Idol of Fear – All Sights Affixed, Ablaze

 Photo -Jamie Morton

Photo -Jamie Morton

Idol of Fear’s sound is like the black shadow or light limited passage way which manages to be simultaneously inviting and threatening whilst offering the possibility of safety or the darkest outcome. Hailing from the Barrie/Toronto area of Canada, the band creates an imposing and immersive soundscape of extreme metal which comes with a blackened heart and experimentally fuelled provocation. It is a fiercely challenging and rewarding confrontation as evidenced by the band’s debut album All Sights Affixed, Ablaze, eight individual torments which align for one grievous and pestilential seduction of ears and imagination.

Formed in 2011 with a name inspired by the quote from Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 movie Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal), “We must make an idol of our fear and that idol we shall call God”, Idol of Fear made an imposing statement with their 2013 EP Scavenger. It awoke attention but you suspect nothing to that which All Sights Affixed, Ablaze has the potential to ignite. Recorded across 11 months of “fiery personal turbulence and development, musically and otherwise”, the Tore Stjerna (Watain, Corpus Christi) mastered and Jeff Wardell mixed album is a unsettling maelstrom of fierce flavours and expressive invention, merging everything from black and death metal to progressive, occult, and avant-garde experimentation. It is not always an easy listen, and often a test of stamina and the senses, but always All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is a gripping and epic fall into the depths of the band’s raw imagination and sonic voracity.

Opener Vanquish instantly smothers ears in an intriguing and imposing web of enterprise and sound, the guitars of Dave Bach and Austin Myers an immediate blaze of caustic provocation with melodic seducing. This is soon joined by the raw vocal rage of Myers and the rhythmic intimidation unleashed by drummer Doug Belcourt and bassist Johnny. The song instantly allows no escape from its oppressive yet magnetic tenacity, grooves and melodies searing the senses as rhythms bruise and vocals scar. As eventually discovered on all tracks, there is also a fascinating drama to the lyrical and sonic side of the track, as well as a skilled investigation of distinct flavours amidst constant twists. The song also proves that this is an album which needs time to explore, often its real and undoubted treasures lying well beyond its surface storm and violation.

The following Morningstar makes a more merciful entrance but is soon immersing ears in a persistently shifting and ravenous tapestry of corrosive riffery and radiant sonic endeavour. Swiftly cover1an even greater variety of spices are at work on the imagination alongside an inventiveness which manages to assault, stalk, and seduce with sublime efficiency and temptation, the track’s scenic passage of atmospheric resonance and melodic caressing within a rhythmic enslavement quite delicious. Its fluid cold causticity and enthralling beauty makes way for the darker and harsher Circle of Vortices, a scathing and consuming piece of music inflamed by the malevolent tones of Myers. Again though there is radiance to its persuasion and invention, its soundscape harsh but haunting, cold rather than bitter. The track also slips into bewitching melodic scenery, its calm stroking of the senses a hopeful snatch of light before the song again savages emotions.

The album’s title track is a lively jungle of rhythms and fascinating inventiveness within smog of crushing intensity and smothering dark emotion. There is nevertheless a flirtatious element to the song and an unmissable swing which makes it almost joyful and mischievous, certainly in comparison to previous tracks, whilst the following It Demands brings its own addictive predation to the expansive dark of the album. It also prowls with an enticing lure, guitars scything and taunting across a heavy bassline and provocative beats with venomous yet invitational potency. The bordering on picturesque craft and colours sculpted by Bach and Myers transfix throughout but as mentioned time given reveals the full strength and depth of their and the whole band’s ingenuity.

This period of the album ignites the passions most fervently, the next up It Militates with its hunting riffery, anthemic rhythms, and captivating sonic intrusiveness adding another peak to the increasingly impressing album. The song is a real predator, one luring with sinister beauty and ravishing with coarse hunger. Its triumph is followed by the even more hellacious body and soul of It Tyrannizes, a tsunami of erosive intensity and creative barbarity with engrossing melodic tendrils and sonic rapacity across the tempestuous consumption. These are enticing hues harkening the longer calm and elegant reflection which emerge, though all is eventually swallowed by a new twist in the furnace of the narrative’s animosity.

The closing Carrion provides a blackened exploration of raw ambiences and dark forces, its crawling serpentine temptation and sonic resonance a colluding suffocation and primal seduction. It is an absorbing instrumental bringing the fascinating trespass of senses and emotions to an evocative and climactic close.

All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is a testing and demanding proposition but one with lingering and intensive rewards for body and mind. It is an album which no one should judge or rest upon over just one or two listens, but an incitement from Idol of Fear which warrants and deserves numerous dives into its unrelenting sufferance for the most compelling and unique experience.

The self-released All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is available from November 18th via http://idoloffear.bandcamp.com/album/all-sights-affixed-ablaze

http://www.idoloffear.com/

RingMaster 18/11/2014

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Malefice – Gravitas EP

Malefice 2014 Promo

There is always a twinge of excitement when news of a new Malefice release breaks, having been hooked on them via debut album Entities back in 2007, and so it was with the announcement of new EP Gravitas. It was an appetite and anticipation more than forcibly fed by the brutal fury of a release. The EP sees the UK metallers at their most fearsome and uncompromising best. It is a beast of an adventure and assault; hard to say the band’s best rage yet but definitely there on the frontline of their finest moments.

The successor to last year’s V EP and third album Awaken the Tides two years before it, Gravitas finds Malefice going back to the sounds which they feel ignites and is the core of the band. Vocalist Dale Butler talked about the album recently saying, “After taking some time out from the band to do our own things and focus on our own lives we came back together not feeling as we had given all we have to give to Malefice… We spent a long booze-fuelled evening talking about what we want to do and what came out of that discussion is that we want to write music we like…We are going to back to what makes us Malefice and we’re gonna write some fucking heavy music to headbang to.“ There is no doubting their success in that, the release a merciless and inventive brute force but unafraid to vein and spear it with the melodic fire and imaginative tenacity which the band has equally become renowned for in British metal.

