New furies and raw bruises: Talking Riwen with band founder and Cult of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson

Riwen Johannes Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

 

There is little to compare the sound of Cult of Luna and hardcore band Riwen but they are both soaked in the craft and passion of vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson. His new project prowls a whole new landscape of sound and invention, creating an intensive and brutally imposing provocation unique from but no less gripping and impressive than those cast by he and his Cult of Luna band mates. Having the chance to look into the heart of Riwen thanks to Johannes himself, we asked him about his new exploit’s seeds, approach to writing and recording compared to his ‘day job’, and much more…

Hello Johannes and thank you for sharing time to talk with us.

Can we start with the spark which brought Riwen into existence and what inspired the exploration of the hardcore bred sound of the band?

I love what we do with Cult of Luna and that we have spent a lot of effort to make our live show what it is but it can be frustrating with all the hours of preparations each day on tour. I felt like I needed something less complicated than the Cult of Luna Juggernaut. I just wanted a band where I could show up with a guitar, crank up the volume and just play. So last fall I wrote 14 songs in 14 days, inspired by bands that I listened to during my teenage years such as Judge, Integrity, Battery, Chain of Strength and so forth. When I had the music I started to call a bunch of friends. The end result is Riwen.

Hardcore is a style which has gripped personally over the years?

I wouldn’t say that. I listen to all kinds of music and I haven’t kept any track on what is going on in the hardcore scene after the 90’s. Everything I hear that I think is what hardcore is today sounds like over produced pro tools cut and paste start/stop metal and does not appeal to me. But the punk/hardcore bands that I got into when I was a teenager still sticks with me and I still love that kind of music.

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Pic by Henrik Wiklund

What have been the inspirations which fired up your taste for hardcore and which maybe tipped some influence into Riwen and a sound which is more than simply hardcore in many ways we feel?

I have always had a leaning to band that took it seriously whether they were writing about political or personal stuff. So there are too many bands to mention (more than in my answer above) but the important thing is that I never got a vent for my love of fast and aggressive hardcore and that is why Riwen is what Riwen is. I know we are bringing something new, or at least, unconventional to the table and I am who I am and my personal writing has probably bleed over the classic hardcore that I wanted to write. For good or for Ill, that’s for the listener to decide.

You have just released your three-track self-titled EP; did you have any specific hopes for it?

No, we just wanted to get a few tracks out there so we could start playing shows.

You are joined in Riwen for the EP by Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. How did you all originally meet and was there much persuasion getting them on board for the band?

I have known both of them for many years since they were playing in a band from my area called Totalt jävla mörker. Christian has been playing live as a stand in drums for Cult of Luna for the last couple of years so we know each other very well. I actually didn’t plan to ask Fredrik since I knew he quit Totalt Jävla Mörker and I thought he didn’t wanted to do any more screaming vocals but Christian convinced me to ask and I am so glad I did.

I am right in thinking that the line-up is different now?

Since we recorded the EP we have been joined by Christoffer Röstlund on bass and Marita Jonsson Mätlik on guitar.

Your sound and release is obviously something very different to Cult of Luna, did this make or dictate a different approach to songwriting and the recording of the EP to that general with the ‘day job’?

It is totally different but it is hard to explain. This might sound strange but with Riwen I have much lower standard of what I let slip through the riff writing conveyer belt I have in my head. With Cult of Luna I keep 1 out of 100 riffs but with Riwen I just write and whatever comes out I keep. The music is no less important to me but it is a very different outlook on the writing and a very cleansing experience.

The EP is raw and aggressive, brutal at times with an energy and primal intensity which suggests it was recorded live in the studio. How were the songs recorded?

We recorded the songs in a small mouldy DIY studio in Umeå. We recorded it during 6 hours in a cold and dark winter night. I told Fredrik (that recorded the whole thing) that I was going to give him two takes on each instruments. If I screw up then that is what is going to end up on the record. A few of my favorite albums of all time are a few of the worst recorded and played records of all time. If you play with sincerity it will come out on the recording even if you do some mistakes. I also love the idea of catching a moment. If you do something wrong and keep it you have caught the moment in where you recorded the song. If you spend days on a song and make sure everything is perfect you have killed the emotional life of it. If everything is fixed so it sounds spotless there is no way you can tell if the recording is 10-20 years old but if you keep the mistakes you have recorded a ”now” moment.

riwen coverDid you go into that process with specific goals or rather it was letting something new for you evolve organically?

