around the, though it is a small discrepancy overall.

Both Two Culprits, One Oath and Among Vultures devour with carnally bred intensity and predacious hunger, the first a savage and merciless turmoil upon the senses and its successor a swooping raptor that grips and chews with sinew driven teeth and unrelenting rabidity. The two also lay a web of sonic adventure and unannounced technical flair and inventiveness which ensures, especially in the second of the pair, that every minute of their encounter is inspiring and magnetic. Though possibly over long, the last of the two leads atmospherically into the outstanding instrumental From Adoration, a glorious weave of melodic paint and sonic testimony which ignites thoughts and imagery with its enriched embrace. Whether an interlude or piece of the story it works and allows a breath to be welcomed before the marching aggressive yet emotionally exploratory …to Deterrence and the carnivorously propelled May Conviction Force Reckoning return the listener in to a torrential field of provocation and virulently violence enterprise.

Both tick all the right boxes before the second steps aside for another melody honed piece of classically pressed instrumental to act as the eye of the storm, a peace that is soon ripped asunder by the barbaric In Celebration of Mankind’s Wretchedness, an excellent vitriolic slice of avenging antagonism and flesh stinging beauty. It also blends in some of the most absorbing and invigorating ideas on the album, teasing and taking the listener down various deceptive musical impasses where the jaws of the band and intensity wait to toss and tear them apart. The best track on the album it is soon challenged by the immense shape of the title track, a song massive in length and depth, and one which ebbs and flows in imagination and sound like a multi-seasoned driven sea.

It is a powerful conclusion to a mighty album. Not quite as perfect as it could have been He Who Invokes Decadence is a masterful challenge which ignites the senses and emotions in every way possible. It is also a grower which just adds vintage and reward to each and every destructive and empowering play. September Murder is a band with the promise to make a big name for itself across world metal and their new album the next potent step.

http://www.septembermurder.de/

9/10

RingMaster 25/07/2013

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Imprecation – Satanae Tenebris Infinita

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Twenty plus years after forming, Texas death metallers Imprecation finally release their debut full-length album, a brutal and predatory leviathan of an album. Cited as one of the more influential inspirations of numerous death metal bands today, Imprecation released a couple of acclaimed demos and an EP in the early nineties which was followed by a compilation of material in 1995 titled Theurgia Goetia Summa on Repulse Records. After this period the band went on a hiatus until returning in 2009 to continue the blackened ravaging they first unleashed two decades ago. Now Satanae Tenebris Infinita comes forth as an imposing and impressive assault on the passions.

Founded by Ruben Elizondo and guitarist Phil Westmoreland, the band has been through many line-ups in both parts of their existence, with the latest of Elizondo (drums, keyboards), Dave Herrera (vocals), Danny Hiller (guitar), Milton Luna (guitar), and David Ramirez (bass) making an intense and powerful declaration on the new album. Released via Dark Descent Records, Satanae Tenebris Infinita has its heart and intent solidly in the origins of the genre and carries on in many ways where the first era of the band left off. It is a natural evolution from those first years, a natural continuation and a release which brings a wealth of satisfaction with its blend of rapacious crawling shadows and climatic thrusts of hungry energy and invention. There are little surprises on the album but then again Imprecation only expands upon and involves the crucial and potent essences of previous confrontations. Wrapped in the cover art of Chris Moyen, it is a release sure to find real appetite in fans of the purest origins of death metal.

Blood Dominion savages the ear from its opening seconds, riffs chewing with intent and drums barracking the ear with impre 2013unbridled urgency. It is merely the softening up though as the track shifts up a few gears and unleashes a tsunami of ravenous riffs spurned on by a malevolent groove and destructive rhythms. With keys seducing within the now slightly restrained confrontation a compelling variation marks the continual and pleasing diversity to the stance of the song, intrigue is lit and though it is fair to say things are not exactly ground breaking predictability has no whisper within the tempest.