There is no escaping the primal fury and angry weight of the EP as opener Forsaken descends on ears with predatory riffs and rhythms, both aspects converging in one intrigue soaked stalking. It is a seriously intimidating proposal with effects teasing the skirting vocals, Butler eventually escaping their restraints to snarl venomously as the song moves into a new aspect of its hunt of the psyche. From that initial harrowing prowl, the track slips into a torrential charge of spicy grooves across cantankerous riffs and murderous rhythms. It is a gripping and savage violation, the guitars of Ben Symons and Andrew Wilson pure spite and invention in their rabid riffery and designs whilst the heavy handed swings of drummer James Pearly Cook are judge, jury, and executioner in their attack on the senses. Completed with the almost carnal tones of Tom Hynes’ bass, the track is a furnace of malice and unfussy yet pungent imagination.Cover

The cauldron of vocal ire and variety from Butler and band is just as feverishly addictive as the sounds brawling around them, second track Heroes providing more of their exploits in its own unique violation. A more merciful start fuelled by fiery melodic enterprise makes a ‘gentler’ welcome though the track is soon barging through ears with nagging riffs and unforgiving rhythms. It tempers and scythes across this tempest though with an outstanding haze of superb clean vocals and just as thick sonic expression, before exploring a mesmeric calm of evocative radiance and melodic charm. It is just the eye of the storm of course, the track soon back in vicious mood and ferocity. There is a feel of Fear Factory to it in some of its parts but ultimately this is a unique and thrilling exploration all of Malefice’s own making

Within a breath Escape is bawling over and brawling with ears, providing another distinct twist to the blaze of the release. Grooves seduce from the first second, scorching the raw and turbulent landscape of the song whilst another array of differing and complimenting vocal diversity grips the imagination giving more potency and depth to the track’s narrative. Swirling and savaging within its towering rhythmic walls, the track is a glorious trespass of senses and emotions.

Gravitas comes to a close with My Design, riffs hunting down the listener with pack like mentality as grooves sear air and flesh with their pestilential temptation and resourcefulness. As it expands and immerses the listener in its lyrical sufferance, the track is a riveting and skilled provocation but lacks the creative spark which ignites the other three tracks on the EP so magnificently. Nevertheless it is an assault drenched in what Malefice is all about, creatively threatening, destructively intense, and driven by pure passion, not forgetting irresistibly thrilling.

Gravitas is a scintillating slab of barbarous majesty reinforcing Malefice as one of the UK’s and Europe’s leading inventive metallers. Earlier we suggested a debate on whether this is the band’s best moment yet; another listen as we write though suggests it just might be and if not, anticipation that the forthcoming new album from Malefice will be is hard to shake off.

The Gravitas EP is available now via Transcend Music @  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/gravitas-ep/id922130758

https://www.facebook.com/maleficeofficial

RingMaster 04/11/2014

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Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars

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Never have open hostility and uncompromising brutality been as elegantly seductive and radiantly fascinating as within The Wreckage of Stars, the debut album from US progressive extreme metallers Black Crown Initiate. Actually that is not quite true as the band’s previous and extraordinary Song of the Crippled Bull EP offered such imaginative daring too but within the album it has bred a new bulk and exploration which is as fearsome as it is gloriously mesmeric. Their entrance was dramatic and startling and now with The Wreckage of Stars, the Pennsylvanian quintet’s emergence is complete, placing them right there side by side with the likes of Between The Buried And Me, The Ocean, and Opeth.

Formed in 2012, the Reading hailing Black Crown Initiate was soon drawing on experiences, individual inspirations, and a vast web of styles to create what is a maelstrom of gripping ingenuity and vicious enterprise. The evidence was immediately audible with the unleashing of Song of the Crippled Bull, an introduction which was as drenched in acclaim as it was in enthralling and unique inventive personality. Its attention grabbing success led to the band securing a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour alongside Goatwhore and Behemoth, as well as the sharing of stages with bands such as Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Rivers of Nihil. Earlier this year Black Crown Initiate signed with eOne and now in tandem go for the psychological jugular and lustful passions with The Wreckage of Stars.

The release opens with Great Mistake and an instantly seducing enticing of melodies. It is an inviting coaxing by the guitars which only gains weight and potency as imposing rhythms and aggressive riffs join its bait. Continuing to warmly lure within the brewing tempest, the song leads the senses into the bestial tones of vocalist James Dorton, every syllable expelled loaded with malice and guttural intensity. Still the song is a seductive persuasion though and intriguingly, it is when the superb clean vocals of guitarist Andy Thomas grasps ears that the track finds itself at its most threatening as the music flares up around him. It is a delicious and surprising outcome, alone revealing so much about the skill and songwriting personality of the band. Across its extensive landscape, the track boils, squalls, and explores mellow intent, every second and twist of the song a new surprise and magnetic contagion, especially the Eastern veining which colours its engrossing finale.

The outstanding start places the album on an early plateau which subsequent tracks either stalk as boldly or certainly flirt with in presence and invention. The following The Fractured One is one hitting similar heights, its immediate BCI_coveragitated predation of tempestuous beats from drummer Jesse Beahler and throaty tempting from the bass of Nick Shaw, an enslaving death metal spiced frame within which the guitars of Thomas and Rik Stelzpflug cast tenaciously imaginative and hostile enterprise. One of the shorter songs on the album, it is an incessant and virulently contagious torrent of barbarous and sonically scorching savagery.

