Ferium – Reflections


Parading a roaring muscular sound built from numerous metallic essences around a death metal spine, Israeli metallers Ferium more than lives up to the brewing buzz around them with debut album Reflections. Twelve slabs of creative brutality and imaginatively skilled endeavour, the release is a formidable and striking big step into the wider metal world, one which hits hard and impressively initially but only truly reveals its depths and strengths and those of the band across numerous exploits with its intrusive presence. The quintet delves into the rich wells of groove, technical, general extreme metal and more to enhance their core viciousness and persuasion, a fusion as proven by their first full-length which is something not exactly unique but definitely seizing attention and a hungry appetite as it starts setting its own path now and for the future.

Ferium was formed in 2006 taking initial inspirations of Pantera and Lamb Of God into their intent though that expanded over the years with influences from the likes of Textures, Gojira, and Death adding to the fuel driving their invention. Equally growing up in Haifa and the situation in their country has added depth to the lyrical and musical side of their emergence. The band does not directly or openly explore any aspect of the conflict and climate they grew within and felt personally but it is scenery which has brought a raw and uncompromising breath to their sound and presence. Their first release, The New Law EP in 2009 took the band into a strong spotlight at home and further afield, helping to lead Ferium to appearances at big home events such as Summer Carnage and Hallejujahas well as those abroad like Wacken 2009. Last year saw a more intensive time for the band, tours supporting The Agonist, Threat Signal, Mors Principium Est, and Dawn Heist around Europe and the UK following a show opening for Gojira in Israel. The end of 2013 was marked by the band signing a deal with Transcend Music and the worldwide distribution for the 2012 recorded Reflections, a release you sense could open up a highly receptive hunger for their presence.

Opening track By The Book lays an initial abrasive guitar coaxing upon the ears, a sonic wind brewing alongside it before being punctured Reflections Coverby the heavy probing rhythms of drummer Ron Amar. It is an intriguing start, one offering various options of where the song and album might go without revealing anything too soon. It is not long though before the drums increase their pressure, the bass of Yoni Biton closes in with dark intensive shadows, and the guitars of Elram Boxer and Guy Goldenberg sculpt a weave of tight grooves and searing riffs to transfix thoughts and emotions. With the harsh yet welcoming vocal abrasion of Tiran Ezra unleashing the first narrative, the track wakes up eager attention early, leading it into a magnetic fascination which in turn ignites the imagination. The thrilling song does not really explode at any point but is a constant blaze of invention and technical prowess which is stretched to more dramatic adventures across the album, in fact right away with DownHill From Nothing.

The second song entwines the ears in an infection fuelled groove from its first breath, the guitars seducing with full potency as bass and drums badger the senses into another swift submission. Again the vocals graze and roar with an unbridled causticity but only to accentuate the virulent lure of the song. The bass of Biton prowls and growls with understated but open ingenuity throughout the tempestuous offering yet it is the work of Boxer and Goldenberg which more often than not steals the focus upon the song, the melodies and emotive designs from their strings richly colouring song and imagination. Like the first it has an inescapable contagion to its enterprise and especially its grooved bait, and like its successor draws a greedy appetite for its invention.

Both The Very Existence and Mirror exploit an already eager attention with their individual persuasions, the first creating a weave of djent seeded technical manipulation with an almost thrash spawned antagonistic fury of death metal with metalcore bred essences. It is heavier and more intense than its predecessors without dismissing any of the melodically nurtured sonic exploration which marked their success. With a strong evocative ambience also washing the canvas of the song it is a thought provoking and longer to convince encounter, as is its successor though both refuse to relinquish the grip already seized by the release. The second of these two squall over and ravage the senses with again a stronger rabidity; vocally and rhythmically the track an abusive suasion whilst sonically it sears air and flesh, the combination another offering to feed the hunger inside.

The entrance of Side Effects is exceptional, an intimidating but irresistible gentle tempting from the guitars and the perfect lure into the spiteful aggression to follow. Its gait is almost stalking the ears whilst the outstanding bass hook and acidic guitar toxicity steals the passions below an unreserved rhythmic provocation. Its masterful adventure is replaced by the instrumental The Black Eyes, a piece ripe with classical keys elegance and scuzz surfaced energy. It is music which builds its size and intensity across its skilful narrative, inviting the imagination to cast its own tale though it is less successful with the passions especially with the bestial Lust Fool bursting in right away. It is a bear of a song, muscles holding sway within the black density and throat of the onslaught whilst the guitars lash and rhythms pummel the senses around the ever malicious vocals. It is a drama fuelled, adrenaline driven monstrosity of an encounter and thoroughly scintillating.

After the similarly predacious Caustic Value, an intrusion which easily feeds wants without lighting fires, the album takes another upturn with the brilliant Change Of Winds soon matched by Business On Demand. The first of the two romps with and dancing over ears and senses with grooves and jagged riffery from its first second, the track gnawing, jarring, and disorientating senses magnificently whilst Ezra riles syllables and tones for an equally malevolently textured assault, his variety in delivery a constant pleasure. The track twists and lurches wonderfully, all the time depleting energy and scything slices from the synapses until an exhausted pleasure lies in its wake, one soon re-energised by its successor. An open and familiar groove leads the way under the persistent cosh of rhythms and barracking riffs, the temptation recruiting full allegiance for the subsequent savagery vocally and musically which envelops the still dominant groove cast toxins.  Both tracks provide the pinnacle of the album and the band’s songwriting in brutality and epidemic seduction.