The following From Beyond the Fiery Temples and Hosanna Ex Inferis back up the strong start with their individual satanic appeals, the first a lumbering rapacious bestial encounter which paces around and eyes up its victim before developing an appealing canter to its riveting temptation and the second through its doom laded atmospheric crawling over senses and thoughts. Thoughts of bands like Incantation and Entombed rear their heads as the tracks provoke and incite emotions and shadows with their distinct and oppressive breaths and ambiences which emphasises the fact the album is coaxing creativity from well-worn seeds whilst breeding strong pleasure and dawning passion for its accomplished body.

The contagious swagger of Angel of Salvation’s Doom makes for a major highlight on the release, the track a blaze of rhythmic and riff driven rabidity which secures the passions with its open infectiousness around a sonic squall which singes the senses and an evocative key sculpted melodic persuasion. Further lit by flames of impressive guitar colouring and rasping guttural vocals, aspects forging a solid attraction across the whole of the album, the track sets a new plateau for the release which is impressively equalled by the lumbering giant The Coils of Eden, a muscle bound slab of maliciousness prone to scintillating invention and climatic explosions of energy and spite and the exceptional Rancid Blood on Blackened Thorns. This song is a primal maelstrom of psychotic rhythmic incitement, ravenous vocals, and consuming riffs which wear away the top layer of the senses for the guitars to scorch their sonic enterprise upon. It is a breath-taking corrosion which exhausts and invigorates air and emotions.

As the closing orchestral breathing instrumental Carrion Winds of Golgotha makes a final wrapping atmospheric narrative, Satanae Tenebris Infinita stands as an impressive and captivating release, and though it does not send the passions into a fire of excitement it makes a more than satisfying companion whilst stating Imprecation as a returning potent force in death metal.

www.facebook.com/pages/Imprecation/194725213915960

8/10

RingMaster 25/06/2013

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Screaming Finalities: an interview with Jimmy Lundqvist of Entrails

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From a ‘false start’ in the early nineties Swedish death metallers Entrails was resurrected by founder and guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist fourteen years later and since then has made an impressive mark with its old school seeded sounds and releases such as second album The Tomb Awaits. New album Raging Death builds on the might of its predecessor whilst twisting the existing malevolence into new tortuous and compelling exploits. Seizing on the chance to find out more with Jimmy we asked about the history of Entrails, the album, and moving through early setbacks.

Hi Jimmy and welcome to the site, many thanks for taking time to talk with us.

You have just released your new album Raging Death, how are feelings in the Entrails camp right now and how have initial responses impacted on you?

Hi

We are doing just fine here… It all feels great and we are satisfied with everything so far.

Do you get nervous before releasing an album or is it all excitement?

A little bit of both I would say…

Though this time all excitement was gone a few weeks before the release when there was downloading links everywhere on the internet. That ruined all the fun with the release and every hour and minute we had to use in making this album. I know it’s the modern era now and every band have this problem but it’s a fucking shame that they don’t have any tools to stop this illegal shit.

Before we talk more intently about the album can be look at the history of the band for those new to you. Entrails formed in 1991, what was the spark and inspirations behind the birth of the band?

Well. The boom of the DM bands that came around in the early 90´s and the down tuned guitars and with those riffs and atmospheres… That was Christmas to me… I was completely sold in that style, and there was no doubt in what we were going to play.

This period of the band did not work out and was only around as a working project for around three years, what were the problems which brought the band to a close at that point?

Many things. Crappy recordings, lack of interests, money, contacts, living on the countryside, you name it… Everything was going against Entrails sort of. If we only had managed to make a proper demo I think things would be different… though the dudes in the band back then would have quit anyway as they didn’t have the passion for it as I had. And living so far away from the musicians there was no other options than put it into sleep

Did the frustrations at the time bring lessons and help shape not only the second coming of the band years later but your endeavours between the two periods of Entrails?

Hard to answer as I wasn’t thinking in that direction. But I was more grown up in the second coming and had more focus on the music and a goal to have my demos recorded as they should be.

In that ‘hiatus’ for the band what were you up to musically?

Well… I listened a lot to my influences and tried to follow the music that was made after I quit playing myself. But I didn’t like the new stuff and where the DM was heading so I stopped following that and become more and more stocked to the old stuff. Of course there were new bands coming and they got my support but still the modern shit was not my cup of tea!