A breather of sorts after the inhospitable onslaught of the previous tack comes with Malignant, its opening of classically honed guitar a caress of calm within the established storm of the album. Guitars nestle creatively up to the imagination straight away though that suggested respite is eventually smothered by the serpentine venom of Dorton’s vocals and a pestilential tsunami of corrosive rhythms and caustic riffery. Of course nothing can be assumed with a Black Crown Initiate track, something learned early on the last EP, and soon the increasingly impressive warm voice of Thomas breaks the wall of maliciousness, aligning itself eventually with a similarly engrossing and graceful weave of melodic design and expression. Though it is restless to return to savaging the senses, the track courts this peace as long and creatively as possible, ensuring the song again leaves expectations a lost cause.

Both the carnivorous ferocity of The Human Lie Manifest and the exhausting technicality of Withering Waves leave senses cowering and imagination basking in majestic aural warfare; the pair, as all songs, parading more of the craft and inventive depths of the band. The second of the two is especially scintillating as extremes of light and dark, animosity and melodic beauty come together in one spellbinding emprise, a mouth-watering adventure matched by the primal and ruinous presence of To The Eye That Leads You. This erupts with a tornado of vocal enmity, the assault at times an inaudible suffocation of intent and lyrical intimidation which in allowing a coarsely veiled clarity to emerge intimidates further. Around it though there is a swing and swagger to the sounds which is no less vicious but does provides an inescapable infectiousness. It is a vat of bad blood and the thrilling dark-side to the climactic and forcibly elegant beauty of the album’s title track. Predominantly instrumental it closes with a vocal union of all sides shown so far on the album, to provoke a new hunger in appetite and thoughts.

There is no escaping the relentless battering and sonic violation uncaged by Shapes Collapse next, the track as so many, no matter how harmful and fierce it impacts on body and senses casting an addictive and seriously enticing infection. It is a constant lure throughout the tempest but especially pungent in the glade of melodic reflection ventured by song and guitars before climbing back into the outskirts of the initial storm.

The album closes with firstly the arresting terrain of Purge, a track which entwines imaginative charm and melodic beauty with voracious and vehement fuelled hostility for a mutually unsettling and seductive examination of ears and emotions. It is succeeded by Linear, a sensational final encounter where under persistent hellacious provocation, the lighter side of the band has full and irresistible rein.

     The Wreckage of Stars is a major triumph proving that the last EP was no flash in the pan but instead just the appetiser to greater sonic alchemy and brutal expression from Black Crown Initiate. Now is the time to explore their brilliant fury, though you can only feel as with their music, there will be no escaping their presence and touch from hereon in anyway.

The Wreckage of Stars is available now via eOne Heavy / Good Fight

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

RingMaster 29/10/2014

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Various Artists – Operation: Underground

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There are nowhere enough compilations albums around these days especially when it comes to unleashing and promoting the potency of the underground scene. The seventies and eighties saw a plethora of important collections bringing impressive introductions to hordes of bands and often making a springboard for those propositions to find healthier and stronger horizons. Today it seems almost a rare treat to be presented with such an encounter, though amongst those which have emerged there have been many impressing releases. Adding to that list of triumphs and setting a template and example for others to follow is Operation: Underground, the new release out of New England independent label Bluntface Records. Consisting of 27 of the most potent attention grabbing extreme metal bands from the world’s underground, it is an outstanding slab of creative hostility and malicious introductions. The fact that it is released as a free download only adds to the might and weight of the uncompromising incitement.

Created and sculpted by label owner Otto Kinzel, himself renowned for his solo work and with his band Chemical Distance, Operation: Underground it is fair to say has no real fillers in its body, something else few releases of this size can claim. It comes with a showcase of quality and talent which demands close attention, exploring everything from black and death metal to grindcore and other varied extreme provocations. The album quite simply goes for the jugular from its opening moment and is unrelenting until the last pleasing violation of its final track.

Operation: Underground gets off to a voraciously impressive start through its opening pair of bands. Hailing from New York, brutal death metallers Abdicate make the first blunt incision with their track Burning Ascendance. Taken from the album Fragmented Atrocities, it is a furious decaying of the senses with grind seeded carnality. Clad with inescapable malice driven by gutturally spewed vocals which themselves are aligned to rampant riffs and a violently rhythmic tenacity, the song instantly chains and enslaves ears and thoughts with its hellacious intensity and scintillating causticity. Perfectly raw and loaded with exciting potential, it is an immense start soon left in the wake of the following Human Decimator. Uncaged by Massachusetts five piece Carnivora, the track from an opening sample lure wraps ears in a venomously addictive groove and angrily cantankerous rhythms. It is a staggering start swiftly pushed on by the outstanding vocals and magnetic signs of guitar and predatory bass baiting. Subsequently entwining groove and thrash in a unique explosion of flavoursome toxic metal, song and band instantly take a swing at top track honours and to be honest never relinquish their hold despite numerous challenges. From the Danvers hailing band’s excellent Eternal album, the song with its predecessor sets a high marker for the album which to be fair it never really strays too far from.

Ireland’s Legion of Wolves comes next with their death metal spawned track Kings Of Tyranny. Taken from recent release Legio Luporum XIV, the song prowls ears and imagination with a black hearted demeanour and similarly coloured sounds. There is a pestilential air and intimidation to every riff and swing of sticks as well as with increasing malice the gruff vocal squalls, but also an emerging melodic craft which transfixes as it tempers the enmity of the track. From the Irish success both US band Goreality with the rapier like corrosiveness of Skin On, Skin Off and Florida’s Echaton keep imagination and satisfaction high, if not quite matching the early songs. The first of the two creates an incessant thrash fuelled death metal rapacity which is as easy crawling over the senses as it is discharging an adrenaline lit trespass whilst its successor with Behold The Nexus offers a more technical premise compared to its barbarous predecessor. Do not expect to have things easy though as the song roars and scythes with jaundiced respect and impressive individual prowess over the senses and into the passions.