My only goal was to write music that interests me. Whatever happens here on is totally unknown for us as for anyone else.

The caustic sound which ignites the release has an honesty and personality which for all its raging also seems to fuel songs with an intimacy or personal connection to the band. What inspired the songs and their lyrical premises?

It’s a hard question to answer since I have only written the songs for myself and no one else. So of course they are very personal but that is the nature of song writing. When it comes to the lyrics it is Fredrik’s contribution so I don’t have much to say about that.

How has the EP’s release been received and looked at by especially Cult of Luna fans?

I honestly don’t know. It hasn’t been reviewed in any major magazine as I know but that is nothing strange since EP’s doesn’t usually get that much attention. Haven’t heard anything from any Cult of Luna fans yet…but this is very different music than CoL and I don’t expect that people will like Riwen just because they like another band I’m in.

Do you think it took them and the music world’s expectations by surprise, their assumptions coloured again by your Cult of Luna successes?

I don’t think it is a secret that we came from the Umeå hardcore scene but I have no idea of what people expect from us as musicians. I am a very diverse person and I want and need to do a whole lot of different things to satisfy my creative lust and this is one of them. Next time I might turn 180 degrees and do something completely different.

Being just a trio initially, is there a form of freedom and maybe even excitement live and creating music which is especially for the former of the two things more restrained by the bigger size of your other band?

We are not a trio anymore even though we were at the time when the EP was recorded and I must say that it was very tempting to keep it that way. Creatively it is much easier but in the long run I think that it is good for a band to have many members. Tension is always going to be created and I think it is better to have many people to be able turn to when you feel aggravated. If you only are three and somebody is getting on your nerves it might create an infected situation for the group. The more people the more diluted the conflicts are.

Tell us about the live side of the band, again it is a different beast being just the three/five making a vat full of compelling and furious noise?

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Again, we are five now and we have only done one show so far and to be honest I didn’t feel it any different from Cult of Luna. Even though a live situation is a collective effort en responsibility I always play for myself and hardly know that the other members are there, except for the drummer.

Can we expect Riwen to be an on-going presence when other commitments allow?

I don’t know. Cult of Luna is always going to be my first priority musically and I have many more things that I want to do. Apart from that I am a parent and my family comes first. But it feels great to have this vent and even though we will not keep this pace of writing 20 songs in a year we will be able to tour and do shows every now and then.

What is next for the band and yourself?

We are just about to go into the studio to record our album. Hopefully we’ll be able to record about 15 songs but we need to have some bar of quality so I don’t know how many that will end up on the album. We have a few shows coming up but nothing booked outside of Scandinavia yet but I hope that we can get out in Europe next summer for a couple of shows.

Thanks again Johannes for taking time out to chat with us.

Thank you for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

Read the review of Riven’s debut EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/riwen-self-titled/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 03/12 /2014

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Panzerbastard/Tenebrae Split – Sons Of Belial

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Record Store Day is seeing some rigorously compelling releases this year including the mouth-watering Sons Of Belial split featuring Bostonians Panzerbastard and Tenebrae. Consisting of six tracks forged from an animosity driven union of hardcore and imposing dark metal, the release is a rugged and bruising slab of uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. Fierce sounds collude with lyrical and vocal antagonism as the two protagonists unleash not the year’s greatest moment but certainly one of its imposingly memorable propositions.

The first three songs on the split come from Panzerbastard, the quartet acclaimed for their impressive Gods, Thugs and Madmen album which came out in 2012 via Patac Records. They open things up with a cover of the GBH track Drugs Party In 526, a track instantly prowling ears and imagination with scorching hooks and a thick throaty bassline. It is a potent lure leading into a brawl of punk rock infused with metallic sinews and incitement. As the raw vocals engagingly court the antagonism fuelling every corner of sound, the band unveils a web of melodic temptation and sonic enterprise which simply lights up ears and appetite. It all adds up for a bracing and anthemic captivation getting the release off to a thrilling and intimidating start.

