In what has been a constant stream of British metalcore and extreme metal releases so far this year Obolus the debut mini album from UK metalers Lay Siege, emerges as one of the most impressive. Though the release does not breakout with anything truly stunning, it powerfully indicates greater promise ahead and stands as a strongly enjoyable and commanding release which is heads above a great many of the similar veined releases to appear over the past few months.
Northampton based quartet Lay Siege since forming in 2010, have taken no time in becoming a force in the Midlands underground metal scene lighting up stages alongside bands like Devil Sold His Soul, Feed the Rhino, ACODA, Heart of a Coward, Carcer City, and While She Sleeps. This year will see them venturing further throughout the UK and into Europe which with the release of Obolus as their newest part of their armoury, makes it not beyond expectations to imagine them rising and growing higher in stature.
Obolus certainly marks them as a band with real strength in their sound and songwriting. As mentioned the release gives the suggestion of promise and greater things ahead but it is impossible not to recognise the musicianship and craft going on already. Starting with Explorer the album confronts the senses with towering riffs and titanic rhythms linked by intricate yet unexaggerated technical ability. The opener bundles through the ear with a greed and power to leave one gasping. The track is not rippling with originality but has a freshness and vibrancy which is open. Musically the song skirts through multiples avenues of ideas without lingering in any to make an unpredictable riot of sound.
The following storm The Ferryman worries and oppresses the bruises caused by its predecessor whilst treating the ear to further inventive melodic and imaginative creativity of the band. It attacks in a similar vein but with good variation under its surface to make for another excellent three minutes. Many have accused the release of having too much similarity across its length and one can understand that with the overall bruising encounter it offers but that just makes for an album which needs closer attention and focus than most to find its rewards and bubbling invention beneath the storm.
Snarling Teeth prowls and taunts the ear with more explosive rhythms from drummer Lewis Niven and hungry basslines from Dave Bartlett. The track has a Pantera/sludge groan to its weight which ignites a deeper infection, the vocals of Konrad Barrick splattering the ear with bile and tortured expression alongside the taunting mesmeric dark shadowed play of guitarist Jamie Steadman. All the songs loiter around the three minute mark and work well at that length, punchy and crisp in presence but this is the one time one groans as it lays down its last note, the pleasure it brings making one not only wanting but needing it to linger around much longer. The song confirms the thought that the delivery of Barrick maybe lacks enough diversity across the seven tracks, great though he is, but it is a minor issue here with the qualities of the songs but ahead might become a problem for some but we will see.
Glitches and Wastelands continue the bombardment and explosive engagement with equally impressive effect, the band showing further skill and spread of good ideas to their music. The dexterity and thought shown by the band in all aspects is striking and sets the band apart from other new extreme metal bands.
Obolus is a definite grower, a release which consumes and evolves within the affections at a slower rate than most but to a deeper effect. After a few plays the release drew full praise but as the album exposed its might more and more that positivity grew in to a full affection. Yes the album has limitations and hides its individualism a little too deeply but it also marks Lay Siege as a band with a mighty future if they progress and explore themselves even deeper.
Closing with the combative Solitary Confinement further crushing the senses, Obolus is a fine and impressive debut. Lay Siege is a band on the rise and we for one cannot wait for their next assault.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
The bottom line to the new release from UK metalcore band Bury The Hatchet is frustration. The Chatham quintet has such promise whilst their new It Was Never Enough EP is a release which is so near to being something special but all one is left focused on is the abrasive negative effect of the vocals. Whether it is an accumulative effect of so many emerging bands simply screaming their lyrics so that this release is the straw that broke…etc it is hard to say but after continually listening to the EP we could not tell you lyrically what is going on or really care as to appreciate what is musically at times an impressive release listening was about blocking out that side of the songs. This is not meant as an attack on vocalist Ray Hughes but on the direction so many young new bands are going. For every dissenting voice there will be another basking in the vocal delivery of course but when it has the effect of nails down the blackboard maybe time for some invention?