Markradonn come next with a track from Final Dying Breath EP called Internal Hate Unbounded. One of metals most individually sounding propositions, the Florida band create an experimental tapestry of death and black metal filtered through a progressive and symphonic rapacity, resulting as the song shows in a startling imagination fuelling encounter. Its ferociously compelling presence is left a little pale though by the caustic sonic irritancy of The Seventh Trumpet Sounds from Arkansas duo Critical Dismemberment. The song is an abrasing and unpolished smog of bad blooded death metal soaked in inventive rancor and appealing potential proving ears with healthy pleasure.

Maine’s Sacrichrist suffer from an unflattering production to their song No Savior to really impress though it does not fully smother a promise which suggests more than it delivers. Nevertheless the track grows in strength and persuasion over time to make the band one to keep an eye on alongside extreme heavy metal quintet Wrathsputin. The Massachusetts band unleash a gripping fury of sonic nastiness and rhythmic bullying in their song A.N.U.S. (A Nation Under Satan), to create another riveting moment in the album, especially with the potent enticement of contagious grooves and melodic spillages which litter the excellent song.

     Green Army from Bangladesh is another to have a diminished success thanks to the poorer recording quality of their song Reborn of the Blackened Phenomenon, though again to be fair it does not stop the accomplished and adventurous skills of the band shining through before The Slip from the excellent Garbage Can takes over. A two-piece from Ottawa, the Canadian band creates an irresistible savagery of slam grind which manages to seduce and scythe through the senses with equal attraction. The song is another setting the loftiest pinnacles on the album definitely not matched for personal tastes by Malcontent Manifestation from Inverticrux. Actually from its first gothic clad doom brewed musical seconds the track flirts with the imagination to reasonably strong success but vocally the New Hampshire band leaves emotions cold and unconvinced, that aspect a maelstrom of textures and styles which will either click for you or not.

Another Irish band in the tasty shape and sound of Syphor step up next, their track For What Remains, from the album of the same name, a predatory blend of thrash and death metal courting many other textures and spices in an 10625117_10202114872106082_8340698001833330811_ninfectiously gripping web of riffs and grooves hosted by great serpentine vocals. The Dublin band easily set themselves as another to explore further as does the ear grabbing Solium Fatalis who follow them. Dead Sands Of Time is a beast of a track, its tone bestial and weight trapping whilst its strenuous grooving and rhythmic animosity spins an inescapable web for thoughts to bask within. Maybe their sound is not rife with originality but certainly the band leaves a hunger for more as insistent as the imposing sounds which breeds it.

Infested Prophecy also fails to a light fire in ears and imagination with Abandon Departure, though there is plenty musically to spark a watch of the Massachusetts band once their blackened malevolence is given a willing production to aid the trio’s musical talent and adventure. Certainly as all the bands they are not lightweight in their offering to the album, the same easily said of both Canada’s Accursed Spawn and Florida’s Prophecy Z14. The first of the pair sear ears with a sonic and rhythmic violence through their song Burned Into Sterility which is as warped and psychotic as it is ridiculously captivating. If wanting some new Cryptopsy or Dying Fetus like sounds then turning to the Ottawa five would be a rewarding move whilst the following protagonists roam and hunt down the senses with a weave of technically driven death metal annihilation to matching success. With a swing and swagger to every element of its tempestuous onslaught, Torn from the Flies is a thought provoking proposal, not as dramatic in its capture as maybe it should be but providing a wholesome and mercilessly ravaging exploit all the same.

New Yorkers Gutted Alive lifts the lid off another stretch of commanding and impressive offerings with their track Force Fed Acid. Arguably the most brutal track on the album it is an addiction fuelled tempest of cruel rhythms punctuating sonic and vocal spite complete with a delicious nagging slingshot of grooves and flesh stripping riffery. The song is a masterful temptation to embrace and fear simultaneously which is matched stride by violent stride by Infection of the Masses from New York sextet Assault on the Living. It also niggles its way in to the psyche, repetitive textures and grooves only adding to the virulent bait and lure of the expansively flavoured sound. One of many bands you immediately feel will not be a secret for much longer they are swiftly emulated in might and quality by My Missing Half. Another foursome from Massachusetts, the Bostonians forge an enthralling canvas of melodic death metal in Empty Dreams which is as enticing with its sonic and melodic colour as it is through its rigorous design of sinew built antagonism. With essences of The Black Dahlia Murder and Between the Buried and Me bringing hues to an otherwise fresh sound and presence, the band add another name to the busy check out list inspired by the album.

Italy’s Symbolyc provide their very palatable style of extreme incitement next, blastbeats and grooves as binding as the alluring vocal predation and melodic veining the stormy heart of 300 Demons. Their fury is as potently enticing as that of German metallers Spreading Miasm and their sonic pestilence The Harvest, a track which is unfussy aural toxicity with every enjoyable twist and violation wished for in an accomplished slab of extreme metal. It also finds an unpredictable invention which lifts a strong song into a great encounter, something not quite discovered by Texans Core of Desolation in their track The Return of Death’s Glorius Design, though it also is not blessed by the most understanding of productions which smothers the chance of greater success as certainly hinted at within the still enjoyable offering.