Workhorse is next and flies from the blocks with sonic turbulence behind voracious rhythms and ferocious riffery. Vocals virtually brawl with the senses from its first breath yet there is a swagger and virulence to the encounter which for not much over a minute drags the passions to their feet with ravenous tenacity. Whereas its predecessor enticed, especially towards its end, with a hostile dance of beats, the second song is an unbridled onslaught and just as irresistible.

The band’s offering is completed by another cover, this time of Motorhead’s Iron Fist. Severely caustic merciless rock ‘n’ roll from the first rub of sound, the track roars with the power and snarl of the song’s creators but is given a contagious punk make-over veined with spicy Panzerbastard invention. The song might not quite rival the original but certainly it gives it a run for its money.

Tenebrae steps up next, the quintet the striking union of hardcore talent including vocalist Mark Civitarese (The Unseen), drummer Rob Falzano (Ramallah, Blood for Blood), and guitarist Craig Silverman (Blood for Blood, Agnostic Front, Ramallah, Slapshot). Completed by Dominic Dibenedetto (guitar/vocals) and Ryan Packer (bass), Tenebrae come to the split fresh from the recent release of their self-titled EP, which is also available on Jailhouse Records. First track Wake Up swiftly fills ears with muscle driven beats and turbulent intensity encased in punk blooded riff aggression and squalling vocals. The track is a gripping blend of punk and metal, the former providing the heart and the latter the hostility. Threatening and openly infectious, the track has ears and appetite hungry, a want fed resourcefully by the heavy metal bred Ways Of The Black next. The track is the reverse of the previous in many ways, classic metal its canvas and punk its colourful chorus and addictive nature, which body and voice cannot resist engaging in.

The band’s final track Norse Tribe is their best, though all leave greed for more rampant. Predatory and savage in equal measure, with bludgeoning rhythms punctuating a scarring riff coloured fury, the track stalks and stomps with bestial intent and vitriolic charm as it brings the whole release to an incendiary and exhilarating close.

Sons Of Belial is a treat and the perfect way to celebrate Record Store Day but also in gaining entry into the intimidating and exhilarating confrontations of both Panzerbastard and Tenebrae.

The Sons Of Belial Split is available from November 28th via Jailhouse Records as a limited to 500 12” vinyl @ http://jailhouserecords3.bandcamp.com/album/sons-of-belial-panzerbastard-tenebrae-split

https://www.facebook.com/panzerbastardboston

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tenebrae/279454968783253

RingMaster 28/11/2014

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American Heritage – Prolapse

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With the departure of vocalist/guitarist Adam Norden following its recording, Prolapse from American Heritage might be the last thing heard from the Chicago band, but if this is so what a way to go out. It is a beast of a proposition, a tsunami of controlling grooves, belligerently aggressive rhythms, and a primal force of voice and breath. It is bullying mass of provocation and passion, a lingering statement from what will be a sorely missed band if there is to be no more.

Consisting of six new tracks and three covers brought in the fusion of thick sludge metal, imagination binding mathcore, and abrasing noise rock/hardcore ferocity the quartet is renowned for, the successor to acclaimed 2011 album Sedentary, uncages a caustic savaging which rivals anything they have unleashed before. Recorded with Sanford Parker and released through Solar Flare Records, sixth album Prolapse quite simply brings the band’s presence since 1996 to an incendiary and exhilarating end.

From the first sonic blast of opener Eastward Cast the Entrails, band and album has ears and attention severely grasped, the punishing initial touch leading into a bruising maelstrom of ferocious rhythms, corrosive riffs, and brawling vocals. Within the tempest though grooves raucously flirt and technical prowess seduces, the track increasingly expanding and flourishing in the imagination and emotions. Equally as it grows contagiousness coats the tenacity and enterprise of the guitars and rhythmic antagonism, the provocation becoming as seductive as it is hostile ensuring an insatiable and explosive start to the album swiftly matched by its successor.