2008 saw Entrails resurrected, what was the trigger to this?

Nostalgia and I wanted to record my old music properly. That was the main reasons.

Was it an easy decision to try again or was there some reticence at first about bringing the band back?entrails 2

Not really…It was pretty easy, but I didn’t think of having the band in full scale, only to release the songs as demos or whatever. But when label and organizers wanted us for shows I had to make it complete. And I haven’t regretted a single second about that.

Tell us about the years between steeping back into Entrails and the release of the excellent The Tomb Awaits of 2011, where we first came across you actually.

To make it short; I made those 2 demos in 2009 “Reborn” and “Human Decay” and signed to the label FDA Rekotz winter 2009/2010, then we made the first full length “Tales from the Morgue that spring and we had that one out in the summer 2010, then after that we recruited Adde for the permanent drummer and off we went on a small tour in Germany in November. Then we dealt with labels the whole winter but finally FDA got our signature once again and the work with “Tomb Awaits” could begin.

How have your sound and ideas changed for you since bringing back and reworking tracks for your demo Reborn and the songs seizing the senses on Raging Death?

The sound on the demos was mixed by me…and then I was a complete amateur in doing such so the sound became very thin and didn’t have that punch as I wanted. And after that and when the real albums was going to be made things had to be changed and I contacted Dan Swano at Unisound to do the mixings and from that day he is the guy who does what we want in the sound.

Are there any seeds from your earlier period of songwriting within the new album like previous releases?

Yeah. There are some parts here and there… for an example, ‘Bloodhammer’ is actually the first DM song I made back then. But now it’s a bit longer and have some more stuff added, and also a new title.

As the new album shows you still source your inspiration from the early nineties seeds of Swedish death metal, are you open to other influences though within your creative sparks for songs or intently stay within its influence preferring to expand its particular barriers rather than look into new areas?

Well. Yeah. I have influences from all kinds of stuff… but mostly from the era between 1983-1995. Bands as Helloween, Accept, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica and you name it. The list can be long… it wasn’t´ until 1990 and when I heard DM for the first time I was going on that path

How does the songwriting work within the band now with its stable line-up and creative members?

I make the music into a basic demo and when that´s done the rest add their ideas and changes and from that we rehearse the song into the finish mode. And if lyrics are missing they will be added.

Was the recording of Raging Death approached differently or an experience different to that of Tales From The Morgue and The Tomb Awaits?

Hmm…no… we almost did exactly the same in the recording progress…used a local studio for the drums and then my own studio for the rest and then Dan Swano did the mix/mastering so it was almost the same. Don’t change a winning concept someone told me!

406773_10151479179820238_566315600_nIs there an aspect or moment of Raging Death which gives you particular glow or tingle inside?

Yeah. There are some parts on each song that makes me in a better mood than others but´s only happens in my head. Like perfect changeovers or riffs that really bring your neck swing.

The album feels like it has a stronger snarl and impact in its production than previous releases. Would you agree and if so was it a determined intent or just naturally came about?

That’s cool if you think so… and mostly the album came out naturally so I didn’t have any spectacular or driven goals in it. Many things happens when I sit and record stuff… ideas pops up and I try ‘em out and if they sound good I use it…otherwise I don’t.

I always imagine that when recording songs in the studio ideas are spawned and ignited as a by-product by the process to be logged away for future use. Is this generally the case and if so any gems this time around which might be bred into your next confrontation?

There was more than 10 songs made from the beginning to this third opus but we chose 10 out of them so if we use the rest or if they will be used in another project only future can tell…

This is your first album with Metal Blade Records, has this move given the album and its creation any particular strength or is it really now after release you will find the biggest impact being with the great label?

We worked with the album as we have used to do on the previous ones and Metal Blade didn’t have any specific words in how it should be, only do a great album and do it the Swedish way they said…so I guess the impact will be shown more after the release.

What comes next for Entrails?

In writing at the moment we have done one festival in Germany called Extremefest and after that we will have some vacation and I will sit down and make some new songs and also work with another project along with some friends… yeah it sounds confusing as others would have been on tour promoting their music by now.  But we can’t work in planning tours as the others have so many side projects in the band so we have to await offers and then work from that, but we are having some talks to eventually bring us on a small tour. But´s not confirmed yet.