Aside from that aspect though It Was Never Enough shows some excellent ideas and individual ability to inspire only promise for the band and especially in two songs show what a fine band Bury The Hatchet is, which obviously adds to the personal frustration. Formed in the closing weeks of 2012, the band has built a good name for themselves through sharing stages with bands such as Feed the Rhino, James Clever Quintet, Brotherhood of the Lake, TurboWolf, and Hildamay, and their debut EP For What It’s Worth. They are a name which most UK extreme metal fans are aware of which is a feat in itself for an independent band in a crowded market place. The new EP gives evidence to why with its at times imaginative creativity.
The release opens with the brief and wonderfully emotive instrumental title track. Lone piano within an orchestral breath it leads straight into the rampaging But We Still Keep Moving. Firm rhythms from Tom Davis lead the way whilst the guitars of Rich Norton and David Greenslade brew up a dusty loud of inciteful intrigue. Within a step the song erupts into a storming surge of ferocious riffs and pummelling beats before pulling back the trigger for the rasping clutches of Hughes to permeate the song. With a style to keep throat lozenges in business for decades he scores the sounds with acidic venom which at this point is not a problem, the song nicely spacing its varied aspects with intelligence and skill. Uncompromising and direct the song does not offer anything new to what they and others have before but it is more than palatable.
Protest comes next, a song with disguised progressive tendencies which unleashes a sprawling maelstrom of diverse ideas pulling away from its core but staying well within the frame work of the song to make an unpredictable and engrossing track. The bass of Casper Howes is a prowling presence which one would like to hear more from within the production but is always a formidable plus to the tracks and here he adds a great menacing depth to draw one away from the by now punishing vocals.
Next up 0411 continues the exploratory intent of the band and though it at times feels like its destination is not quite clear to the band it is an inspired and pleasing addition to the release and one of two songs with the closer, which leads one to almost expect the band to evolve into something special. It is more technical than the others and looks into new spheres for spicery which not only works but is welcome.
Broken Soul is easily the best song on It Was Never Enough and like its predecessor is unafraid to unravel sounds to twist them into new blistering invention, the sonic discordance which coats the melodic fires of the song irresistible and the bass pulses alongside the corrupting beats addictive. The track switches through technical metal essences, thrash flavoured surges, and progressive imagination within the fire of aggression to leave one eager for more from the band those not as enthused as one would wish with the continued vocal direction.
Bury The Hatchet are definitely a band to keep an eye on with the EP showing good promise, one just hopes they and many other bands reassess their thoughts on the vocals.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Bringing a much needed muscular invention to the genre of pop punk /melodic punk, UK band Fly This For Me unleash their debut Making Shadows EP to excite and enthuse the ear. Well crafted the four track release is brought with a punk hunger driven by an expansive rock energy and intelligence to incite not only an immediate strong impression but also formidable promise for the future.
Guildford based, Fly This For Me officially formed in the closing blinks of 2011, with members which have their seeds across the UK. Already with a sound on the evidence of the EP which is fresh and evolved beyond just infectious easy to swallow hooks and unbridled keen riffs, the quintet has persistently lit up stages shared with the likes of Blitz Kids, Feed the Rhino, Lost Boys, Marines, Eager Teeth, fiN, and POLAR. It has been a constant garnering of positive responses which with the national release of the EP on July 16th can only accelerate to greater heights and recognition. The release has already been preceded by the video/single Making Shadows taken from the EP released in April, the sparks of acclaim it inspired ready to burst into full flame with the unleashing of these four impressive songs.
The release leaps into view with the sparkling She Said, its entrance more subdued than rushed to make a warm invitation which is lined with stirring riffs and provocative melodic beckoning. Vocalist Tim Cowen instantly marks himself as an expressive and powerful aspect of the sound, his emotive lyrical delivery as appealing as the magnetic sounds around him. The guitars of Sean Kelly and George Rockett light the air with skill and invention to bring a full mesmeric body and incendiary atmosphere to the track. Standing somewhere between the likes of Alexisonfire, Mind Museum and a Foo Fighters/Hundred Reasons like combination, the song is a strong trigger to set the senses up for what emerges as even more satisfying pieces of songwriting.
We All Fall Down takes no time in winding the ear around its hard rock veins of power, the drums of Joe Balchin taking charge from the off whilst the bass of Hannah Greenwood ripples with an intensity which though not always as clearly heard as one would wish adds the depth to make the songs impactful and rounded. The song teases and badgers, twisting with further melodic manipulations from the guitars to fire up the emotions whilst the vocals are as earnest as their delivered content.