The album is concluded by Blood and its title track, the pair insatiable trespasses bringing an outstanding release to a mighty end, the first of the two an insidiously nasty demonic capture of ears and beyond whilst the last song simply churns up and suffocates emotions with mouthwatering invention and crippling intensity respectively. Wrapped in excellent artwork from Eliran Kantor (Hatebreed, Sodom, Atheist), Reflections is extreme metal of the highest order and shows Ferium as having the potential of forging truly major horizons ahead whilst giving a rather breath-taking treat for the now.



RingMaster 07/04/2014

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Gravehill – Death Curse


For a pestilential onslaught of black, death, and thrash metal, moulded into one voracious tempest of raw and dirty metal it is unlikely many releases will surpass the new uncompromising ravaging of US corruptors Gravehill. The band’s third album Death Curse is a bestial examination of the senses; savaging violations soaked in causticity and stripped to their primal bones and intent. At times an anthemic contagion and in others simply a predatory gnawing of the senses, the album is an increasingly potent annihilation which evolves an initial strong showing into a truly impressive and exhausting incitement. There is no wastage of frivolous trickery or excessive showing off just concentrated undiluted primeval metal at its best.

The Californian band was formed in 2001, a trio which took little time in unleashing debut demo The Practitioners of Fell Sorcery; it was short lived triumph though as Gravehill disbanded soon after. 2006 saw the band reform, original drummer/founder Rhett “Thorgrimm” Davis linking up with vocalist Mike Abominator. A second demo Metal of Death in 2007 was followed by the EP Metal of Death/Advocation of Murder and Suicide the following year from the quintet. First full-length Rites of the Pentagram was next uncaged on Enucleation Records to strong reactions in 2009 as also its re-release in a package with a third outing from the band’s first demo via Ibex Moon Records a year later. The line-up saw a change in 2011 with guitarist Matt “Hellfiend” Harvey (Exhumed, Dekapitator, Repulsion) joining the band before second album When All Roads lead to Hell on Dark Descent Records. The next year saw another shift in personnel with both Hellfiend and fellow guitarist Rob “Bodybag Bob” Babcock leaving due to extensive touring demands with Exhumed to be replaced by CC DeKill and Hell Messiah.

With the new members slotting in with ease alongside Thorgrimm, Abominator, and bassist J.T. Corpse, Gravehill set about creating what CDBO04.pdfhas emerged as their most ferocious and destructive triumph to date. Again out through Dark Descent and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy as well as Kam Lee (Massacre, Death and Bone Gnawer), Death Curse is a masterful protagonist of the senses from the exceptional artwork provided by Christopher Moyen (Incantation, Blasphemy)to its last lingering venomous note. Though the introductory opener Gates of Hell does not show the storm to come, its epically sinister portent of sonic certainly brings an intimidation to bear on the senses, a brewing threat soon realised with the explosive entrance of the title track, riffs and rhythms a merciless rampage whilst the coarse even rawer vocals scar air and ears. Eager in its thrash driven gait and acidic in the eruptions of sonic enterprise, the track is a magnetic encounter which maybe does not trigger an immediate hunger but with good variation to the vocals and a resistance proof groove certainly has full control of attention.

At Hell’s Command is much swifter in taking a submission from senses and passions, its yawning sonic bait from the first second irresistible and the spark to an incendiary examination of a brutal rhythmic battering and a venomous and compelling sonic intrusion. There is an insidiously commanding element to the song, and subsequently the album, which manipulates the imagination and emotions into subservience either instantly or over time as in the case of other songs, but always succeeding in its intent. The guitar toxicity of CC DeKill and Hell Messiah is especially impressive and tempting, their designs as in all aspects of the release, skilled and striking but never dosed with a wasteful indulgence.

The following Open Their Throats emerges from the fluid gothic like link between it and its predecessor to prowl around the ear with a doom bred stance. The song stalks with venom dripping from its rhythmic jaw and slavering riffs whilst the guttural intense vocals add further insatiable predation. Intensity and violence waits in the shadows before being freed from their reins for a fiery antagonism driven second half of the impressive rage, vocals and guitar craft again formidable lures within an equally compelling rhythmic enticement.

Both Fear the Reaper and Unending Lust for Evil take release and passions to another level, the virulently contagious drum and bass entrance to the first opening a doorway to thrash anthemic glory within a death seeded animosity whilst its successor digs deeper inside itself for a blacker toxin with which to infest song and listener, its constantly shifting attack and creativity a ridiculously infectious almost salacious offering. The pair of tracks marks the pinnacle of the album, though to be fair its whole range is never far from the lofty filth encrusted heights of the two as proven by the rapacious malevolence of Black Blood Rising, the blackened scourge a welcome primordial predator in modern extreme metal.

The album is at its strongest in its latter half with the final two songs continuing the intensive potency and senses gorging maliciousness of the last few offerings. Crucified is the loudest boldest anthem on the album, an irritable nagging soon recruiting full allegiance with its group vocal baiting over heavy booted rhythms and riffing. Speared by excellent sonic craft from the guitars, the song is a leader of rebellious intent igniting the pulse rate ready for the closing doomy weight and thrash swing of The Ascending Fire to exploit with its equally anthemic power. The song makes an outstanding last assault to an addictive treacherous plague, a Death Curse which violates and thrills with even voracity.




