Master – The Witchhunt

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Eleven albums in with the twelfth upon us, US death metal pioneers Master shows no signs of letting up or taking their creative feet off of the pedal from continuing to make one of the most inspiring potent impacts on the genre. The Witchhunt is their latest phenomenal scourge of the freshest contagious grooves and sonic temptation crafted within an insidious web of bone shuddering rhythms and predatory corrosive riffing.

Since being formed thirty years or so ago by vocalist/bassist Paul Speckmann and drummer Bill Schmidt, the pair meeting when the latter was brought into the former’s band at the time War Cry, the Chicago hailing band has helped sculpt and drive US death metal whilst influencing the genre across its extensive field. The band’s start was not quite a fluid event with the pair struggling to find a suitable guitarist. This led to Schmidt joining Mayhem Inc. and Speckmann starting up Death Strike which used some of the songs intended for Master.  Eventually Speckmann reunited with Schmidt in Death Strike which was subsequently renamed Master and its history truly began. Across their previous swarm of albums the band has continued to enthral and impress, let along incite and inspire many others, their releases never less than gripping and often acclaimed pinnacles of death metal. The trio of Speckmann, guitarist Alex Nejezchleba, and drummer Zdenek Pradlovsky now unleash another undoubted peak with The Witchhunt. Released via FDA-Rekotz, the release comes with a raw and coarse texture which you can imagine will not be for all but certainly brings an intensity and caustic breath which only accentuates the potency and venom coursing through the album’s veins.

The title track starts of the irrepressible temptation, riffs rhythms seizing the ear as a toxic groove permeates the synapses with MASTER_The_Witchhunt_cover_300dpiridiculously addictive bait. Barely a minute into the track with the vocals of Speckmann squalling nastily over the lure, song and album has hunger alight. Settled into its torrential assault the track does lose some of its surprise impact but offers an intensive unrelenting suasion of heavy shadowed urgency and sonic flames instead. It only accentuates the strength and call of the song, the band still yet refreshingly creating their trademark fusion of old school Motorhead, Venom, and early Slayer corruptive death metal enterprise.

The following Plans Of Hate continues the ridiculously addictive climate of sound and aggression if without matching the immense impact of the first. Grooves and imaginative guitar fire spirals across the plain of intensive provocation, whilst the gait of the track is juggernaut like and fuelled with high grade rapaciousness right through to its final swipe before Another Suicide parades its lumbering intensive pads of sound split with wonderfully niggling sonic rabidity and that vocal maliciousness and scurrilous delivery distinct to Speckmann.

The album continues to increase its grip on the senses and passions, getting better with each subsequent track with Waiting to Die next devouring ears and thoughts with its chugging thrash bred resourcefulness and contagious swagger. It alone confirms that the band still has the instinctive ability to create songs which ravage and annihilate whilst taking the listener on an impossible to resist ride of pure infectiousness and impossibly addictive sonic temptation. The guitar imagination which flails the song later on is equally as delicious and bewitching, ensuring every wants and needs of the appetite are catered for. The likes of The Parable with its swarming predation and the smothering, almost suffocating rampage of God of Thunder twist the passions taunt around their sinews and breath-stealing toxic crusades; the constant waspish grooves and sonic stings stalking the senses through the embroiling rhythmic barrage of invention and violence. Equally tracks such as the exceptional and transfixing Remove the Clowns, a song which shows more compelling twists and sonic curves than a pole dancer, and the Motorhead similar Wipe out the Aggressor, well until it unchains grooves and enticements which should be illegal such their addiction, leave the deepest greed for the album’s presence and corruption.

Manipulated to Exterminate sees Speckmann offering a spoken narrative alongside his usual excellent pestilence of a delivery which brings the lyrical side of the song more to the fore. It has to be said that lyrically the album is a bit of the blur but that is more to do with the epidemically narcotic pull of the distracting sounds; with close attention the word side of things is generally as firm as the maelstroms raging around them. The outstanding track is another major highlight in nothing but peaks with the closing furnace of The American Dream a matching destructive conclusion to one beast of a thrilling release.