Anxious Bedwetter roars and assaults with the entwined charm of Corrosion of Conformity, Mastodon, and Agnostic Front, it swiftly buffeting and igniting emotions with a torrential american_heritage_prolapseonslaught of raw riffery and rhythmic violence cast by drummer Mike Duffy. Again though there is a virulent temptation from scorching melodies and spicy grooves at work, all as uncompromising as the heart of the encounter but spreading irresistible magnetic toxicity. Vocally Norden leaves no syllable and emotion untainted by venom and anger whilst his and fellow guitarist Scott Shellhamer’s sonic temptation is simply bracing.

The pair of Obliviocrity and Constant and Consuming Fear of Death and Dying make no compromises on the senses, the first from another debilitating sonic squall and with nostrils flared, rampaging through ears on a breath-taking sonic turbulence and rhythmic inhospitality. To the destructiveness though again grooves are enflamed with a melodically brewed acidity and creative spice which invigorates and sears the senses. Its quick hellacious ravishment is contrasted by the prowling presence of the second of the pair. Reaped from the predatory essences of doom and sludge, the song crawls provocatively over the listener, imposing and oppressing in its air whilst exploring a brighter terrain of engaging melodies and radiant invention. There is still a menace to its raw beauty though, the band finding the same kind of dark allurement which has blessed the music of Killing Joke over the decades, bassist Erik Bocek, a constant primal enticement across the whole release, bringing forceful heavy seduction to the body of the song.

The hardcore severity always lurking within American Heritage is given full rein in the outstanding Mask of Lies next, the track a furnace of spite and rage with flesh flailing rhythms and riffery to match. It is a savaging you can only embrace and invite back time and time again, much as the next up Blackbird, it a hellacious forging of hardcore, punk, and noise rock rancor with psyche twisting invention. The track is a glorious predator and the pinnacle of the album, a relentless creative scourge which just has you drooling for more and ears and emotions exhausted.

The departure of the triumph is the start of the trio of covers on the album, starting with the outstanding take of the Descendents track Hürtin’ Crüe. It is an erosive swamp of sonic and vocal intensity, a merciless blaze with the charm of a public flogging and quite irresistible. It is followed by the Black Flag track Thirsty and Miserable, American Heritage treating it to their own kind of barbarous enterprise and stormily inventive bad blood before moving on to Bulletproof Cupid, the Girls Against Boys encounter. Openly salacious from its first vocal caress and fiercely imposing as soon as its first note preys on ears, the song is a delicious sinister seduction and dare one say even more potent than the original.

The track brings another unmissable offering from American Heritage to a fine close. What will be missed is the band’s presence, that realisation reinforced by Prolapse as it scars the senses whilst sparking a big tinge of sadness. Things move on and you just feel further raw adventures will be ahead in some guise from the members of the band, something very easy to breed an excited anticipation for, especially after this grand finale.

Prolapse is available now digitally and as CD and vinyl versions via Solar Flare Records @ http://music.solarflarerds.com/album/prolapse or http://americanheritage.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/americanheritageband

RingMaster26/11/2014

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Hombre Malo – Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath

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Pic: catty stone

 

Full of uncompromising fury and unbridled belligerence, Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath the new album from Norwegian band Hombre Malo, is an incendiary device to ignite the imagination and passions. Its explosive nature and severe hostility is not for the faint hearted but sandwiched between opening and closing tracks which made potent and sizeable impressions there lays a cauldron of blistering enterprise and virulent hostility to take the breath away. Creating a tempestuous fusion of hardcore and noise rock with stoner and sludge metal, Hombre Malo has unleashed a beast of an album which is sure to make a relatively unknown band a talking point in a broader expanse of mouths.