RingMaster 02/04/2014

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Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers

Plebeian Live w_ Ivo

French extreme metallers Plebeian Grandstand has one of those sounds which is so viciously ugly and vehemently destructive that you cannot understand why it is just so compelling as evidenced by their second album Lowgazers. Consisting of eight mercilessly voracious smogs of corrosive ambience and sonic violence, the release is pure noise toxicity; an insatiable pestilence of sound and hostility but as it suffocates and violates ears and beyond it is also dangerously addictive. To be honest it is hard to say exactly why this is so, though certainly the band craft the demise of the senses with undeniable invention and antagonistic passions, but the bottom line is that it is one compelling scourge and at the end of the hellacious day that is what it is all about.

Plebeian Grandstand have fused the darkest venomous, uncivil aspects of black metal with the equally poisonous core essences of hardcore and sludge metal; the result a maelstrom of spiteful dissonance and ravenous intensity which takes the listener into a ruthless tempest of sonic devastation, leaving them there basking and cowering in a primal wasteland, in this case Lowgazers. The release is the most destructive and bedlamic onslaught from the Paris based quartet yet, pushing intensively further the boundaries and inventive vitriol of their sound as first unveiled on their self-titled EP of 2008. Debut album How Hate is Hard to Define two years later ensured the band make an attention forging scar on the metal scene as equally did the band’s live performances which across the past years has seen them leave waste stages across Europe alongside bands such as Pelican, Horse The Band, Loma Prieta, The Holy Mountain, Off Minor, Intronaut, Celeste, The Ocean, I Pilot Daemon, Carnival In Coals, and Manimal. Two splits with firstly Divider and Bone Dance in 2011 and Cortez the following year arguably hinted at the jaundiced proposition to come but Lowgazers reaches far deeper into the blackest rancorous depths than imagined and could have been anticipated.

Recorded and mixed by Amaury Sauvé (Birds In Row, Calvaiire, Death Engine), the album immediately has thoughts running scared as FRONT NEW 300opener Thrvst emerges from a cold sonic ambience. Its sinister embrace is soon joined by slow sonic chords which entwine their lures tightly around ears before the onrush of barbarous blast beats and a tortuous sonic enslavement of the senses. Vocals viciously squall from within the storm, spewing their grudging malevolence across the unrelenting rhythmic abuse. All the time though there is a caustic groove, for want of a better word, which lays down the fullest contagious toxic bait from the inside of the noise friction consuming air and victim.

It is a crippling start to the album which evolves without real respite or respect for wounds into the following Endless Craving, another rapacious torment which smothers, gnaws, and devours body and soul. As I am sure you have assumed this is not easy listening, not an encounter with any ounce of comfort or mercy musically or vocally, and most like lyrically, though at times only the intensity of the delivery and surrounding fury is a clue but you can safely assume these will not be tales of love and golden fields. The track rages and ignites every rabid muscle and raw breath within itself for the nastiest rewarding exploit.

Whether it is an accumulative effect or simply the greater brutality of the songs, both Flail in the Bliss and Lowlifer put the listener under the strongest examination yet on the release, the first an inharmonious swamp of inventively cast malice and the second a synapse searing cacophony of vocal and emotional pain within an equally tormented furnace of mentally permeating sound. It has the senses ringing as it fades into fluid transformation into the ambient noise bred Relief of Troth. It is hard to call it an instrumental as the piece is more a pass over a caustic wasteland with hazardous shadows and sinister breath.

    Svn in Your Head mentally burns from its first acrid note; slowly unveiling an intrepid malignancy of sonic enveloping which stalks and invades with a doom spawned energy and sludge thick animosity, never relenting in its prowling weight of provocation and heavily leaning sound. As all the tracks, and album come to that, whether enjoyment comes into the equation is a debate for each to ponder but once more there is a persistent temptation which infects for a lingering need to suffer more, a pain both Aimless Roaming and the closing exploration of Mvrk Diving are keen to offer. Their individual enmities score and deplete the resistance of body and emotions even further bringing the album’s most inhospitable alienation in its conclusion, though again with riffs and rhythms horde like aggressors and lethal hooks the deepest transgressor it is hard not to want more.

Released digitally March 31st and as a 2 LP release via Throatruiner Records on April 10th, Lowgazers is a chaos hard to endure and ultimately survive intact against but a merciless adventure from Plebeian Grandstand that it is easy to recommend to those brave enough to face its discordant conflict.




RingMaster 30/03/2014

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I Will Tear This World Apart – Self-Titled


    Released at the tail end of 2013, the self-titled debut album from Norwegian metallers I Will Tear This World Apart is one of those provocations which thrills and invigorates from the first encounter but also infects the imagination with seeds which only draw you rapidly back into the antagonistic arms of the storm offered. Consisting of nine songs which rampage and infest the senses like a sonic scourge of metallic breeding, the release is a magnetic merger of styles and angry passion which is unrelenting in its animosity and towering persuasion. The saying goes that ‘you can’t keep a good man down’, but in the face of I Will Tear This World Apart’s ferocity even the Devil might be staggered to his knees under their intensive fury.