The band continues to set benchmarks and certainly The Witchhunt will be another marker for fans and bands alike. The album is easily one of the most impressive and enjoyable extreme metal releases of the year, though do we really expect anything else from Master?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Master/18521536017

9.5/10

RingMaster 27/09/2013

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Graveyard Of Souls – Shadows of Life

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The debut album from Spanish metallers Graveyard Of Souls is an intensive and powerful experience which takes the listener on a journey through at times exhausting but perpetually enthralling melodic death and doom soundscapes. Shadows of Life certainly makes you work for your rewards at times, its heavy breath and rapacious imagination brought under a uniformal predatory crawling surface of intensity, but given the effort and time emerges as a very promising and satisfying proposition.

References to the likes of Paradise Lost and Tiamat have already fallen upon the album and there is little to spark disagreement with those thoughts across the nine track encounter. Released via FDA Rekotz, Shadows of Life unveils emotive and breath-taking atmospheres within melancholic and often suffocating ambiences and provocation. Throughout though there are melodic flames which seduce and wrap their sonic invention around senses and thoughts, persuasive depths and textures working tirelessly and dramatically to seduce within violent intensity. As mentioned it is not an instant persuasion needing multiple journeys to reveal all its thoughtful and passionate essences and at times almost defies itself with a sonic monotony to its embrace, but eventually it proves to be one pleasing slab of aural temptation.

From the so-so intro Genesis, the album gets to work in capturing the imagination with its title track, a warm beckoning ambienceGOS_Cover_Web punctured by guitar stabs evolving into persistent riffs and inviting melodic lures. With crisp rhythms slowly adding their frame the guttural vocals lay their heavy ponderous coarse presence into the already intriguing equation. With the keys adding their descriptive hue to the dark narrative and guitars carving steadily and with emotive impact across the ear, the track makes for an imaginative and welcome adversary. At times the union of venom soaked vocals and black hearted shadows sounds with the seductive melodic elements is initially not easily accessible but whilst the dispute is adding further dramatic texture to the track it eventually proves its case.

Both Dreaming of Some Day to Awake and Memories of the Future (We Are) explore deeper impacting and darker realms, the first through enchanting yet smothering atmospheric structures, the air rich with acidic elegance and devouring emotion whilst the second  of the two seeks and expels a bestial hunger to its invading intensity. It has a darker carnivorous fascination compared to its equally alluring predecessor, the fall through its ravenous breath and evocative clawing at the senses guided by impressive melodic flames and riveting primal suggestiveness. There are also elements of eighties goth to its sinewy embrace with at times Sisters Of Mercy making whispers within the incisive progressive/classic metal weave.

As Follow Me continues the intrigue, the recognition that the album not being suitable for ‘light’ listening is open, glances from the ear only discovering a generally raw and similar sonic bluster and breath across the surface of most songs but there is plenty awaiting and rewarding for those bold enough to dive into the hungry seas of the songs, their invention and musical craft undeniable. Whether the production could have helped more to bring the underbelly of songs nearer the sizzling surfaces it is hard to say but with its caustic approach exposing the excellent passion and intensity of the release it is hard to be too critical.

One of the biggest highlights surprisingly comes with the cover of the Tears For Fears song, Mad World. The track has never sounded better than in the doom clad death soaked hands of Graveyard Of Souls. They have reinvented and made the it their own, so much so that it took a minute or so to confirm it was the song it was. As voracious yet consuming as a tsunami, the track is a thrilling unexpected treat, guitars and bass sculpting new shadows and emotions for the song whilst the scarring vocals bring a distinctly unique and savage interpretation to the classic.