Hailing from Oslo, Hombre Malo was formed in 2008 by ex-members of Sons of Saturn and Ictus and features current members of MOE and Okkultokrati. The quartet since starting has splits with bands like Jack and the Bearded Fishermen, Desert Icons, and Sofy Major under their belt as well as their 2009 debut album The Ecstasy Of Devastation. All have bred acclaim and eager attention though it is easy to feel that Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath will be making the strongest impression for the band so far. Recorded with Ruben Willem and mastered by Brad Boatright (High On Fire, Ringworm, Nails), the band’s second album is a provocation from a band which you just feel relishes the turbulence they are going to create in the ears, thoughts, and emotions of their listeners.

Opener L’Etranger instantly casts stoner-esque grooves around ears as the album begins its conquest, their spicy coaxing matched by punchy beats designed again to grab attention. It is an inflammatory start for the imagination which loses a little of its potency when relaxing into a heavy and intensive stroll, though that small relinquishing of intrigue is compensated by the caustic tones of The Muerto, his throat spilling venom and spite with every forced syllable. With rises of rhythmic endeavour and the still virulently enticing grooves, the track has a firm hold as it continues to merge hardcore and punk with its sludgy tsunami of noise.

As mentioned earlier it is a strong start flooded with potential, as the band, but not able to inflames senses and passions as its successors begin to do from hereon in, starting with Crosses And hombre_maloMarching Feet. Striding from the news sample bulging link connecting the first two tracks, the song bawls and then brawls with ears as a crescendo of agitated beats and riffs fling themselves at the senses, all guided by again corrosive vocal squalls. Like a furnace sculpted by Melvins, Kunz, and Unsane, the track is all out assault of sonic voracity and creative mayhem honed into a deranged and addictive maelstrom.

Its success though is just a taster for the album’s pinnacle, the sensational Golden Calf. Again the song evolves from its predecessor, a great tendency of the release, and is soon crawling over the psyche with its corruptive rhythms and sonic unpredictability. Just as swiftly as the violent temptation takes hold, a swagger comes to grooves and beats, a swinging lure complimenting the equally infectious eruptions of bruising mass vocals. The further into its body it takes ears the more gripping the blaze of punk rock bred antagonism and predation aligned to psych rock ingenuity. Like a mix of Poison Idea and fellow Oslo band Shevils, the track is a vicious contagion which with a cleaner vocal delivery and unrelenting splinters of sonic taunting and teasing, simply ignites ears.

A darker sludge spawned turn to the album comes next through Vladislav, a track inspired by the homophobic murder of 23-year-old Russian Vladislav Tornovoi. The song prowls the senses from the start, riffs and grooves weighty and predacious intimidation stalking the listener. It is a constant pressure and oppressive enticing offered by the seven minute track, from its first breath to last a senses smothering provocation equipped with a carnivorous bass tone and raw vocal expression to match similar toxicity cast by the guitars. It too finds a catchy character within itself so that by its end it is stomping with a virulent suasion before making way for the punkish roar of Reaching The Shore. With the sonic voracity of a Coilguns to its hardcore truculence, the song scowls and boils with spiteful enterprise and abrasing intensity before it too has to part for its outstanding successor.

Elena, from a melancholic and abrasive melodic start which is portentous and seductive simultaneously, detonates a ravenous and sonically disorientating expulsion which soon settles into a no less uncompromising but more ordered creative shuffle. It is another song where it explores a contagiousness to grip feet and imagination whilst gnawing upon and spilling toxicity over senses and emotions. It is a glorious and hellacious ravishment which reveals even more of the incredible potential and already accomplished devilry in the band’s songwriting and sound.

The album finishes on the epic Deathbed Conversation, a track which flies from the traps with thrilling caustic ferocity. It is an engrossing storm, though when it slips into a provocative and darkly emotive exploration of its central character’s narrative amidst a haunting ambience and ethereal melodies, it lacks the inescapable grip of its predecessors if not the intriguing and impressing invention. Nevertheless it is a fine and potent end to an excellent incitement, a release suggesting that there is still much more to come from the depths of Hombre Malo, whilst establishing the band as one tremendous onslaught right now.