     Formed in 2011 and taking its name from the Grown Into Nothing song Wrestling the Lions, I Will Tear This World Apart consists of vocalist Peter Bains who also fronts impressive metallers Killtek and Grown Into Nothing, alongside guitarist Robert Bains also of Grown Into Nothing, drummer Espen Hektoen from death metallers Chton and death thrashers Cleaver, and bassist Sigurd Ekle. Essences of the members other bands do make a loud whisper at times within the presence of IWTTWA but this band has a voice and aggression all of its own which rivals and challenges the strengths of those parallel projects. With a more hardcore causticity adding to the array of metal flavouring from groove to metalcore, thrash to extreme metal, the band brews a sound which is a voracious provocation able to rile and seduce with equal intensity; IWTTWA’s debut album an introduction all metal fans should treat themselves to.

    Released via Trøndercore Records, the tempestuous release throws its full weight against the ears with opener Demonhead, IWTTWAguitars creating sonic smog to tantalise whilst rhythms punch out their own firm enticement. Soon charging full pelt with antagonism flying from every note unleashed and syllable spewed by the intensive scowls of Peter Bains, the track blisters the senses with venomous toxicity and burns the air with rapacious energy. It is an immense start which without powerfully contagious grooves and hooks still seizes a firm place in the passions and memory before making way for the following Case Closed. A very brief heavy dawning soon uncages an aggressive predation of resonating rhythmic thumping and abrasive riffs which scar and invite the imagination to join their raucous belligerence. As the first it is only the core intent as the guitar spawns its own acidic temptation across the almost crusade like squalling vocals to add further inventive bait to the vigorous conflict exciting the emotions.

     Both the stalking bordering bestial presence of Amongst Enemies and the incendiary incitement of Selfinflicted Slavery continue to whip up the senses and appetite for their riveting and richly assertive declarations, the first equipped with enslaving grooves and a heavy duty riffery around again impressing vocals that chains down and ignites the passions whilst its successor also unveiling a groove potency recruits a full submission whilst flaunting melodic and rhythmic allurement within a tsunami of intensity that easily steals thoughts and instinctive allegiance.

     The heat is turned up even further with the unbridled assault of Killers Deserve to Die, its thrash bred charge a ravaging coaxing into a full bodied soak of militant combativeness and gladiatorial sonic adventure matched by the now expected unyielding vocal passion of Peter Bains. The excellent if too short song again is bred from a unity between the quartet in skill and invention which explodes into mouthwatering aural rages leaving only satisfaction and hunger for more in their wake, a greed soon given more healthy sustenance by the ruggedly forceful and uncompromisingly driven You & I and the more predatory gaited if less dramatic Grounded. Both tracks create another cyclone of inventive and merciless entrapment which invigorate and accelerate the emotions into unrestrained satisfaction, something which equally applies to the whole release.

    The second of the just mentioned tracks does not quite match up to the peaks before and the same applies to the thick and slowly moving Keep ‘Em Down, a smouldering almost overbearing sonic dispute and rhythmic altercation which builds its bulk until expanding into a muscular avalanche of intensity and evocative melodically honed atmospheres. Like its predecessor the thunderous encounter leaves only the fullest impressive suasion but just cannot quite reach the heights set previously. Nevertheless both and especially the latter shows how intensive and extensive the band and their creativity can be and go deeper into ahead.

    The album closes on the hellacious Racist, a track which incinerates and seduces senses and imagination with an intertwining intent wrapped in more fearsomely addictive grooves. It is a corrosive and deviously inventive not forgetting addictive and climactic end to an equally stunning album. Though yet to maybe discover a truly unique sound, I Will Tear This World Apart could well be the next big force to break out of Norway on the evidence of their first assault, though whether the world is ready for such nasty goodness we will have to see.



RingMaster 21/01/2014

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The Last Ten Seconds Of Life – Invivo[Exvivo]



    With more of a storm than a buzz brewing up around US metallers The Last Ten Seconds Of Life, the Mansfield, Pennsylvania quartet unleash their new album Invivo[Exvivo] to ravage not only their already seemingly submissive homeland but equally Europe and the UK. Ten tracks of virulently malicious and ridiculously compelling extreme provocation the album is a ferocious mix of filth clad aural brutality. A voracious maelstrom of everything from deathcore to grind, groove to nu metal and a flood of plenty more essences poisoning its vitriolic glory, the band’s sound takes no prisoners but neither does it leave the listener searching for rapacious imagination or feverishly rewarding adventure. Some of the tracks take longer to pull a submission than others from the passions but ultimately all succeed on one quite exhausting and riveting scourge.

     Formed in 2010 and consisting of guitarist and songwriter Wyatt McLaughlin, vocalist Storm Strope, bassist Anthony Madara, and drummer Christian Fisher, The Last Ten Seconds Of Life not only build on but stretch strenuously the seeds sown and bred on previous releases, the Justice EP of 2010, debut album Know Your Exits in 2011, and the Warpath EP of the following year. Invivo[Exvivo] takes everything to new impacting levels, its impressive savagery and inventiveness the band at a new vicious creative height. Released by Workhorse Music, it is fair to say that the album is not quite the perfect beast, at times missing a few opportunities in a torrent of successes to tantalise as it rips out the jugular, but there is never a moment or second offered which does not flare up the senses and passions into an excited state.

      Engineered by Grant McFarland and produced by Carson Slovak (August Burns Read, Texas in July), Invivo[Exvivo] last10seconds_infvivo_finalcoveruncages Fertile Steps first to leap upon and savage the senses. The opening breath of the song is an antagonistic brawl and things only intensify as rhythms punch and slap with merciless and spite whilst riffs grind out insidious grooves around the impressive varied venomous squalls of Strope. From the first minute of his appearance the vocalist impresses and leaves ears as hungry for his destructive narrative as the carnivorous sounds around him. The track itself has a definite Slipknot meets Carcass feel at times but also with an unrelenting drench of Pig Destroyer saliva soaking the results.