Again thank you for chatting with us, any last thoughts or words you would like to share?

Well… at: www.facebook.com/entrails666  you can have 100% check on us as it’s there we update and confirm everything. Check it out…

And lastly you were inspired by the likes of Entombed, Dismember, Grave etc. but any bands around now which give you food for thought?

Hmmm…I keep my veins working by listening to the old stuff from 83-95 mostly but if I want to have my veins ice cold I would be listen to technical DM or metalcore or whatever the style is that has no passion and atmosphere to get my veins to work.

Read the review of Raging Death @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/entrails-raging-death/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Entrails – Raging Death

entrails main pic for promo by Emelie M. Hellden

Having been more than impressed by previous album The Tomb Awaits, the release of the third album Raging Death by Swedish death metallers Entrails was met with heightened anticipation. It was a hungry appetite which the band and album easily sated with its expanse of old school enterprise. As since their first day, the sound of the band is soaked in the seeds of Swedish death metal with influences coming from the likes of old Entombed, Dismember, Grave and more towards its caustic annihilatory persuasion and the new album is no different. Also like the previous release the album is not offering anything ground breaking but twisting existing malevolence into new tortuous exploits.

Formed in 1991, Entrail’s start did not bring the band to any real attention, failed attempts at making demos and line-ups changes leading the band to closing down as a project in 1994 until 2008, when band founder and guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist resurrected the band after finding some old Entrails recordings in a tape collection. This led to the band’s debut demo Reborn, a ten track release using original material from their early days brought to life with modern recording technology and fronted by the vocals of Jocke Svensson. Strong reviews fell upon the release and the following Human Decay demo, which again saw Lundqvist providing all the sounds and Svensson the vocals. After signing with German label FDA Rekotz in 2010, the band expanded with guitarist Mathias Nilsson joining the pair as Svensson moved to bass alongside his now permanent vocal duties. The same year saw acclaimed debut album Tales From The Morgue released and the addition of drummer Adde Mitroulis to the line-up as well as the quartet making their live debut again to strong responses. The Tomb Awaits in 2011 brought another elevation in the band’s status   placing the band before worldwide attention.

Raging Death is the first album with Metal Blade Records who the band signed with last year, ten songs of insidious carnivorous Entrails - Raging Deathdeath metal steeped in its origins. The brewing initial breath of In Pieces is the first engagement with the ear, the sinister ambience and gentle breath of the piece a dawning challenge soon exploded into a rabid crawl of sludge intensity and rapacious riffs. Once into its eager stride the track chews on the senses with exhausting hunger and equally depleting energy whilst the rhythmic onslaught of the drums brings bone to dust. It is a compelling and thrilling confrontation with the excellent gut spewing tones of Svensson as impressive as remembered on earlier albums and the track itself a primal aggressor to devour willingly and greedily. There is just one moan and that is with the excellent searing guitar solo which is found within a hollow almost cavernous setting within the song. It is obviously intentional as no other aspect of the track follows suit into the restrictive arms place around it but it feels odd here and on other songs where it emerges, and depletes the strength of the musicianship.

The following Carved to the Bone builds upon and pushes  the strong start to the album, its incessant inciting riffs and sonic persuasion a less intense provocation compared to its predecessor but an equally impacting one, especially with its underlying groove, though again the guitar is unfortunately given that lone distant position in the mix when unleashing its fire.

Through both the brutal predator Bloodhammer and the malevolent Headless Dawn, Entrails continue to savage the senses with craft and enterprise especially in the second with a wonderful haunting melodic central taking of breath before the primal ferocity returns. They are an appetising and invigorating lead in to the strongest and most impressive part of the album where a pair of songs lays waste to the senses and passion with scintillating invention and aggression first hinted at by the closing climax of Headless Dawn.

     Cadaverous Stench immediately stomps over the grave of complacency and predictability, the track a swinging onslaught of contagious grooves and equally addictive riffs whilst both vocals and drums barrack the ear with spite and venomous belligerence. It is an irresistible sonic molestation of the senses with an equally compelling violation of the passions by uncomplicated death metal excellence supported by Descend to the Beyond, a song with a continually shifting gait and a heady mix of melodic and destructive extremes all brought with fire and passion.