Persistent Murmur Of Words Of Wrath is available now via Disiplin Media @ https://disiplinmedia.bandcamp.com/album/persistent-murmur-of-words-and-wrath

https://www.facebook.com/hombremalo666

RingMaster 14/11/2014

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Roaring flames: Introducing This Burning City

This Burning City

One song does not make a band but it certainly is enough to pay close and eager attention upon one and so it is with Ignorance the debut single from Canadian hardcore rockers This Burning City. The teaser for an upcoming EP, the track is visceral and sonically compelling introduction with a vicious contagion to match. Not wanting to wait until the upcoming EP to learn more, we grabbed the chance to fire off a few questions at the band to discover their background, influences, and more….

Hi guys and thanks for talking with us.

Can we start by asking about the band and its background?

Hey there RingMaster. Thanks a lot for opportunity to chat. This Burning City is a hardcore band from the small town of Gananoque, Ontario. We all knew each other from school and came up with the idea of getting together and making noises. Nothing serious but as time went by we loved what we did and This Burning City formed. We’ve been together for roughly 3 years now, but have jammed together for longer.

You have had a few changes in personnel since forming, the norm for plenty of bands but how has that impacted on your hardcore fuelled sound along the way?

No major changes, but a few bumps in the road really. I think in the beginning we didn’t really have any direction or idea of what we wanted. We looked up to bands and said “We want to be THAT” and wrote what we could. After the line-up changes, I think everyone was finally on the same page on what we wanted and we finally could start writing the music that we really wanted to put out. So to answer your question I’d say yes, it has influenced our hardcore sound, but in a good way.

Who would you list as the biggest influences on the band’s sound and you as individual musicians?

It’s extremely safe to say that our biggest influences as a band are Ritual (Ex. Dead And Divine), Stray From The Path, and The Chariot. Other than these three, we all really take influence from Prophets, Holly Springs Disaster, Of Temples, and The Color Morale. You can hear most of these bands in our music, and the influence is pretty clear and direct.

Tell us about the single Ignorance which was released earlier this year, is it a thick example of your sound generally for newcomers to get an idea of what This Burning City is all about?

Ignorance was selected as our single to lead into the EP that we have in the works. When writing music for the EP, we made this song and absolutely HAD to put it out. It was designed to give people a taste of what we had to come, the new direction we were going in, and keep people waiting for the EP. It was recorded in a small basement by Jordan Bulhoes of Suns Of Static and it was mixed and mastered by Jordan Valeriote who has worked on some really huge bands such as Silverstein, Neck Deep, Structures and many others. It’s a very good example of what’s to come, but since writing the single, we’ve written some truly outstanding music that will blow away anyone who enjoys the single.

What about the EP, any info you can share?

We just finished some gruelling days in the studio with Zane of North Of Princess studio to put together a really, really amazing EP. Right now we’re waiting for some early mixes and then it’s off to become truly magical.

Can you give us a spoiler as to its sound and direction?

All I can say at this time is that the sound is going to be huge, the melodies are going to be magical, and to those who have heard us before, it is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever released. Honestly, we all couldn’t be more excited.

You seem to be getting a potent reputation for your live presence also and have played with a horde of bands including the likes of Horizons, Atlas, Fairview, End Of Crisis, and With Blood Drenched Hands. On stage is where the band is most at home?

The stage is definitely our home. When we entered the studio, we looked like deer in the headlights. We didn’t know what to do. But the moment we need to hit the stage, we’re like a well-oiled machine. It’s the place where we let loose, connect with the people we play with, and try our hardest to create a memorable experience. It’s all energy and smiles when we’re up there.

You have a show coming up with He Is Legend and Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster as well as others. How are feelings as it looms closer and this is one of your biggest shows to date?

Well first and foremost we are excited to be sharing the stage with such amazing bands. But at the same time, we are a bit nervous. Kingston, Ontario has the bad tendency to not give these bands the attention they really deserve. I hope the locals will come out and support them. I know we’ll be a bit nervous to open, but like every time, we’ll get over it and truly kick the shit out of the performance.

What else has the band in store for the rest of the year leading into next?

Lots of big plans! Once the EP is out, we’re going to do our best to get it into the hands of people we don’t know and get the name out. Touring is a definite possibility. And of course, we’re always looking ahead to the next big step: our album. The ball is always rolling with us.