    The immense and thrilling start is soon taken up and further by False Awakening and the following A Dime A Dozen, both sonic carnivores which tear through the ears with an intensive heavyweight predation and rhythmic stalking. The first comes from the violent throes of demons, in tone and effect soaked vocals which mingle with the guttural spewing which spills bile with every outpouring. The track stomps as it comes to an early conclusion allowing a breath to be swallowed before its successor produces a pestilential fury of unpredictable and persistently shifting sounds and flavours. Grooves and carnal riffery are irresistible bait in the torrential contagion and malevolently cantankerous heart of the confrontation. It is the first major pinnacle of the album though not that many steps above what came before to be honest such the impressive start of the album.

     Numbskull is the nasty spawn of a hard core and grind union; a track which rampages over and slowly preys on its victim with a continually switching creative intent, again a Slipknot like prompting with Devildriver animosity and Brutal Truth hatred a suggestive texture. It is a downtuned sonic pestilence easy to be consumed by and drool over as is the next up tide of ferocity The Face, a track which scars and seduces simultaneously though both abilities come with an untamed rapacious corrosion.

    Morality emerges from a winding sonic enticement initially before placing itself intimidatingly around the ears to take rhythmic and melodically bred violent swipes. It is a striking entrance but soon losing a part of its compulsion as it employs spoken vocals/sample within a maze of guitar sculpted descriptive noise. The track is strong and constantly slipping in a prod at the appetite but is devoid of the spark which made the previous tracks so irresistible. Arguably the song is too adventurous for its own good and certainly there is not the same fluidity linking all its imagination as that impressive elsewhere on the release. Its ‘weakness’ is instantly amended by Haste Makes Waste and Deadfast though, the first a magnetic tsunami of intensity speared by a great and varied swinish vocal delivery from Strope yet again. The second of the two is another best track contender, niggling hypnotic grooves opening up the throat of the song before its roar and ferocity storms the barricades with a delicious part hardcore, part industrial metal, and all extreme metal esurience. Relentlessly twisting its body and potent resources around and within itself, it is an exceptional blitz of ideas and flavouring which just gets better and better with a great sludgy intensity to its closing incitement.

    To be honest Skeletal took more time than any of the songs to fully convince, though it’s impossibly black and malignant heart and lethal sonic emprise was swift in its captivation. Eventually it did prove itself to be one of the strongest hatefully impressive blessings on the release. Its triumph makes way for the closing Ego Death, a seven minute plus infestation of grooves and rancorous imagination which gnaws away at and suffocates the senses with the densest malevolence jaundiced assault on the album. It completes in Invivo[Exvivo] an outstanding , absorbing, and invigorating intrusion which without being the complete devil is a demon record to make The Last Ten Seconds Of Life your next best brutal friend.



RingMaster 16/01/2014

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Orion – On the Banks of Rubicon


orion pic

    It is fair to say that India is a potent metal scene still relatively untapped by the rest of the world. It is a shame and a little surprising as the amount of bands which thrill and impress there is a constant hint, especially in regard to extreme metal, of just how strong the scene is. Progressive death metallers Orion provide another enthralling formidable nudge with their EP On the Banks of Rubicon. Four tracks of riveting and persistently unpredictable invention, the release is a burning beacon of skill and imagination which should not be ignored.

     Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (also of Albatross), guitarist Ashwin Kulkarni, bassist Anshuman Bhattacharya, and drummer Pritesh Prabhune, the quartet from Mumbai was formed in 2008 and released their first demo Reverie Hours two years later. Taking inspirations from the likes of Death, Opeth, Necrophagist, Gojira, Periphery, and Protest The Hero into their blend of progressive and death metal with plenty of further essences to captivate the imagination, the band makes a compelling persuasion with On the Banks of Rubicon. Strikingly merging melodic and carnivorous intents into a landscape of provocation which startles and seduces from start to finish, the EP is a masterful exploration which sculpts a formidable declaration for not only the band but Indian metal as a whole.

     Opening track Oh Sweet Ebullition immediately seizes ears and attention with thumping rhythms and sonic craft, the guitars coverwrapping sonic tendrils around the senses whilst expanding a melodic enterprise through reserved but open grooves and instantly persuasive riffing. It is a magnetic entrance which lures thoughts and emotions into the heart of the melodic and groove metal mix brought with predatory energy and breath. A sudden dip into melodic elegance opens the door for a torrent of rapacious provocation, riffs and the heavy growls of Venkatraman spawning rabidity in the track as it goes straight for the jugular. It is an intensive evocation which commands the senses before without warning diving into a progressive and melodic stretch of beauty and mesmeric seduction. This is subsequently entwined within the sinew driven death bred aggression of before to ignite an even greedier hunger for the song. Only half way in and the encounter has taken the breath away with its power and invention, something which never relents up to the final second of the six minute plus tempting. Nothing on the song is repeated beyond the passage seeding any particular moment and along with the excellent vocal fusion of guttural vitriol and clean melodic deliveries impressively helps drive the song straight into the passions. Like a union of Motherjane, Bhayanak Maut, and Opeth but with much more uniqueness, it is a rigorously incendiary and thrilling start to the release.