The likes of Death League and Defleshed bring further thrilling ruinous and corrosive furies to bear whilst closing track The Cemetery Horrors is a final slab of reptilian filth coated irrepressible extreme metal to unleash further incendiary energy and passion with and to complete a fine and richly pleasing release. Raging Death is not going anywhere no one has ventured before whilst walking with sounds bred in the history of death metal but there is a temptation and hook to it which sets it as one of the more enjoyable and easy to return to genre releases over recent months.

https://www.facebook.com/Entrails666

8/10

RingMaster 14/05/2013

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Ulvedharr – Swords of Midgard

Ulvedharr

Constantly snarling at the ear, the debut album from Italian metallers Ulvedharr leaves a wealth of satisfaction in its wake as powerful and invigorated as the thrash/death metal fusion which inspires it. Charged with the blood of Vikings surging through its muscular insatiable veins, Swords of Midgard is an uncompromising and raw slab of brute force which ignites the rampage in all of us. Certainly the nine track release is not breaking into new battlefields of invention but it lays waste to those established with contagious confrontation ripe with captivating aggression.

Founded in February 2011, the Clusone band was initially intended as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Ark Nattlig Ulv, but as songs were written he pulled in other musicians to bring them to life, Ulvedharr ultimately being completed by lead guitarist Fredreyk, bassist Klod, and drummer Mike Bald in line-up. Their first EP Viking Tid followed as well as a European tour with Blood Red Throne and Cattle Decapitation the next year, with the quartet expanding their growing recognition at home and further afield. The signing up with Moonlight Records for their impressive and antagonistic debut album has given them a platform build from which they have seized hungrily.

The album’s intro sets the scene, its sinews flexing as crisp bone splintering rhythms, a carnivorous bass growl, and prowling riffs badger the ear until tender and prime for the taking by the following Lindisfarne. The track instantly segregates the senses from safety with intensive riffing, exhausting energy, and a barrage of drum forged abuse which is skilled and hungry. Into its rapacious stride the band opens its muscular intent wide for the corrosive tones of Ark to scowl and bend the will of the listener with a brutal but compelling vocal delivery; imagined Viking facial hair and vindictive malice enclosing every brutalised and captivating syllable. The impressive start instantly brings thought s of bands such as Entombed, Blood Red Throne, Obituary, and UK’s Saqqara, its rampaging perfectly crafted assault as irresistible as it is knee buckling.

The following Odin Father Never Die and War is in the Eyes of Berserker continue the immense start with equalling ferocity and appeal, the first thrusting riff sculpted grooves in to the heart of the already fully brewed urgent appetite for the release whilst savaging the ear with further addiction drawing rhythmic abuse from Bald. His framing alongside the bass and guitar manipulation of primal bred notes and chords combines for a test which is uncomplicated but wholly effective. The second of the pair slips a delicious almost stoner seeded groove into the initial invitation, the chugging riffs stalking its presence before thrusting it aside for another tremendous thrash forged impressive slaughter. The unbridled attack now at large is not without mercy though and midway into the song it steps aside for a glorious sonic fire of melodic seduction from Fredreyk to recruit the last ounce of submission from the passions. As mentioned already there is nothing new on the loose here or across the album but as it feeds the ear for the umpteenth time whilst writing this piece, it is hard to offer any similarly gaited release as one which is as rewarding or exciting as Swords of Midgard.

Onward To Valhalla stands as the next pinnacle upon the release, arguably its finest moment, the anthemic lure of the chorus and its mass demanding harmonies a thrilling crescendo to a constantly building intensity carved by the persistent riffs, gravel expelling vocals, and as is the norm a rhythmic attack which leaves bruising with every bitch slap and barbed percussive swipe.