Thanks again for sharing your time, anything you wish to shout out to finish off with?

Thank you again for the questions! All I have to say is we are This Burning City! Check us out at www.facebook.com/ThisBurningCity or go to our website at www.ThisBurningCity.com. Check us out at a show near you and listen to the newest single, Ignorance.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 14/11/2014

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Eyes Of Mara – Self Titled

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At times bedlamic, and very often a cacophonous onslaught, the debut self-titled album from US metallers Eyes Of Mara is one of the most compelling and savage releases this year. It is a provocation that gives you no choice but to dive headlong into its vicious depths, the release dragging ears and senses into its fury from the very first second but once enslaved it reveals an exhausting and invigorating brawl of invention and ferocious enterprise.

Metalcore, deathcore, hardcore, however you wish to tag the band’s sound, Eyes Of Mara cast a destructive web which draws on hordes of different flavours to create their simultaneously familiar yet unique ravaging of the senses and imagination. Formed in 2010 and taking their name from a Buddhist demon who is the embodiment of impulse and death, the band was swiftly igniting audiences with their furnace of sound and hostility. A year ago their well-received first EP Akkadia was unleashed, drawing attention and acclaim towards the Californian quartet. Having recently signed with Imminence Records, Eyes Of Mara now have broader horizons in their sight and their album the next uncaged persuasion.

Opening track is called Vicious and that sums it and the album up perfectly. From fiercely jabbing beats, caustic riffs, and a vocal squall of pure rage, the track explodes in one hellacious torrent of spiteful rhythms and insatiable riffery lorded over by even more malicious vocals. It is a maelstrom of energy and noise, a sonic whipping flailing the core and hunger of the track as varied essences and vocal diversity add to the cacophony resulting in one glorious and brutal tsunami. There is a surface turmoil to the song but with a wickedly creative underbelly, though the sheer force and urgency of the assault overrides the senses predominantly. At times reminding of Slipknot as their inhospitable best, the track is a seriously destructive and thrilling start.

A more reserved entrance to the following Control gives a sense of security for ears though it is a deceit which is soon twisted into a volatile and ravenous tempest of intent and sound. Grooves bred by guitarist John Rubay groan throughout the ravishment consuming ears whilst the uncompromising rhythms of drummer Nick Rubay hold no restraint in swing and impact. It is merciless proposition but whereas the opener was an unbridled storm the second song is more of a predator feistily stalking its victim. Its more defined entrapment is matched by Don’t Get Close, a track where nu-metal tendencies share their colour with the emerging and sonically scorched tapestry being woven by the band. Essences of Korn search out for the imagination but equally a Whitechapel/As I Lay Dying like violence is on rampant display as the track makes a two pronged and inescapable persuasion. Vocalist Tyler Trainer is almost schizophrenic in his variety of attacks whilst the heavy intimidating lines of bass from Cody McDonald impressively add to the dark depths and hostility of the encounter.IR021

Both Pain and Fear and Our Paths keep the blistering rage and corrosive attacks coming, the first an antagonistic bruising with an underlying swagger and a host of seductively compelling grooves. It is a rhythmic mugging and sonic cruelty which just keeps giving, resulting in yet another virulently contagious and imaginatively punishing treat, whilst its successor riding its range on an enthralling steed of unpredictable rhythms, unveils further riveting and exciting surprises. The clean vocal venturing leaves any expectations which are maybe thinking of rising floundering, whilst similarly the melodic hardcore and almost progressive twists of the song, plus electro hues, catch deeply satisfied thoughts and emotions off guard.