Through the excellent Solitude’s My Paradise, the track a sobering but contagious furnace of aggressive and melodic ravenous fire, and the equally infectious Dead Earth, arguably the lightest and most accessible song on the album, the appetite for the band rises with further greed whilst the closing There Will Come Soft Rains soothes all the lesions and ruptures on the senses with a sonic mist of melodic beauty. Though the corrosive vocals for the only time on the album do not work within the elegance for personal tastes it proves not to be a fatal flaw for a great piece of imagination.

Not a flawless album for sure but Shadows of Life is an impressive introduction to the band and its inventive songwriting and sound. As the album eats and inspires thoughts and emotions there is only a single assumption at large, that this is the start of something much bigger.

www.facebook.com/graveyardofsouls

8/10

RingMaster 21/06/2013

 

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Screaming Finalities: an interview with Jimmy Lundqvist of Entrails

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

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

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

Hi

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

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

A little bit of both I would say…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What comes next for Entrails?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/06/2013

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Entrails – Raging Death

entrails main pic for promo by Emelie M. Hellden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/Entrails666

8/10

RingMaster 14/05/2013

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Bovine – The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire

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Brawling, squalling, and impossibly contagious, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is an album which charms and harms the senses for easily one of the most thrilling and exciting albums this year. Its sculptors are UK rockers Bovine, a band who has set another bench mark within the realm of exhausting sludge, rapacious heavy rock, and predatory progressive metal alchemy. Released via FDA Rekotz, their new album is a scintillating and threatening tempest of insatiable invention and primal aggression fused into an even greater storm of muscular sounds and equally imposing intensity brought with a sonic persuasion as addictive as it is viciously imaginative.

Tapping up the keen essences of the likes of Mastodon, Kyuss, Black Tusk, and Soundgarden and twisting them into veining for their own startling invention, Bovine has created a brute of an album which is forever evolving and turning on the senses for an unpredictable and compellingly enthralling confrontation. With melodies and barbed hooks as lethal and addictive as the primal rhythms and carnivorous riffing, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is nothing less than an album of the year contender.

From the short opening ambient instrumental Barium, there is little warning of what is to follow, its dawning haunting atmosphere255275_477420662275813_1151896898_n a portent of something sinister yet undefined. What does step from its chilled shadows is the rapacious assault Ghost Chair, a track bruising the ear within a short breath of time with crippling rhythms from drummer Damon Cox and the scything and searing guitars of Marcus VVulfgang and Thomas Peckett. Within their encounter on the senses the bass of Christophe Schaunig prowls and leers with pure intimidation whilst the vocals of VVulfgang roar and soar across the attack with a clean but snarling might. Across its blistering presence the shifts in pace and energy are demanding with equally rich rewards, the greed of the guitars and drums insatiable as is their inventive rage whilst all the while that bass stalks and hounds with a resonating beauty.

From the staggering start things only crave and succeed in grabbing a bigger slice of the passions firstly with Thank Fuck I Aint You and then Heroes Are What. The first of the pair is a blaze of towering rhythmic persuasion and burning sonic voraciousness with an urgency to brand the senses with scorching melodic mastery and crushing riffs bound in a ravenous expulsion of bone splintering rhythms and gluttonous intensity. The track devours the ear and beyond, finding an absence of resistance for its appetite in return. The second of the pair takes all that came before and stops it in its tracks, the acoustically led emotive caress with equally expressive vocals a smouldering invitation. This is just its opening gambit though and a minute into its journey the song unleashes another tirade of malevolent rhythmic bombardment from Cox and a furnace of caustic sonic fire. Like the previous songs the stoner/sludge like components are an open vein yet the pulverising onslaught of every atom of the track is an intensely textured maelstrom of diverse and  riveting sounds, peel them away layer by layer and the eclectic and resourceful invention in place is as riveting and impressive as the overall results.