Operation: Underground begins its closing run with symphonic black metallers Aberration Nexus, the solo project of Chris Meyer from Victoria in Australia. The erosive and immersive embrace of The Solvent That Cleanses The Earth immediately smothers the senses in a melodic expression filtered through a thick atmosphere and sonic rabidity. It is an absorbing if uncomfortable experience pointing to a potential which will flourish ahead with the right touch and scenery for Meyer to grow within. Its strongly satisfying presence makes way for the Egyptian influenced death metal of Romanians Horus, their sound a warm melodic wash over a hostile frame, governed by deep throated vocals. Their track Revelation is an imaginative entwining of symphonic seducing and menacing landscapes which again lays seeds to a keen appetite to learn more before it in turn is followed by the similarly imagination capturing Suffer The Winter from Ohio metallers Vengeance Within. Without courting open originality, song and band cast a shadowed and intrigue rich terrain of potent melodies and jaundiced intensity which casts a widely flavoured and lingering presence to entice more investigation.

The album is closed by Terminality from Californians Dark Measure, yet another band on the release unafraid to explore a merger of styles and ideation to create a fiery and richly appetising conclusion to a tremendous doorway into some of the best emerging bands in extreme metal. Operation: Underground is a thrilling project from a label which lives the independent scene and really does support the cause.

Operation: Underground is available from Tuesday August 26th for free download @ www.bluntfacerecords.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 25/08/2014

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Mutagenocide – Devolve EP

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If UK metallers Mutagenocide have not reached your neck of the woods or gaze yet never fear they are coming with their ferocious and feverishly flavoured sound, certainly if new EP Devolve gets the breaks and attention it deserves. Made up of seven voracious onslaughts which rage and stampede with pure metal aggression, the release unleashes an unpredictability which is as compelling as the invention and array of styles which fuels its adventure. The band has been making a stir across the metal underground in the UK and now Devolve suggests the time is ripe for the quintet to find a wider intensive attention.

Oxford based, Mutagenocide showed their intent and brewing depth of sound with a self-titled debut in 2012, the four track EP a potent reinforcement of their already keenly followed and recognised live performances. Now the line-up of vocalist Jay Taylor, guitarists Pat Scott and Paul Clayton, bassist Tom Greenway, and drummer Ben Wilsker pounce with a provocation which suggests they are ready to stir up a countrywide hunger with the potential to fuel attention much further afield.

From the first swipe of sonic belligerence over a persistently winding flume of guitar, opener Hysteria has ears and appetite wide awake. It is a dramatic entrance which is soon twisted into a tempestuous charge of thrash bred antagonistic DEVOLVE COVERriffing and vicious rhythmic hostility, this ridden by the caustic vocal squalls of Taylor. But as is a constant across the whole release, it is merely a moment in an evolving landscape, grooves and addictive hooks as well as subsequent progressively seeded ideation, veining and working its way into the heart of the fierce and impressive incitement.

The immense start is swiftly emulated and surpassed by the title track, it also an immediate fury and explosive assault through ears. A melodic and progressive teasing plays within the demanding surge before merging into an addictive web of tenacious grooving and venomous melodic metal coaxing. It is a blistering mix which again seems to find a new avenue to investigate and contagious bait to expel within the unrelenting voracity of the song. It is a brilliant encounter which is full of drama and intrigue, incendiary craft and seductive predation, but most of all sheer compelling invention.

     Entombed and Swallowed makes a reserved entrance next, a guitar painting an emotive hue into an evocative atmosphere which carries no threat yet has an air of foreboding to it. It is the same as a melodic wind of progressive rock spicing opens up its narrative, guitars impressing with every expressive note but the darker shadows of the bass ensures a portentous tempering is lurking. That darkness seeps into the growing weight and punch of the rhythms before fuelling a corrosive maelstrom of acidic sonic endeavour, acutely jagged riffery, and an increasing spite to the commanding swings of Wilsker. Like a brawl instigated by Lamb of God and Sybreed with thoughts of Cambion also making their hints, but an aggressor with the poise and exploratory expression of melodic metal and the emprise of post metal, the track is a riveting blaze of adversarial emprise. It is soon outshone though by the similarly cultured but rigorously individual Half-Born, it’s closing seduction before a corrosive finale alone passion firing but as a whole proposition the song is a startling and ruggedly imposing and shifting triumph.

     Remeron Nightmares with its stomping thrash sculpted entrance and Wretched bring the release to a mighty conclusion. The first proceeds to spin a malevolent web of precision crafted inhospitable toxicity encased in a simultaneously intimidating and alluring storm, its presence as primal as it is intensively honed. Equipped with a familiar swagger, a sonic invention which leaves lips licked, and a primal virulence the track is a monstrous treat. The same which can almost be said about its successor, a final enthralling furnace of raw and hellacious enterprise which whilst lacking the stature and uniqueness of its predecessors, is still a mighty end to an outstanding triumph.

There is very little to put up against the Stu Mckay (Malevolence, Desolated, Ingested, Annotations Of An Autopsy, Eternal Lord) recorded and Tim Turan (Nuclear Blast, Candlelight Records) mastered release though a bit more variety to the admittedly excellent vocal delivery of Taylor would be welcome and interesting. It is a minor thing in a big thrilling step from Mutagenocide, a band you can expect to hear and see a lot more of ahead.

The Devolve EP is available now @ http://www.mutagenocide.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/mutagenocide

9/10

RingMaster 15/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Of warriors and hungry shadows: an interview with Jonas Albrektsson of King of Asgard

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Since its start in 2008, Swedish metal band King of Asgard has grown in presence and ingenuity with an accompanying potency of acclaim brewing alongside their impressive endeavours. Previous albums Fi’mbulvintr of 2010 and …to North two years later, bred an impressed and continually strengthening recognition but new album Karg is where the band’s expressively flavoursome blend of blackened metal with folk instincts looks like drawing the widest canvas of ears and appetites. With a broad invention and sound which at times needs a focused attentiveness to discover all its unique qualities, the album easily pushes the band into a new spotlight. We had the pleasure to explore the roots and depths of King of Asgard, as well as the new proposition from the band with bassist Jonas Albrektsson who kindly spared time for us to talk about….