There is for personal tastes a slight lull to the might and stance of the album across both Beowulf & Grendel (Part I) and Ymir Song, and though neither track lacks quality or skilled persuasion, they do not light the fires inside as dramatically as their predecessors. The first of the pair features a guest appearance from Lorenzo Marchesi (Folkestone) and is riddled with infectious grooves and melodic beckoning within the skeleton of steel forged rhythms and greedy riffing whilst the second brings a more melodic tenderness to its still eye to eye metal encounter and compelling drive, with the glorious vocals of Lisy Stefanoni (Evenoire) bringing a rich potency to the climax of the song alongside the folk metal march and the scarring scowls of Ark. As stated both tracks are strong and more than decent but sandwiched between what came before and their successor the excellent The Raven’s Flag, they lack a dramatic punch.

The Raven’s Flag gnaws on the bones of the listener, its anthem enriched breath and provocative confrontation joined by a blistering drum testing and a rabid fury of persistent riffing. The band equally seduce with the melodic and sonic fascination which veins the barbarous encounter whilst its closing run through to the finale of the album is wonderfully barbaric tenderising the listener for the sneering riff fest of Harald Harfagri, a track leaving a final uproar with its outstanding group vocals, with those of Ark singularly at their most diverse and impressive, and an unrelenting chewing of the senses.

Swords of Midgard may not bring new realms to conquer but is one familiar battle which could not be more enjoyable and rewarding.

https://www.facebook.com/Ulvedharr

9/10

RingMaster 11/05/2013

 

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XIII – Helltongue

XIII_HELLTONGUE_COVER

Since forming in the early 2000′s, Finnish metallers XIII have earned a potent reputation through their live appearances which has seen them sharing stages with the likes of Entombed and The Crown at festivals like Finland’s own Steelfest Festival. Their appearance in 2011 drew powerful responses and acclaim but until now the band has not had any physical releases to tempt the passions. They certainly have made up for it with the release of their debut album Helltongue, a release which suggests the Helsinki based quartet has been saving up and brewing their intensity and sculpted aggression for the event, as across the thirteen track album it is rife and carnivorous with tsunami intensity.

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Kristian Juuso and drummer Petteri Lammassaari, the band conjures up ferocity in their adrenaline driven sound which is breath-taking but it also comes with a wealth of grooves and melodically toned enterprise which ensures the release has more to offer than just unrelenting and unsurprising onslaughts upon the senses. Like a tempest of Pantera, Slayer, and Devildriver, to go for the obvious, the record and band do not complicate things by trying to create new dimensions or boundaries with their place in metal but simply they are intent on igniting the rawest most ear crushing pleasure possible, something which with Helltongue they have mastered triumphantly.

The album is a real treat of aggressive confrontation and incendiary passion rising joy, it may not be overtly original but easily right up there with the most enjoyable and inciting furies over past months. Once the intro has built up the atmosphere with deceptive lures as to what really is to come, its melodic tease more akin to a power or symphonic  metal encounter, Phantom Pain from a crisp cymbal wave accosts the ear with predatory riffs and equally violent rhythms, the bass especially bestial and deliciously intimidating. The vocals of Juuso growl and prowl the song with bear like qualities whilst the distant additional squalls add further caustic rub upon the already scarred flesh buckling under the intensity and weight of the guitars and drums. It is a carnally toned embrace which devours the senses before handing them over to a mutual corrosive conspirator in The Circle of Snakes. Again the guitars of Juuso and Jari Härkönen enslave the passions with unbridled and uncomplicated persistent provocation whilst Lammassaari and the bass of Simo Partanen crack and snarl with venomous urgency and force.  Like the first the song is short with a punch to ground a rhino, a feature of the album though some songs make a longer but no less intensive proposition, and within all onslaughts no atom, synapse, or thought is left unbreached.

    The Last Messiah brings more of the same though stands alone in individuality from the previous pair, it’s slightly slower ravaging seemingly more calculated in its destructive contagion whilst the bass leers from within the storm with noticeable enterprise and spiteful clarity. Another easy to be infected by with the catchy groove to sound and swing of the vocal delivery, it continues the immense if samey start in style. Next up Gemini steps forward to stretch things and break–up expectations, its longer groove cored presence veined by sizzling sonic enterprise and shifting textures. It is still an insatiable rage upon the body but the first to beguile and seduce with what now becomes a regular weapon, variation.