The title track emerges with Cox and Schaunig in control, the metronomic demanding of the drums courted by the bestial throaty grizzle of the bass. A shimmering heat soon is expelled by the guitars to offer a sultry caress to the commanding core, the union leading into a fuller flame of irresistible brilliance. Arguably with a recognisable yet impossible to define breath to its voice, the track is a grunge lilted crawl over the ear with climatic crescendos of seismic intensity and another major highlight on the release which hands over to a fellow conspirator in securing long-term ardour. The Battle Of The Sinkhole is a sensational carnal consumption with an invidious swagger to its debilitating corrosive attack. Again there is something familiar at work but mere intrigue to the enormous rage of malicious beauty at play. As with all tracks the progressive persuasion ensures its voice is heard to bring further mesmeric temptation to the infernal intrusion, and as the song offers its full abrasion things really can get no better.

Of course the likes of I Will Make You Real and Military Wife disagree, both songs making their own distinct and voracious declaration. Across the whole of the album the variety and diversity of sound and imagination is as enrapturing as the sounds and this pair is no different, the first seducing thoughts and passions with a twisting spiral of sonic grooves and scarring riffs with the drums beating a submission out of the listener with jolting invention which borders on emotional and physical affray whilst the second opens up its stoner cauldron for a breath taking excursion through fervent sonic and melodic passional ferocity.

As the equally stunning Not Another Name brings the aural convulsion of invention and bewitching imagination to a close with arguably its finest moment, though admittedly that choice changes constantly, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is a release you cannot escape from and the temptation to re-enter its torrents of delicious abuse impossible to refuse. If there has been a better senses battering passion feeding album this year so far we missed it but doubt that there will be many this year which will rival Bovine’s exceptional release.

http://www.facebook.com/bovinemusic

10/10

RingMaster 13/04/2013

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Deus Otiosus: Godless

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.deus-otiosus.com

RingMaster 19/11/2012

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Deserted Fear – My Empire

Easily one of the more impressive debuts to turn up this year, My Empire from German death metalers Deserted Fear easily sets the band up as one to watch closely over the years ahead. Finding their influences and inspiration in the early nineties scene the band amass classic American and Scandinavian death metal into a warring corruption upon the senses. It does not break down boundaries or forge new avenues but as an accomplished and well structured use of existing armories of sound it is impressive and imaginative.

From Eisenberg/Thuringia, the band formed in 2008 and from the release of their first demo two years later, and first live shows, took no time in building a loyal fan base. At the end of last year the band decided to record their debut album and approached Dan Swanö who subsequently mixed and mastered My Empire at Unisound Studio. The band then reached an agreement with FDA Rekotz for the release of the album, an unleashing which should thrust the band into the view of a welcoming worldwide audience. The album certainly deserves full exposure, its thunderous and intense sounds leaving only satisfaction and intrigue for more ahead behind them.

There have been a fury of bands to appear over recent months and years to pull on the past with varying success, those seeding days still inspiring a wealth of new hearts, but what sets Deserted Fear apart is they never tread predictable roads. Yes as mentioned there are not ground breaking but each one of their songs develops an individual character amongst themselves and to their contemporaries, each pulsating with inventive guitar play, keenly crafted and compulsive enterprise, and most of all quite simply impressive ideas and musicianship. Not one song offers a familiarity to another and all captivate with their precise and thoughtful soundscapes.

The album opens with Intro, a minute long premise setting with daunting foreboding ambience and dawning intimidating atmospheres, the first breath of the battle or confrontation ahead. So many bands now use this device to open up their releases that it is rare anything is particularly new or surprising, the same here, but there is something thrilling to that sense of impending danger, though many bands then fail to live up to the promise, not something you can accuse Deserted Fear of.