Hello Jonas and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Hi Pete, and thanks for supporting us. Cheers

Before we delve into new album Karg, can we ask about the beginnings of the band, its foundation and the intent behind its first steps?

King of Asgard was formed by Karl Beckman, joined by Karsten Larsson in short time as a continuation of their predecessor band Mithotyn, a band which both Karl and Karsten were in. The longing of getting back to the roots and close to where it all (Mithotyn) ended got King of Asgard started, preferably in a new shape and with a new approach. As time went and the band evolved, King of Asgard became a sole creation standing proud on its own foundation which probably also became more evident when I joined in on bass and as a creative force. Later on Lars Tängmark came into picture as well to fill in and strengthen the line-up. So King of Asgard has reminiscence of what once was but has taken its own turns and led to something of its own yet with the past still, for obvious reasons, present. That’s in short how it all got started and from there on our three albums guide the way. Also check our biography presented at the Metal Blade web page for further digging.

Norse mythology is an open inspiration to your music and lyrics, was this a determined aspect from day one with the band and what inspired your interest in it personally as well as creatively?

Yes it pretty much was as such. As said above this was at first thought a continuation of Karl and Karsten’s musical past which was derived from Norse mythology concepts, the Viking heritage and the overall ancestral past. So I would say the main concept for inspiration was a determined choice but we’ve loosened up during the years and are not that forced to stay within those frames, though our name suggests that at first glimpse of course. So this was the case, at least that’s how it was in the beginning but times change and so did our music and lyrical approach. Karg for example to some extent deals with what previous albums have done, Norse mythology, the sagas and the age it reflect, but not close to what was on the debut for example. On this one we went much closer to our own immediate historical presence and also totally out of subject and I think this will be more realised in the future to come. The actual interest and inspiration I think we just got natural through our upbringing so it’s there just to grab and pick it up. It’s a great treasure and indeed a great source of inspiration for what we do and create.

Was the emergence of King Of Asgard in 2008 a swift realisation from an idea or was it something which had been brewing in thoughts of Karl for a while even whilst in other projects? king-of-asgard_photo01

King of Asgard has long before realisation been present in Karl’s thoughts and he has always wanted to pick something like this up but for several reasons never been able to do so until 2008. We’re close friends, me and him, so I know before King of Asgard he’s been talking about it several times and I’m glad he finally got his shit together and made reality out of his longing. It wasn’t that serious to begin with but after the demo was recorded I know he really was focused and eager. This was also the period when he first started nagging on me to join which took some time but I’m glad I finally did. So, Karl really ‘brewed’ on this constellation for a long time, probably since the day Mithotyn shut their business down. To sum it up I would say King of Asgard was formed way before in Karl’s mind and is a project stained with devotion and heart.

How do you see the band now against those early days not only in sound and presence but in its direction and intent?

I think we just keep on working from where we left off of our past creations and further on into our own development without really looking back. What happens is probably that it turns more and more into our own style as we write what we personally gets satisfied doing, creating our own sound. This album took quite a while before we felt where to turn from whence things just automatically took shape. The sound and material on Karg is much more stripped down and riff based which makes a somewhat new approach for being King of Asgard but I really feel this is where we feel most safe and personally satisfied. We kind of step back and rely on power combined with epic moments. The development between all three albums and the time duration has been very natural and when thinking of it one can actually hear what’s going on and the direction is somewhat clear. We’ve accomplished much and conquered some and reached our own identity but more needs to be adjusted. What’s important is not to get stagnant and still feel we have a direction and intent for doing King of Asgard and I feel we still do.

We are mentioning your just released third album Karg, how has its realisation differed from its predecessors Fi’mbulvintr of 2010 and …To North two years later?

I guess the thing is we’ve found a good and safe way of working which feels really pleasant. We’re these days very confident on what we do and do our thing from the heart, not trying to please others expectations, though we of course appreciate it if people like what we do ha-ha. Karl and I put the material together of which he writes the most, we structure and record pre-productions and so forth so there’s really a lot of thought behind all our stuff but still there can come spontaneous ideas in the studio for example. So we’re much more focused and structured in the writing process these days than in say pre the debut album but I guess such is also natural and grows within a band as time goes. So speaking of Karg it all went very smooth at least when we got inspired and the creative force got started. We know how to deal with things these days and are fully prepared before entering the studio and such so that the recording also will be as focused and held on maximum grade. We always want to improve and do our very best even if it many times faces hard struggle.

What about its inspirations and its growth in sound compared to the earlier albums for you?

Guess much of this already been discussed more or less but I think what is most evident is that it is more true to ourselves. We obviously never tried to be the most progressive nor innovative act, not at all but rather looked back and paid tribute to our own heroes and influential sources. We create music we ourselves appreciate listening to which I believe has grown more into our sound and at the same time built our foundation. I think on Karg we reached the point where we are most personal in sound and that sound being King of Asgard with full force and with identity. We don’t think that much or plan on the direction we want to turn, we rather follow our own intuitions and the result is what comes out of it but run with a thorough and careful hand.

KingOfAsgard-KargThe album title Karg is the Swedish for barren; did the name come after its making as a reflection of the songs within the release or was it the seed from which ideas and the atmosphere of the album grew?