    Devoured Existence enters next on a blaze of skilful sonic colouring which again ignites the imagination straight away, priming it for the harsh creative jaws of the track which scar and provoke. A thrash kissed surge to the riffing is tempered by the death metal spawned vocal delivery and surrounding imposing shadows but this itself is only subservient to the again outstanding guitar invention and menacing basslines which control it all. Predictability is once more completely absent in the creative maelstrom, classic metal spirals of sonic ingenuity descending to defeat expectations whilst the song niggles with almost pestilential efficiency enslaving the emotions as fully as its predecessor and the following triumph Astral. Almost eight minutes of simultaneously rampaging, crawling, and seducing adventure, twisting melodic and doom metal with a blackened wind over a progressive death metal, the third song is a scintillating encounter. Once more Motherjane comparisons spring to mind at times and certainly at the beginning, as does those to UAE band Absolace but it is only a small flavour in an ever evolving and shifting soundscape which entrances and violates with equal success and grandeur. The best track on the release it reveals and screams out all of the impressive elements and skills of Orion in songwriting and presentation. One of the best extreme metal tracks heard in a long time it can be the doorway to the widest recognition with a slice of luck.

     The EP closes with the most direct death metal track My Dying Prayer, but again there is plenty of invention unleashed to bewitch and wrong foot the ears for the richest satisfaction, everything from vocals to guitar mastery, bass snarling to rhythmic manipulation impressively addictive.  On the Banks of Rubicon is an exceptional encounter all should take a big chunk of time out to investigate. It will impress and thrill whilst maybe opening the gateway to an undiscovered world of invention driven metal in the band’s homeland. Be brave and go for it we say.




RingMaster 15/01/2014

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We All Die (Laughing) – Thoughtscanning



     A long epic track going well into double figures time wise is never the most immediate persuasion here to be honest so it is fair to say that the debut album from We All Die (Laughing) with its single thirty three minute track was not the most instant appetiser and top of the list to cover. The fact that Thoughtscanning was released by Kaotoxin Records, a label which had a glorious year in releasing impressive inventive propositions in 2013, did encourage a dive into the proposition offered, plus the fact that the band consists of multi-talented musician and composer Déhà (C.O.A.G., Maladi) and vocalist Arno Strobl of Carnival In Coal and site favourites 6:33. It will prove to be one of the wisest decisions made this year at The RR and by anyone who immerse within what is an extraordinary experience and towering creative tempest. The album is a masterful enticement and admittedly challenging encounter but one all should bravely embrace.

    Creating a continually expanding landscape of emotionally drenched progressive dark metal, but with so much more to its 760137614821_TOX030_We-All-Die-(laughing)_Artwork_1400x1400-300imaginative adventure, Thoughtscanning is a piece of work which leaves the richest satisfaction and experience in its wake. We All Die (Laughing) first emerged as guest musicians on Eye Of Solitude’s EP The Deceit, their offering now reissued as a bonus track on the band’s recently released excellent album Canto III. Now the French-Bulgarian link-up fully unveils itself as a creative force to be reckoned with and incited by with their debut.

      A long guitar casts the first coaxing, its melodramatic voice and resonance a lone figure in a barren atmosphere but as potently evocative and imagination sparking as you could wish for. It has an essence of early-The Cure to its call which is enhanced with a wash of minimalistic melodic enticement and great earthy throaty tones from the bass. It is a deliciously magnetic entrance which is so powerful that when flames of skilfully sculpted guitar light the air a tinge of disappointment washes over emotions just for a second or two.

     From here on in the song slowly but clearly expands with its every second, the ever appealing vocals of Strobl adding another provocative aspect to the already compelling persuasion. Stretching further into its dark shadow drenched heart, the clean melodically built vocals merge with sanity bruising squalls whilst an intensity coats and increases the urgency of the sounds even when they find new avenues to slowly and elegantly investigate within the at times bordering on psychotic expulsion of emotional toxicity. It is impossible to clearly represent all that is going on and unleashed within Thoughtscanning but sure to say musically the track evolves through webs and mixtures of progressive and black metal, avant-garde and melodic death metal, doom and jazz metal with more besides, every minute a new recipe and provocation impossible to tear away from.

    As suggested earlier vocally the track also is a vibrantly shifting temptation, smooth melodic tones moving into guttural torrents with ease and in other moments creating a dark shadow through intensive deliveries which simply shape the syllables into an impacting and thought provoking narrative. Not for the first time in his career Strobl brings moments which are pure Mike Patton like to the persistently evocative adventure and in union with Déhà creates a maelstrom of seduction and venom which is as thrilling and compelling as the music surrounding their bait.

     The down side to the album?…well it is so long that it will definitely not suit all but it would be amiss not to say that there is never a moment where it is predictable and does not have senses and attention on alert for more breath-taking insurgences by the album into emotions and to be honest the track simply flies by, never feeling as long as it obviously is. Thoughtscanning is a thoroughly enthralling and impressive release which is a must investigation for all fans of anyone from Faith No More to Opeth, Periphery to Dark Tranquility, Tool to of course 6:33, in fact every metal fan as We All Die (Laughing) has something for all within their opus. With a limited-edition first pressing also containing a cover of Amy Winehouse track Back to Black, this is a must.