The Battalion Of Insanities marches, or rather stomps with a stormy mass through the ear, its riling riffs a forceful scurry as the beats of drummer Simon Mengs jab and punch with sharp and unbridled aggression. As the track leaves its caustic brawl over the senses vocalist Manuel Glatter scours the depths of his venom to growl with deep caustic effect. His delivery though is not overpowering and as with everything on the album, it is blended perfectly into the sonic tempest, as are his and Fabian Hildebrandt’s sparking guitar/bass strikes. The touch of Swanö is so evident and shows any aspiring band they can do little wrong by waiting and trying to fund a recording with someone who understands and knows how to expand their music.

The following Pestilential rages like a bush fire, its energy crackling under the thrash driven riffs and tightly wound melodic veins, the riffs drilling their way deeper as the song progresses to bring a total captivation by its final slap around the ear. It is a step on from the impressive start, and the first to fluctuate within many levels, all impressive and heady.

Tracks like the bruising Nocturnal Frags and the barbed Morbid Infection with its corrosive aural scowl, test and tease through their coarse yet magnetic sonic breath whilst the likes of persistently grazing Scene of Crime and the ravenous Field of Death, a track soaked in malevolence and insidious melodic intrusions, take the contagion to its richest potency, the last especially a remarkable and wholly infectious poison to devour greedily.

There is no real weakness on My Empire, the title track and final song Bury Your Dead as formidable and pleasingly imposing as anything else on the release. For all who have a passion for the likes of Immolation, Dismember etc, Deserted Fear will easily excite their ears and more.

http://www.desertedfear.de/

RingMaster 01/10/2012

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Massive Assault – Death Strike

Death Strike the new album from Dutch death metal band Massive Assault is a bulging belligerent brute which does what it says on the tin, well as the band name suggests for sure. Through ten cantankerous bruisings called tracks the release thunders and bludgeons to great and eager effect. The admittedly album does not explore brand new avenues but instead draws a deep  energy and colossal sized sounds from the well of old school Swedish death metal linking it to veins of thrash, hardcore and seeping drops of punk. As a result Death Strike is a tanker of formidable fully charged metal that gets the job done to a fruitful and pleasing satisfaction.

Since their formation in the early part of the last decade Massive Assault has left lingering marks through early demos, their debut EP Conflict , their first album Dystopian Prophecies, and the Slayer EP of last year. They are a band that leaves one breathless even if unsurprised with each release, their sounds driven by a familiar flavour and direction but with a feel and energy that leaves many other similar spiced bands choking in their dust. Their second album released through FDA Rekotz, a label that impresses with each release they share to the world, sees the quartet again assault the senses with their expected and thrilling sound though with a possibly leaner and tighter craft to their compulsive creations. If the likes of Dismember and Entombed rile up your juices than Death Strike is an album for you, a release deeply footed in the pits of Swedish death metal but with more than enough freshly cultivated additives to offer not necessarily something markedly new but music that churns up your senses and hikes up the pleasure.

Opening track Drive towards Death sets out the intent of the album from the first note. Destructive riffs flying from every angle whilst a teasing groove from guitarist Fredde Kaddeth spears through the ear with mesmeric appeal so that within moments the song an essential treat. Alongside these delicious infectious manipulations the bass of Jozze lays darkened ominous muscular tones whilst the rhythms and beats of drummer Gideon strike with the precision of the keenest artillery.  It brings nothing remarkably original forward but the track is a wonderful irresistible partner in crime, a metal song that hits all the right spots.

The consistency across the album is high though some of that is down to the songwriting not worrying too much about being openly varied from song to song. That is not a big issue as the core sound and creativity is distinctly and strongly enjoyable and Massive Assault do add noticeable flavours to songs to stop them being simply reorganised clones, the likes of Plead Not Guilty full of punk infused energy and the excellent Pride adding a heavy metallic coating to its intensity.

Throughout vocalist Carl Christ spews out the lyrics with a delivery as caustic and venomous as the war born themes of the song, his unvaried delivery a vibrant stinging compliment to the combative sounds around him. Often lack of variety in vocals across a release is a negative but here it works perfectly, his inflections and the pacing of his grizzled assault controlled and intelligent.