It started off in all sorts of directions but once the first say two songs were close to finish we knew where we were heading with the material for this album. By this time we also came up with the album title, Karg, which by its mere significance has formed and influenced the atmosphere through the whole process, musically, lyrically as well as when considering art and pictures etc. We wanted it to sound bare, sterile and infertile combined with what one usually associates King of Asgard with…the absence of bliss. So it was probably both ways, we went with the flow as it started in the beginning of the writing process as well as we were determined of a certain goal. It was mostly a seed which grew into Karg, an interesting way to work actually.

It is arguably a more challenging and raw proposition than its predecessors in many ways, is that something you see and deliberately worked for or it arose more organically?

I think it came intentionally with the approach we strived for and the atmospheres we wanted to build. Our previous albums have been much more accessible in terms of melodies and song structure. This time around it’s still there but takes quite a few more spins to get the grip and comprehend the material. It was not a sole purpose to come to but rather just went that way and it’s more a reflection of us as persons. Karg is a more mature and honest album than the other two and a proof we’ve somewhat reached an identity of our own. It’s both ways of what you aim for here, we wanted it to sound a specific way and thus we deliberately worked in such direction as well as having it come our way naturally, allowing it to happen.

Do you see this as a breath to your music which will continue certainly into the next release(s) or are you a band which allows each batch of songs to find their own character within your ideas and musical exploration?

I think it will continue as well as develop. We don’t plan much but rather follow our instincts though within the frames of King of Asgard of course. It’s always hard to predict the future but for how I feel the work for Karg went, we will most likely still follow this newly discovered path. I don’t think we did such a radical change though but as said before, we’re in the phase where we’ve found ourselves musically and conceptually and really enjoy what we do as well as what we achieve and generate.

Lyrically do you go looking for tales and myths to brew your ideas from or is it things leap out and demand attention more often than not.

It’s all different depending on occasion. But mainly I would say I come across a subject or whatever I want to illustrate and from there start digging in detail to obtain as much facts or information on it as possible. Further I recollect, pen it down and assemble, try to structure and make it rhythmic, on and of back and forth. But, on the other hand, the lyrics that Lars writes is rather the opposite I think, he just spews it out and what comes around goes around ‘til of course it has to somewhere connect to our conceptual worth. Also some things come easier as for this album where many songs are based on and around our own immediate surroundings. So in a way we’re then using our ancestral path as inspiration as well as we give it our reverence; we’ve heard the tales and seen the sites since early childhood so it comes natural for us to use to bring out to others.

How do you feel your songs relate to the modern world and its conflicts etc., and is that something the band bears in mind when writing lyrics or do you just concentrate on the landscape emerging across tracks and releases from their seed idea primarily?

We’re all about looking backwards, ha-ha, we concentrate and reflect upon myths and sagas and our own historical presence…our heritage and ancestral path. Sure there are once in a while some that relate to modern times which could be religious mockery or things that could be related to in modern society and the struggles in daily life. We don’t really have any plan on what and how things such as this are going to be like on the albums as the songs stand alone. We neither have frames we have to stay inside and that’s pretty clear when checking the variety out on the songs for Karg which is more wide spread than ever before. I think it’s good to leave it open and still be able to reflect upon other things than just Viking era or Norse mythology…this of course being a big part of us but not solely. For conflicts, political and what not, these are subjects I don’t see or think we’ll ever dig into as that’s not really our thing or something we’d like to bring into the concept of King of Asgard.

Did you approach the recording of Karg this time around compared to previous releases?

It more or less has been in the same way. We got much studio experience even before King of Asgard and know what needs to be taken care of to be able to get the stuff on tape in the most effective way. As we’ve now also worked with Andy and Sonic Train Studios for the third time we know how to be prepared and what to expect. Entering with Karg I guess the working process was pretty much the same as the predecessors but in a way more confident and even more prepared one. We know what we need to work more on and know how to face obstacles which we’ve learned on the two previous sessions. So things work the same just way more professional and effective and also we now feel safe and experiment more on the sound.

Does the band like to take finished songs into the recording process or like to give them room in that scenery to expand and develop further?

More or less everything is finished in detail before we get into the studio; even pre-productions of the songs are recorded. But sure we have them open for new ideas and interpretations which often come up when you are in the studio recording. The last song was finished just a few weeks before entering Sonic Train Studios but nothing’s set until it’s on the master and delivered. We constantly change things during the writing process going back and forth. Same goes for the recording, things that pop up like background choir, guitars in different harmonies and stuff like that are carefully taken care of. This is also much do to the fact we got limited studio time and thus we need everything done and planned to be able to reach our goal. It’s of course a pity and somewhat frustrating not being able to finalize all ideas and try new ones in the studio but that’s how it is when finances run the whip.

How does the songwriting generally play out within the band?king-of-asgard_photo02

Karl and I are responsible for the songwriting. We work close together on all ideas and put everything together from the first until the last stage. He writes the most and the main parts and I bring in the details and structure everything, along with him of course. It works really well as we know each other very well and complete each other with our slightly different background and musical directions. All in all it turns into King of Asgard. From there on we bring it to the rehearsal place and further adjustments are being made along with the other guys. It’s always under construction and nothing’s set until the day of recording but I would say the songs are close to album structure before we enter the studio with both music and the words put upon it.

You mentioned earlier that the album was recorded with Andy LaRocque at Sonic Train Studios, as your previous albums. Obviously you guys get on well with him and he understands something which brings your sounds alive as imagined?