Title track comes next and amongst the other unmistakably great songs stands as the best. With a discovered urgency to its breath Making Shadows is a controlled riot with the raw and anthemic edge the best punk inspired songs always have. Fully contagious though again without offering the easy infection of simple hooks and easy to consume melodic candy, the track is a feast of energy, invention, and unreserved heart pleasing rock.
The closing Rock Bottom is equally striking with the band returning to a fuller rock body beneath the hungry air of the song. The track evolves within its wall to be as unpredictable as it is siren like, that infectiousness previously mentioned in full reign here though one more without resorting to the easy pick up lines of other less able bands and songs.
Making Shadows EP is a real pleasure which from its initial impressive introduction grows into a real gem the more one engages their time with it. The release also marks Fly This For Me as a band offering not only a bright and promising future for themselves but for UK rock music too.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Whether you wish to call them hardcore, melodic hardcore, or metalcore, three of the descriptions they have been tagged with, the only thing you need to know is that UK Metalers Envy The Fallen are one mightily formidable outfit, a band who brings intensity, aggression and harsh melodies together and uses them like a belligerent and angry chef. The result an intimidating and explosive debut EP called Hoist The Colours, and a recipe for all metalers to feast upon.
We will be open from the start and say the EP does not offer anything groundbreaking or stunningly new but it does contain songs and music that thrills, exhilarates, and basically bludgeons one into submission to much greater satisfaction and pleasure than the majority of similar veined brutes over recent months. The EP is inventive and powerful, and even though the originality is confined within existing genre parameters it is impossible to really criticise what is a very impressive and more importantly enjoyable release.
Hoist The Colour begins its assault on March 19th with the quintet from Newquay ready to build on the acclaim already received through shared stages with the likes of Evergreen Terrace, Feed The Rhino, Brotherhood Of The Lake, and Lower Than Atlantis, and their appearance on a cover CD on an issue of Big Cheese Magazine. With a full UK tour about to kick off alongside the release it feels like now is the time of Envy The Fallen, something the EP alone should trigger if there is any justice.
Hoist The Colour opens with The Brave One, a track which enters on a slightly subdued and chained scorched melodic riff which draws closer to explode into a thunderous full on assault. Vocalist Anthony O’Reilly crawls all over the lyrics with a delivery that is venomous and spiteful whilst the heavy artillery riffs take pot shots at the ear with shotgun like effect. The drums of Jon Redd are staggering, an unrelenting but well structured bombardment which he repeats on every song within the release. The guitars of Quiche Smith and Ryan Drew plunder the senses with a mix of vindictive malice and inventive melodic craft, whilst the bass of James Killackey stalks the track with a brutish strength and if there is one complaint of the release it is that his play is often hidden, over powered by the sounds elsewhere.
The release is off to a great start but soon lifted higher by the title and best track on the EP. Hoist The Colour tramples through the ear and all over the body without a thought for mercy, though the punishment comes with a delicious groove which picks up the floored senses as often as they are knocked down by the immense power generated. The song is combative and refractory, the band as a whole coming together in stance and might that is impossible not to become part of as the track stomps all over the ear and beyond.
The great thing about Envy The Fallen is it is not entirely all about destructive intent, the band skilfully interweaving stirring melodic avenues into their smothering and violently wilful intensity. The likes of the brawling and equally rebellious I Will Prevail and the crippling This Is Not Goodbye, a song that takes one to their knees within seconds with its heavy bombardment of aural quarrelsome truculence, meshing both elements in to a keen and formidable event. As with most tracks though the band stay firmly on the side of combat rather than seduction through inviting cleaner persuasion though the closing song reveals the band can go that route Just as ably too. The Ending leaves one with provocative sounds and acute melodic play from the guitars to suggest more variety and ingenuity ahead from the band, the piano that graces the track in its latter part an emotive contrast to the distorted harshness beneath it. The song is an excellent counter and follow-on to the tremendous Until Lambs Become Lions before it and another unreserved violation on the senses.
Hoist The Colour is a potent debut from what already is an impressive band, yes there needs to be more innovation from the band maybe but that as these the songs suggest will come. UK hardcore /metalcore has never been fresher and now Envy The Fallen have added their dynamic breath too.