As Death Strike sends its tracks relentlessly onward some songs leave a deeper enjoyable scar. Finished Sympathy tramples through the ear with a steady and even pace, its heavy weight consumption impressive as it crushes bone and sinew under foot. With rhythms using the senses like a punch ball the track leaves a gasping husk in its wake, an open victim for the following chug fest of Turning Tides. The slow stalk opening of the song prowls and glares, the muscles of the song flexing through swarming oppressive riffs and drums sure of their dominance. Eventually erupting into a gallop of thumping solid guitars and rhythms the track stomps all in sight whilst a brief but enlightened solo alleviates the pressure for a brief yet inspired moment.

Death Strike has no pretensions to be what it is not, the release simply a powerful and completely enjoyable unrestrained companion to share mayhem with. Massive Assault does not open new doors but they certainly make the room they command a very thrilling place to be in.

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RingMaster 30/03/2012

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Ominous Crucifix -The Spell of Damnation

Emerging from the still relatively undiscovered wealth of strong metal bands within Mexico for most, Ominous Crucifix are set to release their debut full length album The Spell of Damnation. Offering up invasive slabs of crushing spiteful death metal the album crawls and festers within the senses to give full satisfaction with a bountiful clutch of arresting black melodies, intrusive riffs, and ear intimidating grooves.

Formed in 2007 Ominous Crucifix have steadily created and moulded their black rancid sound starting with their first release, demo Decadent Religious Archetype in 2008. The following year saw a split release On This Land Evil Dwells and their EP Relics of a Dead Faith. Since then until now the band has been relatively quiet. Released via FDA Rekotz, a label coming up with quite a few striking gems lately, The Spell of Damnation is a statement of a band on the rise and of a group of musicians more than competent in bringing forth death metal that is steeped in old school intent and sound without resorting to simply resurrecting previous flavours from influences.

     The Spell of Damnation is harsh and malicious with a raw production which though complimenting the intent throws up negatives. One senses this approach is deliberate from the band bring out and intensity the decayed and festering malevolence within the songs, an occult lined abhorrence of religion that veins the music. The album throws up essences of the likes of Obituary, Vallenfyre, and Asphyx but the resulting creation is certainly something distinct to Ominous Crucifix.

The album starts on an impressive opening in ‘Third Day Resurrection’, an initially synth led emotive piece punctuated with shouts of ‘I think God is Dead…’ There is an ominous bell like resonance giving warning before the track unveils itself with mesmeric heavy riffs and teasing guitars. A relentless grind slices with stabs of urgent intrusive guitar consuming the ear from the fingers of Crucifier and Lord Dweller whilst vocalist Rubens the Mercurial Herald spews gut based grizzled growls from the deepest pit. Guitars dominate the track once it is in full flow making the bass of Omega Tyrant hard to pick out though that is soon remedied in following track ‘Putrid Purity’. His growling meaty predatory basslines crawl and stalk as guitars rampage through the ear. Bringing forward a dirty protrusive grind the track is a constant battering without venturing into abusive aggression. The drums and vocals carry a hollow resonance to them throughout the album which again is suggested as deliberate but only really works with Reuben’s delivery, adding a dark menace and haunting atmosphere. For the drums it is more a distraction and is less agreeable, the beats from The Executioner feeling disengaged from the main body of the songs.

Though the whole release is a solid agreeable brute three consecutive tracks in addition to the opener stand out and show the ability and promise of Ominous Crucifix. ‘Defiling the Altars of an Absent God’ starts with a film sample of a woman being forced to cite The Lord’s Prayer whilst being flogged. Disturbing especially when she slips into silence as the manic flogging continues it leads in an equally dark and wicked track with grooves and riffs that consume eagerly. Again the drums feel separate but the song has more than enough depth and technical creativity on show to draw attention away. ‘Secular Omens of Doom’ takes over with even more intensity and creativity. There is a stronger diversity within the song than on anywhere else, the guitars impressively exploring their realm within the heavy blanket of aggressive intensity. Without breaking into solos and indulgence the track is refreshing and a contrast to the more direct straight forward death metal tracks.