RingMaster 14/01/2014

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The Hate Colony – Dead Or Victorious


We might be coming late to the party but with Norwegian metallers The Hate Colony working on their new full-length a look at their debut album is definitely in order as we wait for what is already a highly anticipated follow-up. Originally released two years ago, Dead Or Victorious is an invigorating tempest of passion and aggressive intent which ticks all the right boxes for intensively sculpted and carnivorously delivered metal. Skilled and expertly unleashed, the album is a raw unbridled brawl with the senses, a promise soaked confrontation providing a sizeable and potent basis for the band’s sophomore full-length to evolve from. Time will tell if the band do grow or remain within the extended arms provided by Dead Or Victorious, but if the latter you still feel it will still be a richly satisfying slab of accomplished brutality as their debut.

The Trondheim hailing quintet it is fair to say upon Dead Or Victorious, are not setting down new markers or breaking boundaries but certainly at times worrying them with a fine vein of imagination within the excellently crafted songwriting and performance. It means there are no major surprises in store but equally the album never offers a song or moment when attention is allowed to wander or hanker for other things. From the opening notes and rhythmic punches of Cornered a greedy appetite is awoken as riffs and rhythms rigorously sniff around the senses, pressuring and barracking them into submission. The track is a ravenous storm of provocative and contagious intent, squalling varied vocal attacks as magnetic as the twisting sounds and ideas raging within the body of the song. As mentioned it is hard to say that there is something dramatically new going on but with enticing melodic craft and teasing veining the onslaught, it is one wholly captivating start.

Your Murder Scene takes no prisoners either, bass and drums preying on the ears as the guitars stroke an elevated hunger for covertheir exploratory touch and almost arrogant predation. It is a track which makes an immediate strongly appealing impression but also smoulders beneath its fury to ignite an even greater passion over time. Its elegant acoustic finale is a mouth-watering bridge into Diggin’ Deeper, a song which continues the evocative gentle persuasion for a fair amount of magnetic time before uncaging thunderous beats and a primal torrent of heavily clad riffs alongside the ever caustic and varied vocal voraciousness. The song gnaws at the senses across the whole of its rapacious presence, its antagonistic jaws a persistent provocateur ensuring an addictive slavery is forged upon the listener right up to its final squalling seamless passing over into Lies, another track which towers over the ears with spite in its rhythmic heart and venomous rabidity in its creative eyes. The song and album to this point certainly gives neck muscles an intensive workout which only continues as the release charges on through each exhausting track.

The more classic metal seeded Wall of Sanctuary with its almost niggling sonic enterprise steps forward next, vocals stretching themselves yet again for diversity and passion and though the song does not quite live up to its predecessors it leaves no one short on thought and inventively delivered adventure. The same can be said about Cottonmouth, a track which prowls and stalks the senses whilst seeding sinew built shadows in the imagination. As its predecessor the song is a formidable concentration of intensity and intimidation through striking craft but surprisingly lacks the killer touch to inflame the emotions as earlier tracks. There is not something truly memorable to come back and haunt the memory away from its presence, something which you can lay against maybe too much of the album, though it is the only issue.

Both the acidically poisonous No Sympathy and the corrosively enterprising and enthrallingly ravaging Remember Me keep the infectious toxicity of the album boiling, the second of the pair an ever shifting blaze of intrigue soaked adventure which is as unpredictable and gripping as it is virulently ferocious. It is left to the title track to close up the savagery which it does with arguably the albums most vicious and intensive point, though there are plenty of contender moments throughout the album.

Without setting flaming tyre marks on the surface of brutal metal, Dead or Victorious is a powerful entrance for The Hate Colony, one which offers the seeds for unique and limits spearing invention which you suspect and definitely hope the band’s second album will bloom. If the likes of Sylosis, Heart Of A Coward, and Battlecross feed your needs than The Hate Colony has a full menu to feast upon



RingMaster 21/11/2013

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Goresoerd – Asülum


A bruising and at times nastily vicious encounter, Asülum the new album from Estonian metallers Goresoerd is one of those addictions you just cannot shake off or want to be without. Consisting of twelve tracks which lyrically you can only guess what is going on, due to the band presenting their inventive furies in their own language, and musically ignite the fullest passions, the album is a predatory rampage of genre crossing and manipulating imagination. It raises a hunger for the band ahead and retrospectively which so far cannot get enough of their inventive violence.

Formed in 2004 by ‘two guys playing and experimenting with grindcore’, Goresoerd has evolved into a force of mouth-watering enterprise which around a death metal seeded core recruits styles and essences into something distinctive and incredibly captivating. The band’s third album and the successor to the acclaimed Tüdruk ja Surm of 2010, Asülum thrusts the Tallinn hailing Goresoerd to the frontline of European extreme and eclectic metal.

It thrusts itself forcibly upon the senses with opener Depressiivmeedia, a vocal cry the starter for a rapacious heavyweight Goresoerd_1600x1600pxbarracking of the ears by abrasive riffs, the thumping rhythms of Ken Takmazjan, and the caustic vocal grazing of Eero Soomere backed by the equally gnarled tones of guitarist Stig Lindeberg. It is an immediately gripping confrontation, a seemingly djent inspired savagery aligned to a sonic exploration which entangles the imagination as firmly as the antagonistic intensity and storming energy. At times the song snatches a resemblance to Stam1na whilst a heavy metal element crowds in with the tempestuous enterprise at play to show the diversity to come across Asülum.