The stalking pace of Dark Utopia consumes the ear next it’s restrained but still eager charge sharing centre stage with scintillating melodic strikes and a cleaner twist to the vocals, the growl still in place but evolving throughout to offer absorbing diversity in that aspect too. The song is an intimidating charmer and at this point the brewing ardour for the release switches to a building rapture which after only a couple more encounters was raging as intensely as the album itself. The outstanding and glorious The Valley of Death with its sirenesque intro and heavy beckoning shadows is an irrepressible temptation whilst the likes of the bloodthirsty Iconoclast, the gently enthralling Post Scriptum with its startling and magnetic smouldering start complete with rich clean vocals before more bestial persuasion, and the creeping weight of Demon Avenue, all press creatively and heavily with virulent effect to spark greater hunger in return.

The final duo of tracks The Ghost and Deathgrip are just waiting carnage givers, both merciless savagery but both again offering more than just violent conflicts. On the surface both have a closely crafted presence but deviate into their own open stances for a lasting thrilling finale of argumentative intensity. Released via Inverse Records Helltongue is outstanding, hopefully XIII will not take another decade or so to bruise and rouse our passions.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/XIII/168959203244834

9/10

RingMaster 19/04/2013

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Ulcer: Grant us Death

Ulcer photo

    Grant us Death from Polish death metallers Ulcer is a release which does not really ignite any fires of passion for its admittedly accomplished and impressively crafted musical animosity but it is still a release you can happily and want to come back to time and time again. Enriched in the depths of old school Swedish death metal, the album is a nasty violent cacophony of exhausting and malicious intensity engineered through raptorial riffs and blood thirsty rhythms for a more than pleasing confrontation.

Formed in 2006 by guitarist Lucass as initially a solo project for himself, the band soon grew with the addition of vocalist D.ssipline, guitarist Mścisław, and bassist Kuba. Two demos A Property of God? in 2006 and Slitwrist Society the following year were recorded though never released, each just spread amongst fans. As Kuba left the band second vocalist Angelfuck joined up and debut album Serpent Trinity was recorded in the summer of 2007, though again it was not released, just passed around like the previous  demos. A period of quiet and ‘inactivity’ followed before the band re-emerged in 2011 with drummer Vizun and bassist Kamil added to the ranks.  With a change in musical direction and new material primed to be unleashed, the band which features present and past members from Deivos, Blaze Of Perdition, Squash Bowels, and Azarath, signed with Pulverised Records, Grant Us Death their first voracious full assault upon the world.

The title track emerges from a melodic invitation within a foreboding ambience which gives no real essence of the decayed inferno Grant Us Death Coverto come. It is a ravenous assault with caustic vocals complimented by group shouts bristling upon uncompromising rhythms and a gnarly intent and sound from bass and intimidating guitar riffs. It does not exactly trigger mass euphoria but the track leaves one bursting with eagerness to delve deeper in to the album whilst basking in the already impressive corrosive malevolence on offer.

The strong start is elevated by the following Devilspeed, the start of a trend as the following Bloodpainted Salvation and The Love Song each take the album to ascending plateaus. The first of the trio is an adrenaline charged surge of rampant riffs and demanding rhythms crossed with malice soaked vocal squalls. Like the majority of the album the intensity created by guitars and bass saw across and ravage the ear with little relief or mercy but still leave one enthralled and eager for more of their violating presence. Bloodpainted Salvation pins the listener to the floor by the ear and savages the senses with further annihilatory intent and skilfully sculpted violence whilst the last of the trio is an inspiring furnace of rabid intensity and predatory synapse bruising sonic barbarity infused with a magnetic melodic teasing which takes the track impressively away from the pack.

From here as good as the likes of Godcremation, Devialize, and My Lord Has Horns are, the album fails to find the same heights again but nevertheless leaves a full satisfaction for the senses to devour with the inventive and accomplished sounds displayed to ensure the release is a formidable and appetising proposition again and again.

The closing track When Horror Comes brings a different flavour to the album and does give the album a heightened departure. Its mix of blackened death metal and almost gothic metal like vocal mesmerism captivates the imagination from start to finish, the constant harshly grizzled riffs and energy stretched and embellished with potent shadows and rich sonic flames to leave intrigue and a sustained appetite to follow the creative exploits of the band as they evolve further.