Church of Death’ though only a brief almost interlude type track is the other highlight. Haunting with a dark siren voice sinisterly beckoning amongst the crushing riffs and sounds of warfare it conjures visions instantly adding to what is a fine album. Despite its shortfalls The Spell of Damnation is a strongly satisfying album and certainly should be checked out by all death metal fans

RingMaster 10/01/2011

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Entrails – The Tomb Awaits

With a release of the darkest intent and the relentlessness of a reanimated extinguisher of life, Swedish death metalers Entrails return with their second album hoping to and more than likely succeeding in, laying waste the next multitude of souls to fall before their monstrously intense sound. The Tomb Awaits released via Dark Descent / FDA Rekotz is an aural beast standing proud and tall side by side with the growing multitude of old school Swedish death metal bands and releases that are lurking and emerging from the dankest pits and blackest shadows currently. It shakes its targets to the core whilst gratifying them even more deeply, showing that things influenced by the past do not have to come without a vigour, potency, and an attack that is as harsh as modern times can deliver.

Though formed in 1991 and having in those early times recorded rough and in the end unacceptable demos to band founder Jimmy Lindquist, their debut release did not come until 2010 with the strongly acclaimed Tales from the Morgue album. The massive delay came down to the fact the band split up early on and did not resurrect until 2008, when they then re-recorded many of the early tracks and eventually released them as part of their debut album. Now The Tomb Awaits goes even further in satisfying their fans and the anticipation inspired from the debut as well as undoubtedly gaining an even larger and more fervent following. 

It is worth again reminding ourselves that the band began two decades past, seeing in and participating in the birth of the genre, the original sound influencing and flexing its muscular power within The Tomb Awaits. In some ways comparing them against new bands that try and often just fail in their attempt to reanimate the aspects and sounds that made Swedish death metal so powerful and inspiring is unfair, Entrails are one of the originals now simply infusing current sounds and progress to expand on their own creations and ideas.

The quartet of Jimmy Lindquist (guitars), Joakim Svensson (bass/vocals), Mathias Nilsson (guitars), and Adde Mitroulis (drums) have unleashed twelve angry and devastating tracks  on their album that make the earth tremble as they bring forth an intensity to see off the brave and make mindless wrecks of the weak. The album starts off on the instrumental melodic beauty of ‘The Tomb Awaits’, though brief it attempts to fool the senses with its glamour and siren like strains and almost succeeds until the bedlam cries of the wretched break through at its end revealing that the gates to hell are now open. ‘Unleashed Wrath’ hits hard and low to confirm the fact, the guttural strains of Svensson bringing forth venom to match the driven violence of the music. The album has taken hold and is in no mood to let go as the subsequent tracks prove.

The Tomb Awaits has an impressive intensity across its consuming bulk but the likes of the incessant senses stripping ‘Crawling Death’, the light and shadows of ‘Undead’ thrusting its evil potency and gang vehemence forth with some blazing guitar solos to illuminate the way, and the black hearted declaration of ‘End of All Existence’ with rampaging riffs, seamless tempo changes, and enough intensity to tear flesh from the bone, make the album a force not to be denied.

It is obvious upon hearing The Tomb Awaits the band have not turned over new stones or waded through fresh waters of creativity but that is the point and the appeal of the release and Entrails’ approach. The band began in and is steeped in the genesis of the genre, it is their driving force and musical breath and the reason they sound as they satisfyingly do. They may not be openly original with the likes of Entombed, Grave, and Dismember an obvious comparison, but there are few that make such powerful and striking old school metal better than they do. The Tomb Awaits may not be essential listening but only a fool will not give it a go.

RingMaster 15/09/2011

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