Masin is next up to tantalise and chew thoughts and emotions, another death/heavy metal maelstrom working its persuasion as the song twists and turns with venomous but enthralling invention. The guitars of Lindeberg and Rasmus Tauk provide an expanse of creative and annihilatory temptation whilst the bass of Otto simply stalks every note offered, all helping to sculpt a tempest which has a healthy if distant similarity to the likes of Livarkahil. Its impressive fury is matched by the punkish ferocity of Poomine and the incendiary classic metal taunting of Kuningas-Direktor, both aggressive hardcore fuelled tracks unveiling further variety and invention of sound which riles up the imagination and appetite into a greedier hunger for the release.

The breath-taking attacks of both Soerd and Kloonitud Jumal provide two of the biggest pinnacles of the album, the first a voracious slab of metal which incites the imagination with a continually evolving and intimidating blaze of styles and almost bedlam spawned rabidity whilst its successor from a restrained yet hungry stroll of groove metal brews a sonic and intensive tirade of inventive but malevolent emprise which simply enthrals and breeds greater passion for the uncompromising intrusion, especially the nagging waspish groove which stirs within the latter end of the treat.

The thrash powered Uppunud Loomade Varjupaik again reminds of Stam1na, the melodically and infectious grooves and hooks cast from similar wells as the Finns whilst the raging Kurjajuur is a thrilling merger of hardcore and death vengeance under a delicious spattering of groove and nu metal, just to name some of the influences setting up this explosion of imagination as the biggest peak of Asülum. It is a thunderous exhilarating furnace of ingenuity which leaves the following likes of Surnud Siber and Põrguekspress a hard task to follow. Of course they both do so with unbridled exploratory craft and inventive intensity, though neither can grip the same plateau as the previous track or many before it. The synths of Meelis Tauk on the tracks bring their strongest allurement to the album yet to make an evocative presence behind the striking guitar craft and though it is fair to say the rhythmic and guitar borne elements as well as the ever impressive and predacious vocals take centre stage more often than not across the album, Tauk and the turntable and sampling skills of Rene Jõhve provide a seduction which adds depth and richness to the ferocity.

Asülum closes with its outstanding title track and the excellent atmospherically woven carnivorous Raibe Lenda, the pair providing two more stunning inventive provocations to complete one exceptional and invigorating creative incitement. Goresoerd should be a world-wide known name and presence and with Asülum easily capable of being the weapon to open that door, hopes and expectations might get that wish very soon.



RingMaster 14/11/2013

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Otargos – Apex Terror


It may have taken more time than other releases to fully persuade the passions of its triumph of black hearted intensity, but Apex Terror from French extreme metallers Otargos emerges as a rather compelling and impressive fury. A ferocious and intrusive expanse of black metal bred malevolence with numerous additional essences, the nine track release moves from an initially satisfying encounter to something with deeper and strong substance to its presence. It is not may be an album to challenge ‘Best of’ candidates come the end of the year but as an exploratory and creative beast of venomous intent,  Apex Terror is a very appetising and striking confrontation.

Formed in 2001, Otargos has consistently pushed themselves and their dark imagination through their albums and sound. Their debut album Ten-Eyed Nemesis of 2005 alerted people to the band’s promise with Kinetic Zero two years later and subsequent releases, Fuck God-Disease Process in 2009 and No God – No Satan the following year reinforcing and enhancing their evolving presence and craft. Apex Terror moves things on further again, the band leaning into a heavier, antagonistic persuasion which leaves deep imprints with its commanding unrelenting intensity and toxic invention.

Released through Listenable Records, Apex Terror seduces ears and thoughts as it set things off with the opening of its title OTARGOS Apex-terrorCovertrack. A brewing ambience washes ominously over the senses with military rhythmic rifling adding to the impending threat, an intimidation soon in full intent through the increasing pressure of riffs and even stronger enslaving drum rallies. Eventually at full stretch and fury, the track is a tempest of unbridled rhythmic barracking and carnivorous riffery veined with a sonic colour which lights thoughts as potently as the intense provocation. With industrial elements adding their lures to the black cast storm and melodic flames licking at the raw nerves induced by the ruinous aggression, the song is a mighty entrance into the album which awakens a certain hunger for it and its successors.

The following Fleshless-Deathless prowls around the ear next, chugging riffs and grisly vocals leading the scowling temptation as again sonic endeavour and invention scores the senses as melodic adventure colours the intensive narrative. There is an insidious air to the deliberately labouring consumption; a corruptive smog which pleasingly smothers the senses as the track leads right into the jaws of next up For Terra. Like the opener the song is a ravaging torrent of hungry riffing and energy punctuated by the ever impressive violent drum exploits. With a climactic atmosphere ebbing and flowing within the noxious beauty of the violation, the track is the first major pinnacle upon the album, a plateau amongst it has to be said numerous peaks within Apex Terror.

Through the likes of the predatory Remnant from a Long-Dead Star, its presence a lingering slowly infiltrating and satisfying toxicity, and the excellent intensely voracious Fallout with its industrial causticity an additional deleterious tempting to the equally riveting rapacious blackened vehemence, the release continues to impress and command whilst Drone and Aftermath Hyperion secure any last sense of resistance to the call of the album with their distinctly individual but mutually pathogenic enmity.

Versus provides the brooding finale to the album, its threatening slow introductory suasion evolving into a thrash lit deluge of superbly crafted hostility which leaves the album and passions on a major high. Apex Terror is an outstanding album, even if one missing that final spark to place it on the frontline of extreme releases taking to battle this year. In saying that Otargos has created an encounter which dares to be as bold in its invention and imagination as in its truculence, and that is always deserving of the fullest attention.



RingMaster 07/11/2013

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