I guess he does. It’s a steady relationship we’ve built up and it’s a comfortable and a somewhat safe choice to enter Sonic Train as we’ve got limited recording time in the studio. We have returned to Andy because it is very, as said, comfortable and great to work both with him as person, engineer and co-producer in his studio and also this time we also got to work with his co-worker Olof Berggren. We have built a strong partnership where both parties are pleased and work very effectively together. We are both driven to constantly take King of Asgard a step further and with Andy as co-producer it gives us a lot and we push ourselves constantly to the ultimate. It has never been said though that it is the only studio for King of Asgard. It’s just the way it has turned out and the future will show where the next turn will take us. Andy is an awesome dude who has the right tools for us as a band to use and thus to accomplish what we want to achieve. Our visits get more relaxed and at the same time more professional and more effective. We enjoy working with Andy, as does he with King of Asgard…a great combination and basic foundation for an even greater production where he makes realization of our visions.

Playing Devil’s Advocate and talking generally do you feel that possibly working with the same person in the same place runs the risk of familiarity and too safe a feel for a release? Not, we hasten to say, that this applies to Karg ha-ha.

Sure this could easily happen but we have considered it well before going on another round as we’ve returned to work with same studio, cover artist and photographer. For us it was rather strengthening us as we know somewhat where we end up and what we have to face as our frames are limited and thus we have to work hard to get the best result out of it and not run into mistakes. But for sure it’s a risk one takes and we know it is and up until now we’ve conquered it and also discussed this topic so we’ll see what will happen next on this matter. It’s a risky business, ha-ha.

What comes next for King of Asgard?

Unfortunately there are no tours nor festivals planned at this moment; not the best time of the year to release a new album. Anyway, right now we’re putting all our focus on the release of the album which was just around the past corner, a lot of promotion to be done and still coming in. We’ll hopefully get our shit together and do some shows in the short distance and so forth. Most likely we’ll also starting to write some new material as soon as we feel the time’s right and I know Karl’s already begun.

Once again thanks you for sharing your time and words with us; any last thoughts you would like to end with?

Our pleasure, thanks for the support! Keep checking in on our channels, make sure to pick up Karg which now is unleashed upon thee in all possible formats!

Horns up you all followers of the King and first and foremost, Pete and the Ringmaster Review. Cheers!

 

Read the review of Karg @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/king-of-asgard-karg/

http://www.kingofasgard.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 14/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Deconstructing Sequence – Access Code

ds band

Immersing the imagination in a journey which is at times as bewildering and exhausting as it is evocatively enlightening, Access Code, the new EP from UK metallers Deconstructing Sequence is a spellbinding challenge of an adventure. Comprising of two tracks which weave strains and toxins of everything from black and extreme to progressive and avant-garde metal, the release is a startling and breath-taking creative emprise. Easily accessible yet imposingly challenging, intricately woven yet consuming ears in a maelstrom of intensive rapacity, Access Code is a masterly confrontation which sets the Taunton based trio as one of, if not, the most exciting prospect in the UK metal scene.

The beginnings of Deconstructing Sequence came from the demise of black/death metal band Northwail, who had relative success with the albums Enigma and Cold Season in 2008 and 2011 respectively. From the ashes of that band, members Morph (guitar, vocals, sequencing and synthesis) and Tiberius (lead guitar, bass, vocals) decided to continue exploring progressive and avant-garde regions of extreme music with a new project, that being Deconstructing Sequence. Taking inspiration from the likes of Emperor, Nile, Arcturus, Dødheimsgard, and God is an Astronaut, the pair has proceeded to sculpt a uniqueness of sound which they describe as Extreme Progressive Art. Next the band enlisted drummer J. Nerexo, also of Shadows Land, and forged debut EP, Year One with their combined ingenuity and imagination which Access Code now pushes further whilst threatening to thrust the band to the fore of European metal. It is a proposition which brings an innovative and invigorating presence to numerous genres and a creative alchemy to ears.

The release opens with A Habitable World is Found, a track which according to the band “is a space-opera metaphor for search of a place on this world, a path that leads to completion of one’s self. It’s also a statement of our musical ds coverway, an opening act of chapter two of the odyssey.” Riffs make the first rigorous persuasion from within the track, their almost bitter textures startling and incendiary. Around them a sonic brew of invention warms its hands before descending on ears and imagination whilst those imposing riffs and a rhythmic battering led by equally caustic vocal growls intimidatingly spawn their specific furnace of attractive yet destructive bait. The twin vocal assault in its relentlessly varied delivery from the band founders is as gripping and unpredictable as the now in full flight tempest of sound and ideation. To be honest the track is as difficult to portray in words as it is unpredictable in sound and enterprise, additives of post punk and post rock endeavour just a few of the flames adding to the continuously intriguing and bewitching soundscape. As proven by the track alone, handful of listens still barely scratches the surface of the song’s depths and unrelenting ingenuity, ensuring each dive into its ravenous structures and agitated imagination of sound and skilled musicianship is a freshly rewarding experience.

Second track We Have The Access Code, is an immediate scrub of sonic acidity and rhythmic hostility which again is as seducing in its presence as it is venomously uncompromising. As its predecessor, the track is a merciless turbulence of sound and creative rabidity but whereas the first has a fluid and seamless evolution even in its most agitated and ferocious moments, the second song brings a bedlamic and discord fuelled frenzy which clashes and sparks against the senses and itself for another ridiculously compelling and scintillating proposition. Also employing a haunted and stark post punk essence within its melancholic shadows as well as electro spiced causticity, the song is equally unafraid to entwine a torrent of flavours and insatiably rabid creativity around its bordering on maniacal walls and charm.

Access Code is invention at its most damaging, arousing, and brilliantly animated best, extreme metal with a new intent and breath which sets Deconstructing Sequence not only apart from the rest but as a template for others to find inspiration in.

The self-released Access Code EP is available now @ http://dsprogart.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeconstructingSequence

10/10

RingMaster 12/08/2014

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