With an exclusive macabre painting by Bartek Kurzok (Abigail, Demonic Slaughter, Goat Tyrant) for its artwork, Grant Us Death is an album deserving of attention and a release fans of bands such as  Entombed, Nihilist, and Autopsy will find plenty of maybe not original but well-crafted and passionate sounds within.

www.facebook.com/Ulcerdeathmetal

7/10

RingMaster 21/02/2013

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Deus Otiosus: Godless

With the world wide release of their debut album Murderer last year, Danish death metallers Deus Otiosus left one of the biggest impressions and most rewarding confrontations of 2011, their old school inspired yet strikingly inventive sounds firing up the passions whilst marking the band as one of the most refreshing and promising emerging forces within extreme metal. The quintet from Copenhagen now returns with second album Godless, a release which actually puts its impressive predecessor in the shade whilst revealing the band as an even mightier and creative proposition. The new album is a colossal beast of imagination and aggressive engagement, a record bulging with incendiary sonics and melodic enterprise alongside thunderous riffs and debilitating grooves.

Started by vocalist Anders Bo Rasmussen and guitarist Henrik Engkjær in 2005, Deus Otiosus grabbed positive attention with their 2007 demo Death Lives Again and a split release with Hideous Invasion two years later, but it was with the release of Murderer in South America in 2010 and especially its world release via FDA Rekotz the next year, that the band ignited an intense positivity and acclaim towards their uncompromising aural attack. Godless takes everything to a new level, the songwriting, imaginative enterprise, and the intrusive thrilling sounds. Out through Deepsend Records, the album unleashes eight brutal tracks which numb and invigorate which equal success. Themed by the premise of the world devoid of gods or presences to guide the human race thus leaving it ‘to fend for itself like feral children’, the album is a crashing expanse of old school death metal skewered with veins of thrash and black metal and loud melodic whispers.

As soon as the opener Snakes of the Low thunders in with merciless rhythms, driving riffs, and an acute twisting groove, there is an immediate sense of the growth from previous releases, the immense start that strong and impactful. The guitars of Henrik Engkjær and Peter Engkjær rage with a furnace of sonic manipulations and bone crushing intensity whilst bassist Jesper Holst roams with a rabid hunger to his lines. The staggering onslaught leaves one breathless with the drums of new drummer Jesper Olsen leading the assault with unbridled energy and stunning craft. The result is a contagion which swamps the senses and ignites the passions whilst with the inciting heavy guttural tones of Rasmussen leaves thoughts open to the darkest shadows.

Off to a towering start the album steps up another level with the excellent In Harm’s Way. Starting with a catchy tease of drums the track strolls with an incessant breath of anthemic unity and pulsating resonating energy. Riffs and rhythms hold a constant urgent charge whilst the vocals snarl at the ear with a malevolent hunger whilst the sonic scorching lights up the song with caustic flames of invention. It is an insatiable riot setting up a strong and pleasing contrast to its successor, the doom clad prowling beast New Dawn.  Oppressive with an intensity which looms over the senses without quite devouring them, the track crowds the ear with its weighty presence to allow its restrained but ever shifting twists of ideas to open a stream of great satisfaction.

Throughout Godless is unrelenting in offering irresistible invention and fiery imagination, further tracks such as the astringent and ravenous Pest Grave as well as Cast From Heaven with its burning abrasive consumption of the synapses and the openly infectious Face The Enemy leaving awe struck ardour and unbridled enthusiasm in their wake. The latter of the three is a maelstrom of multi-faceted sounds and invention which flow and tease as if borne from the same original seed of inspiration.

Closing on the delicious irreverent waltz of Death Dance, an apocalyptic beauty in sound and atmosphere, the album is just outstanding and a release which easily rivals the best extreme genre releases this year. If bands like Obituary, Autopsy, Entombed, and Sepultura raise your temperature, than Deus Otiosus and Godless will break you out in an eager sweat.

http://www.deus-otiosus.com

RingMaster 19/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright