Mongrel – Evolution

MONGREL - Evolution - front cover - scaled

Towards the end of last year US punk metallers Mongrel released the single Snakes to provide a very appetising taster for their next EP whilst simultaneously reconfirming themselves as unique and passionate provocateurs of antagonistic punk rock and dirty metal. The band now unleashes that highly anticipated Evolution EP, a release which surely places them on the precipice of a well-deserved intensive world spread spotlight. Sealing a spot on an impending cover mounted CD of the renowned Terrorizer magazine as well, The Boston quartet are poised to make the next big step in recognition. It is an ascent their releases have threatened to spark for the past couple of years but it is easy to feel and expect that Evolution will be the potent fuse that achieves the breakthrough.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has earned themselves the reputation of one of the hardest working and increasingly acclaimed bands in the underground of metal and punk rock. Each one of their releases has thrust the band on another lofty step though it was the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra in 2010 where things truly clicked into place and the arguably dormant fire in their already impressive sound and presence erupted. From The New Breed of Old School EP of that year through the following Declamation EP in 2011, there was a new potency and venom on the grooves, hooks, and rhythms which core Mongrels’ invention. Alongside these successes the band live has earned a reputation most bands could only dream of, their sharing of stages with the likes of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, Misfits FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, Michale Graves, Mindset X and hordes more garnering tides of fans and recognition. The Reclamation album of 2012 saw the band ascend to new heights in songwriting and imagination which now Evolution pushes further forward. Recorded with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Sully Erna), mixed by Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence, Godsmack), and mastered by Howie Weinberg, (Metallica, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera), the EP is a stirring anthemic brawl which is as contagious and addictive as it is raw and lyrically uncompromising.

Snakes opens things up and as soon as the initial controlled blaze of guitar from Savage hits the ears there is a sense of impending infection which is soon confirmed by the crisp beats of drummer Mike Hogan and even more so by the riveting vocals of Sierra. With the pulsating bass groan from Michael Ariza added to the mix, the song is rapidly into a potent stride heading towards its virulently compelling chorus. The band takes little time in enslaving the imagination, treating it further with a seamless drift into a smouldering sultry passage with emotive guitar rubs and a glow to the voice of Sierra, a lady who seems to own ears, thoughts, and songs whether she is roaring with antagonism or seducing like a temptress. Building up its energy and passions throughout the lighter flight, the song creates a dramatic crescendo of a finale which leaves appetite licking lips and emotions looking at a lustful hunger.

Mongrel have a certain distinct sound which never deceives its source but within that the band with Evolution seems to be exploring their punk side this time around, the first song giving a major hint which the following Oxygen Mask elaborates on within a still heavily insatiable metal toxicity. An acidic groove hits ears first, though rhythms and a great gritty bassline is courting its coaxing. Pulled together by the commanding vocals, the track twists through a predatory intensity and gait, Savage spearing the air with metallic vines of sonic bait. Persistently turning with singular moments for the bass and guitars to flirt with ears, the song recalls essences of Siouxsie and the Banshees, certainly if they had embraced metal. Imposing but respectfully forceful the track backs up the immense start easily even if without matching its heady heights.

That first plateau is equalled by Consumed; a deliciously abrasive enticement of caustic hooks and senses burrowing grooves. Guitars worm under the skin within seconds with rhythms swinging punches soon after, the combination a hungry platform for the dark hearted bass sounds and rich vocals to colour their canvas. Unleashing a swagger to match the almost brutal energy, the song stomps with epidemic irresistibility, those spiteful grooves especially inescapable whilst sonic hues sculpted by Savage in an engrossing solo provide further rigorous colour to the outstanding incitement.

Best Revenge has the hard task to follow the triumph which it does with a rawer hostile punk enticement, the bass finding a carnivorous throat to its presence and the guitar a combative attitude to its riffs and squalling flames. Once again though it is caged by great controlled rhythm work by Hogan and led by the expressive might of Sierra. The track is not as immediate as others on Evolution but emerges as another pinnacle with punk nostrils flaring and metallic muscles challenging.

The release is concluded with another sizeable success with the riotously catchy Over And Over. An addiction forging bassline sparks ears first before riffs and rhythms cascade upon the lure to build a rampant canter of punk rock. Hooks and grooves from both stringed antagonists grip with a constant temptation whilst Sierra swings syllables and intent into their barbed scenery with the expected but never under-appreciated skill and passion she brews. It is an exhilarating conclusion to a tremendous encounter, leaving ears, thoughts, and passions bursting with greed for more.

Guiding their sound to a side step in many ways from that taking Reclamation to such heights, Evolution stands side by side with its predecessor’s undoubted success and quality, though with a heart for well-crafted punk rock if pushed the EP shades it. What is clear for all though is that Mongrel just goes from strength to strength whilst evolving with a constant flair and voraciously appetising enterprise. It really is about time the band was known worldwide and Evolution might just be the trigger.

Evolution is available on iTunes on May 20th and via all major online retailers and streaming services from June 3rd with physical copies available through Mongrel, Unable Records and Amazon.

http://www.MongrelBand.com

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mongrel – Snakes

Mongrel

The first release since the outstanding Reclamation album of 2012, US punk metallers Mongrel unleash their new single Snakes and continue to set new standards for themselves and aspiring rock/metal bands. Taking from their upcoming Evolution EP which is slated for an early 2014 release, the new track employs all the renowned and expected inventive and addictive aspects of the band but gives them a new fire to burn explosively within further exploration from the band and their songwriting. As anthemic and contagious as you would expect from the Boston quartet, Snakes reinforces the hunger of their fans for their bruising, riotous sounds whilst laying down plenty of bait to recruit new greedy hearts.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has over the years evolved into a highly sought after live band and a formidably potent studio encounter with a wealth of releases strikingly marking their steady and continual rise. Since forming the band has laid waste to stages alongside the like of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, and the Misfits numerous times as well as touring with others such as FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, and Michale Graves, all the time continually drawing acclaim. Equally from the start their releases have lit up the passions of fans as well as the independent airwaves, the band a regular on the likes of shows at http://www.Audioburger.com and The Bone Orchard podcast, but it is fair to say that the full potency and heart of the band exploded when they enticed vocalist Jessica Sierra into the fold, her snarling vocal beauty igniting something lying dormant in the band with previous frontmen. Through The New Breed of Old School and Declamation EPs on to Reclamation, Mongrel has grown and evolved into an intensive and magnetic force which Snakes only elevates further.

The single wastes no time in tempting the ears as the guitar of Savage skilfully strokes the extremities with his inviting riffs, its call soon a0370760246_2joined by a pulsating bass call from Michael Ariza and the crisp beats provided by drummer Mike Hogan. Settling into an open temptation, the power and thrust of the song is taken up another level as Sierra punches the lyrical intent forcibly and melodically into the imagination. All the while there is a reserved but persistent groove which wages seduction upon the senses throughout the song, it enticing greater passion and hunger from the listener and it is fair to say that at this point the single has submission already in its hands. This is not enough though it seems as the instigator then shifts seamlessly into an evocative and intimidating yet smouldering flame of sonic endeavour and emotive persuasion which has the band pushing their boundaries and ideas without losing their core energy and intensity. The moment is brief but potent and makes for a building step for the final adrenaline lit finale. There is a certain pop punk element to Snakes which arguably has not appeared before with Mongrel and it is a refreshing move brought with craft and adventure which avoids eroding any of the band’s confrontation and  inciting invention.

It is hard not to be excited and full of impatient anticipation for the Evolution EP thanks to Snakes, but the wait will be relatively short and the single ensuring the time is well fed with its incendiary exploits. A name your own price release at Mongrel’s Bandcamp profile, the single is the perfect invitation for those new to one of metal’s best ‘undiscovered secrets’.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com/music

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Chariots of The Gods: Tides of War

Chariots of the Gods -Tides of War official (group)

     Exploding out from the depths of the underground, Tides of War the debut album from Canadian metallers Chariots of The Gods, is quite simply sensational, a metal album of the highest order. It offers no indulgency or pretences to mislead on paper or aurally, but openly knows what it is good at and delivers those aspects with a passion and force which few other bands certainly recently have matched. Fusing diverse textures and sounds from melodic metal, thrash, and death, their music and album is simply a tour de force of metal.

Formed in 2007 by guitarist Mathieu St-Amour alongside bassist Christian Methot and guitarist Christian Carrière, the Ottawa band grew into a quintet with the addition of drummer Rich O’Neil and vocalist Renaud Jobin. Soon impressing live, the band released to very strong responses their Reverence EP in 2010. The release pushed them onto another level locally and sparked better opportunities live for the band, though the end of the same year going into the next saw the departure of Methot and Carrière. Moving forward though Chariots of the Gods brought in long-time friend and guitarist Dimitri Gervais and bassist Payam Doryani and set about laying waste with their towering sound. The band has bruised stages alongside the likes of Misfits, Voivod, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Misery Index, Martyr, Fuck the Facts, Blackguard, Neuraxis, and The Agonist, over the years and now burst into the world with their triumphant first full length release.

The Glen Robinson (Gwar, Annihilator, Queensryche, Voivod) produced album is a thrilling tempest of insatiable riffs, rhythms Tides of War - Cover - High Reswhich make demands no one should be forced to take but do willingly, and deliciously confrontational vocals. Spread throughout there is also a melodic and sonic enterprise which burns like an invigorating furnace and combined the result is one of the most impressive metal albums in recent years. Self released, Tides of War immediately from its dramatic and compelling opening instrumental Overture has a hold over the ear and thoughts. It is brief yet the perfect atmospheric lure into the epic intensity and drive of the album starting with the ravaging Seventh Weapon. The first seconds consists of thumping beats and sizzling guitar twists around the ear before expelling a ferocious breath through the squalling scowls of Jobin and an avalanche of rhythms. Now settled into its fearsome charge the track towers over the senses with the intensity and expansive reach of a storm. Across its bristling sinews and colossal breath, the track unleashes a whip lash triggering attack from O’Neil, exceptional and fiery melodic persuasion from the guitars of St-Amour and Gervais, and an irresistible raptorial vocal devouring.

As in the first full song, Blind Assassin reveals the prowling might of bassist Doryani; it is not always an aspect with as much clarity as the other elements but removed would undoubtedly leave a big gaping hole and when the heavily consuming notes find clarity of voice, the songs just bulge with impressive shadows. The third track is a less forceful entity than its predecessor with a sonic elegance which lays rough caresses over the ear, though it is not lacking any demanding spirit or heart either. It arguably pales a little against the previous track but outshines so many efforts from other artists.

Each and every track is immense and in varying degrees offers hints of the influences which vein the sound. Within the likes of Ambrosian Wings, the Russian Revolution inspired pair of the crushing Revillusion (1905) and the voracious Severing the Bloodline (1917), and the violently smouldering Red Skies, as examples, essences of the likes of In Flames, Norther, Testament, Lamb of God, and August Burns Red are apparent and add extra spice to the rich sonic menu of the band. As to be expected some songs reach the highest pinnacles and the biggest highlights on Tides of War come firstly with the title track. It is a thunderous rampage of sizzling guitar magnetism and invention driven by again the tumultuous and outstanding rhythms of O’Neil.  It is the perfect blend of aggression and melodic persuasion which chews up the senses whilst treating them to a fine dining of sonic imagination. Further lofty heights come with the senses grasping and obliterating Collapse of an Empire with its delicious spearing flames of melodic intrigue, and the corrosive and glorious Unbound which also features Aleksi Sihvonen from Norther.

The album is not just intensity and brawling aggression though as to perfectly break up the onslaught there are a couple of compelling instrumentals in the enthralling shapes of Snow Falls On The White River (1914) and Nebula, both beautiful pieces of music in their very different guises and far from interludes and fillers.

Tides of War is an exceptional creative ambush for the heart with a rage of the fullest rewards and an expressive depth of unbridled undiluted metal. You may not have heard of Chariots of The Gods before now but that is sure to change very soon as their album is exposed to the wider world.

http://www.chariotsofthegods.net/

RingMaster 29/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mongrel: Reclamation

For those aware of US band Mongrel, it is wide knowledge that they are one of the most exciting and accomplished underground rock n roll bands around, and have been since forming in 2003. For those still to discover their addict forming blend of punk rock and metal now is the time to feel their bite as they release new album Reclamation, a collection of songs which will have fans and newcomers reeling from its might and infectious brilliance.

Reclamation emerges from what basically has been four years of turmoil for the band through line-up, studio, and studio disruptions. From early on right through to now the Boston, Massachusetts quartet has established a permanent place in the hearts of growing multitudes from their releases and sharing of stages alongside the likes of Misfits (multiple times), Gwar, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Mindless Self Indulgence, Prong, Fu Manchu, Psychostick, Wednesday13, Dizzy Reed (Gn’R), and Piggy D (Rob Zombie) to name just a few, alongside their own tours and shows. It was the departure of their long term vocalist and drummer in 2010 which dropped one of the biggest obstacles in the way of and to slow down the rampaging charge of Mongrel. Dave Kazukiewicz was soon enlisted to bang the skins but a vocalist was less easy a solution to find. Another male singer was brought in as they searched long and hard but that was a short lived answer. Still gigging as is the Mongrel way, they called on their friend Jessica Sierra from the band Affliction to cover some shows with eventually the temporary arrangement becoming, to our pleasure, permanent.

Now a powerful and stable unit of band founder Adam Savage, bassist Rev, Sierra and Kazukiewicz, the quartet set about re-recording tracks from the releases which had thrilled in the early days, debut album Fear, Lies & Propaganda of 2006 and the Revenge EP three years later.. These tracks came out upon the excellent The New Breed of Old School EP. To those who had grown with the band it was a surprising but mighty evolution from what came before, the vocals of Sierra bringing a tighter grip and quality to the sound which only impressed. 2010 saw the band enter the studio once more to record a further step forward with the Declamation EP and most impressive of all this the Reclamation album. Of course a battle ensued to get it released as is the life of independent bands (as well as the more recent departure from the band of Rev to be replaced by Micah Maltais) but now the album is here released through THC Music imprint THC: X, and ready to snarl and take chunks out of all lucky enough to ensnare it.

The album slaps the ear around from the start with Bored To Death, a feisty slice of anthemic punk rock. It is easy to digest and irresistible, straight forward rock n roll brought with fiery riffs, thumping beats, and the intimidating tones of Sierra, her voice a beckoning tease and attitude snapping aural harpy. It is a powerful and energetic start soon ramped up by the following Pseudocide and Fuck Off And Die. The first just burns the senses from its first note and leaves one smouldering in glee by its end. Ramones meets The Distillers; the track is a punk explosion which scorches the senses to near orgasmic pleasure. The second song prowls and snarls with a ravenous intensity, its heart and Sierra ready to pounce and rip its victim apart whilst the metal driven riffs scythe their way through the ear with caustic power.  Another song leaving one breathless it adds to a high octane start.

One almost expects things to drop level wise at some point as with most releases but this is not like most albums and with the likes of the prowling Zombies Of War with Sierra giving Brode Dalle a run for her money in a delivery of melodic snarling, The More I Bleed with its corrosive guitar abrasions, and the Otep tinged Tarnished Halo, igniting deeper and fuller pleasures, there is no chance of any lost of levels.

     Reclamation is a masterclass in punk rock/metal from first note to last but some tracks simply exhaust the passions such their towering quality. C and a Half is one such song, a sonic addition of rampaging riffs and riotous chorus assaults with the guys backing up Sierra perfectly, spite dripping from every note and syllable. The groove magnet Crucifiction alongside the delicious melody drenched Revisionist, easily rival in their diverse and imaginative ways to continue the immense satisfaction and clear variety on show within the combative cloak of sound. As with all songs they are openly contagious, rippling with hooks and grooves and outstanding vocal spreads from Sierra to fire up heart and passion.

The blistering tempest which is Stillborn Saviour, the ferocious Wake Up, and a reworking of an old song from their first album in No Gods No Masters, end what is easily one of the best albums this year, not only in punk rock or metal but across all genres. Reclamation is sheer excellence whilst Mongrel are at their strongest t ever and still one of the leading underground rock bands, though now with this album one expects their elevation to the big metal table to be imminent.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

RingMaster 18/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Comron Fouladi of Athel

Though there is a strong and decent wave of melodic punk bands around there are not many which stand out from the crowd consistently. One exception comes in the vibrant and unique shape of Chicago band Athel. Recently the band dropped their debut album Open Your Eyes To Society, its impressive tracks a blaze of vibrant and completely infectious rock/punk sounds. Needing to know about this aural contagion and the band itself we had the great fortune and opportunity to fire off questions to bassist Comron Fouladi to learn more.

Hi Comron and welcome to The Ringmaster Review, many thanks for talking to us,

How did you all meet and when did Athel emerge?

I met Cristian in middle school and Justin just from the local band scene we were in. I introduced the two.

Who are the biggest influences to you as a musician and maybe for the Athel sound?

My favorite band of all time and inspiration is CKY.

In our review of your great debut album Open Your Eyes To Society we said the band and release was one to stand out from what seems plenty of good new punk bands but generally uniformal in sound. What is it you have which you feel sets you apart?

The CD doesn’t stick to one mold. It’s not cookie cutter music. One song will be really punk or metal, then we have something like a classic rock song come then something like modern music mixed with 90s vocal melodies.

Did the band evolve into something more than maybe you expected or reach to where you exactly envisaged?

Definitely, we started working on some of these songs when we were first starting out. I was hoping to build a local following and have some fun with some small tours. I didn’t know we would later be signing a deal and releasing them in stores worldwide. I think my kids will all think I’m a liar with all the tour stories I will tell them.

As we have already mentioned it tell us about the album and your hopes going in to its creation?

I was hoping to put out something different, I don’t think there has been many good bands to come up in the past few years and I’ve just been really pissed about modern hits so we tried to create something different haha.

How long did Open Your Eyes To Society take to make?

We started writing this in 2009. We started recording in November 2010 and finished Feb 2012.

Was it already primarily composed and written before going into the studio or grew within those creative walls?

All the songs were done before the studio with multiple demos other then These are the Times, Kara’s Carousel, and Me, Myself, and I.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

Justin will write a guitar part and vocal melody, then bring it to the table and it evolves into a full song with many ideas front here.

What predominantly inspires your songs and lyrics?

Appreciation of life is something we always talk about in our music. So many people say they want to kill themselves all the time but really the chance of life happening is a trillion to 1. You’ve came this far and are now alive might as well try and make it the best you can.

The album is your first release since signing with Mortal Music. How did the link up with the label come about?

From building a local following of 500+ kids at every hometown show and then spending 300 dates on the road one year helped as well meant a few labels took attention to Athel but I felt Mortal was right and I’m extremely happy to work with those guys.

We called the album…Mildly aggressive, vaguely intrusive, and wholly infectious…fair comment?

Definitely! We wanted this album to be our angsty album.

You previously released a couple of EPs which drew strong acclaim too but how has your sound changed if at all since starting out?

Our sound hasn’t changed much just the writing sounds like it has matured.

The album marks the band as one which is intent on giving full pleasure and riotous fun, one imagines your live shows are exactly the same?

I’ve always been a fan of putting on the best show possible. If you ever come to an Athel show I promise you won’t be let down!

What makes a great show for you?

Seeing the people unite at a concert to have fun and enjoy life. It’s an escape from the modern bullshit we have to deal with.

You have shared stages with the likes of Chris Cornell, Gwar, CKY, and The Audition. Anyone you would sell your grannies to play with?

I would love to tour with Escape the Fate. They have always been so awesome and our fans love each other.

Any chance we might see you guys over this side of the big water in the near future?

I’m hoping in 2013. We need to be there soon!

What is next for Athel?

Rob Zombies guitar player Riggs has a new band called Scum of the Earth, we will be doing an East coast tour with them August 31st through almost all of September.

Once more thank you for sparing time for us.

Any last words to end on you would like to share?

Thank you guys. Please have us back again soon. As for last words, no one ever settle for anything less then what you want in life.

Read the review of   Open Your Eyes To Society http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/athel-open-your-eyes-to-society/

The RingMaster Review 10/07/2012

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The Cory Smoot Experiment: When Worlds Collide

Listening to When Worlds Collide really brings home what a talent was lost to not only metal but music when Cory Smoot (A.K.A Flattus Maximus), guitarist with GWAR passed away last November. It is fair to say he was generally overlooked by far too many when talking about the great metal musicians but just one listen to this album easily sets the record straight. Without the sad background to the album it is a strikingly  impactful release leaving one open mouthed at the skill and imagination at work but knowing this is his last piece of impressive creativity brings a deeply sad yet celebratory emotion surging through thoughts as it excites and satisfies immensely.

The songs on When Worlds Collide were recorded in 2010 at Cory’s Karma Studios and were meant for a concept album called Religion is Fiction. The original idea was for Cory to record the tracks and then bring in some of his favourite and the best vocalists from within the Richmond metal scene, including frontman Dave Brockie from Gwar and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. Due to scheduling problems this never materialised so he did the vocals himself and renamed the whole project The Cory Smoot Experiment. Cory completed the project just before what was to be his final tour with Gwar in the fall of 2011. Found dead in the band tour bus from a heart attack aged 34, he left the world with great memories and an album in When Worlds Collide which is destined to have a highly acclaimed place in metal for decades to come.

Though not quite flawless and at a few times feeling still not quite completed the album from its very first few seconds captivates and ignites nothing but enthused passion and deep stirring pleasure. The Blood Red opens with a guitar slicing the air with red hot sonic slashes of sound before the song erupts into a rampaging grooved infection. With grizzled understated vocals immersed within the commanding riffs and bulging rhythms the song bundles through the ear with excited muscular intent. The song also immediately sets the stall for the album in the bringing of a persistent array of flavours and sounds into a thunderous and inventive union, the song playing with a classic metal energy and almost grunge like breath.

The song slips right into Fortunate Sun next with its slow burning intensity and invasive presence. Heavy, atmospheric, and openly expressive the track reaps many essences from sludge and stoner sown fields to great effect. Though brief it is striking and makes the perfect seamless lead into its successor Religion Is Fiction. Apart from the great sounds the way the songs for the majority fluidly flow into each other no matter the fuel driving each strongly diverse and distinct song is another excellent aspect to the album. It brings a rolling energy to the album to give it an evolving and perpetually organic structure.

Religion Is Fiction is where the album truly ignites, the song a raging feast of intensity and great sounds. It is a maelstrom of grinds, grooves, and ravenous riffs to leave the senses breathless and the heart hungry for much more. Again short at barely two and a half minutes the track is a vicious aural predator which wastes no note or thought as it saturates the listener in pure metal contagion.

The corrosive violation of Rebirth feasts on the debris the previous track left behind whilst the stunning melodic and acoustically lined Brainfade sets an inspired respite before the death thrash assault of Mandatory Purgatory lays one on their back once more with its colossal unrelenting riffs and venom dripping groove. Again these tracks are very brief and it does add to the feeling that the album was not at its final completion and would have gone on to be a true all time classic if fate had not stepped forward.

The album simply continues to light up the ear and heart through the likes of Countdown To Oblivion, the blackened hearted The Gauntlet with its spiteful riffs and funked up mischief, and Hollow Tree with a glorious mesmeric bedlam of ideas and sounds. Ending on the unpredictable and surprising instrumental Sloth Loves Chunk, a jazz funk/progressive metal brew of invention, enterprise, and teasing, the album is a real treat for the ear and beyond.

With all proceeds of the album to be donated to The Smoot Family Fund which Gwar and Metal Blade Records set up to help provide  for Cory’s family, When Worlds Collide is quite simply a wonderful must have album offering a constant pleasure for metal fans of all preferences.

Go get the album here http://www.metalblade.com/smootfamilyfund/

RingMaster 04/06/2012

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Sarah Jezebel Deva – The Corruption Of Mercy

After the negativity for her decent debut solo album with even Sarah Jezebel Deva herself not over enamoured with the end results there has been a subdued anticipation for its follow up even with the impressive pedigree of artist.  For all of those holding back investigating The Corruption Of Mercy released via Listenable Records, the recommendation is easy just dive into its splendour and enjoy. The release may not quite touch album of the year standards but its generous and glowing sounds matched by eager intensity and emotive energy is a sure thing to pleasure the senses and feed all harmonious and adventurous taste buds.

It does seem strange that it had taken until 2008 for Sarah to take the step into the limelight with her own solo work. Fourteen years as a backing singer with Cradle of Filth, and work with bands like The Kovenant, The Gathering, Mystic Circle, Trigger The Bloodshed, Mensrea (GWAR side project), Graveworm, Tulus (Name later changed to Khold), and Creations Tears (Featuring ex Paradise Lost drummer Lee Morris) has sealed her place in metal even if it subdued her potential in many ways. 2005 did see her join forces with Tommy and Chris Rehn to form Angtoria whose album God Has A Plan For Us All gained strong acclaim. The band never toured with her COF duties always the pull away for her.  Three years later she did take the move to go solo releasing her debut album A Sign Of Sublime , featuring a host of guests including Dave Pybus (COF/Angtoria/Anathema) on bass, Chris Rehn (Angtoria) keys/programming, Martin Powell (Ex COF/My Dying Bride/Anathema) keys and Max Blunos (Trigger The Bloodshed) on drums.

For The Corruption Of Mercy which she started working on immediately after her debut, Sarah Jezebel Deva brought together a permanent and touring band under the umbrella of her name consisting of guitarists Dan Abela and Jonny Gray, bassist Ablaz and drummer Jamie Abela. The album also has the guest wizardry of Pzy-Clone from The Kovenant to contribute programming and orchestration. Recorded at Legacy London Studios, England the project’s official website states ‘Sarah feels “The Corruption Of Mercy” should have been the first album.’ With the major step forward in all aspects musically, lyrically and song craft it is understandable and the reason people should not think twice about checking the album out.  

The songs within the album are as firmly varied as Sarah’s vocals are impressive; her soaring and glorious tones matched by the diverse and large soundscapes conjured up, though at times the band unveils the simple and elegant sounds to equal effect. The release starts off with ‘No Paragon of Virtue’, a large dramatic song with soaring orchestral sounds fused against driven energetic heavy riffs and thrusting beats. The song sounds like an even more theatrical version of Stolen Babies but staying well within the bounds of pomposity. The song is immense and grows even deeper into the heart the more times one enters its charms.

The straight forward and satisfying direct rock flow of ‘The World Won’t Hold Your Hand’ comes next before passing over to the melodic majesty of ‘A Matter of Convenience’.  Though it is not exactly a ground breaking song its smoothness, expressive vocals and lyrics, and captivating allure makes it a highlight amongst many. The dark synth vein running through it brings a twinkling wickedness also adding to its power.

A great song that leads into the album’s finest moment in the glory of ‘Silence Please’, which like the opener it is another grand and sparkling theatrical flourish of sounds. Sarah’s vocals are as expansive and wonderfully soaring as the orchestral arrangements both swarming over the striking intense riffs and attack. One can imagine it framing any highly dramatic gothic movie scene or dark hearted animation, the sound larger than life and as powerful as one would wish.

The remaining tracks all bring bright creativity and impressive substance from the stunning piano and voice piece ‘Pretty with Effects’, the pulsating urgency and striking harmonies of ‘Sirens’, to the folk metal tinged immensity of ‘The Eyes That Lie’ a track that Arkona would eagerly grab, the songs ripple with engaging mesmerising beauty and beguiling energy, Even the cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, a track well bled dry by multiple versions is a mighty fine and different effort.

 The Corruption Of Mercy is a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable release and evidence that Sarah Jezebel Deva herself and the band are a more than formidable and important part of anyone’s playlist, and as this piece comes to a close whilst listening once more, the album is nearer that best of the year step than ever before.

RingMaster 09/11/2011

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