The hardcore fuelled Derailed sears ears next, a short but vehemently intrusive song featuring Ian Forsythe from fellow Danville based band Cyborg Octopus, is pure vitriol in voice and energy. Yet as in all songs anything suggested is only part of the story, this track flirting with and scything through the senses and imagination with a torrential barrage of creative adventure and inventive voracity. It’s far too brief corruption is followed by a new turn in of events started by Rebirth. From this point the album shows another side to its character and the band’s exploration in sound and songwriting. Coaxing with a progressively nurtured and haunting calm, the song relentlessly builds up a dramatic and captivating wall of restrained yet oppressive sound. It is an evocative lure which consumes the length of the instrumental, and though as its peaceful climax leaves a slight dissatisfaction at the absence of the hinted eruption to come, it sparks emotions ready for the chilling exploration of Colder. Like a mix of Palms, Converge, and maybe Killswitch Engage, the track is an enthralling venture into new corners for the album, and though it lacks the addictive toxicity which wonderfully contaminates early songs, it is a heavily riveting and intimidating slab of emotive beauty and impassioned rancor.

Behind These Walls provides an outlet for the muscular adversarial might of the band to over-run ears and senses again, riffs and rhythms as incorrigible as they are brutal, matched by an exhaustingly mercurial vocal display and sonic ire. To this there are more twists than in a rat run in wait, a delicious sidestep into a thumping stride of rock ‘n’ roll rampancy and swaggering particularly stunning. It is another major peak across the lofty mountainous range of great tracks making the album bulge, only the infernal fade-out a minor niggle for tastes.

Closing on the inhospitable and tempestuous Force Of Change, metal and hardcore in barbaric union, the album is a sensational and ravenous triumph. Eyes Of Mara ensure it needs close attention and extra work at times in order to swim through the sonic winds surfacing the fearsome adventure, but rewards with a whirlwind of invention and flavour to make another important release of 2014.

Eyes Of Mara is available digitally and physically now via Imminence Records @ https://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/eyes-of-mara

https://www.facebook.com/eyesofmara

RingMaster 31/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fleshworld/Gazers/Viscera/// – Split CD

Split_cover art

This October seems like it is the month of split releases, many compelling link-ups sharing some striking sounds and bands. Unquiet Records are releasing one of the more notable encounters in the shape of a split release between Polish hardcore bred post metallers Fleshworld, French blackened post-hardcorers Gazers, and Italian psychedelic metallers Viscera///. It is a gripping collection of songs which come from different angles of sonic consumption but unite in a mutual heavy and depressive examination of senses and imagination. It is an enthralling proposition, a release which can devour ears and emotions in a nihilistic landscape of intensity and sound but also treat them to contagious and just as toxic refreshing enterprise.

The first three tracks are provided by Kraków quintet Fleshworld, a band drawing on inspirations from the likes of Opeth, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, and Deathspell Omega in their sound. They have already awoken attention through previous 6-track release Like we’re all equal, also released on Unquiet, and here get the split off to an imposing and potent start. Their first track Krąg grips ears with a sonic lancing before bulky rhythms twist over the senses. It is a tasty start added to by the melodic groove wrapping around the initial bait of the song. With a vocal sample adding to the emerging shadowed drama, the track flirts and intimidates with equal success, the guitars of Mateusz Szczurek and Kuba Leszko sculpting a captivating design within the increasingly darker and oppressive rhythmic provocation bred by drummer Szymon Łuczyński and bassist Łukasz Klamiński. The song continues to threaten and seduce, as the raw vocal squalls of Tytus Kalicki rage and spill venom across the bewitching consumption of ears and emotions. Acidic melodies and barbarous hooks are never far from the surface of the growing tempest though, it all making for a scintillating start to the release.

   The band’s other pair of songs never quite match up to the first such it’s might, but Pętla with its heavy resonating bass lure and similarly magnetic rhythmic enticement certainly comes close. It is a captivating entrance which spreads a blackened and caustic breath across its spine through evocative melodies from the guitar and a raw hostility to the vocals respectively. It emerges as a brooding and increasingly chilling erosive wash which leaves thoughts lost in a barren corrosive soundscape and emotions exposed to a stark sonic climate. Its successor Rezygnacja, which features guest vocals from Alex Stjernfeldt and Victor Wegeborn from The Moth Gatherer, is similarly drenched in uncompromising and oppressive textures within a destructive atmosphere, but again shape its scenery with an impressive and attention gripping display from drums and bass. The rawest uncomfortable track of the three, it reveals more of the immersive depths and skilled composing of Fleshworld and their ability to lock the listener willingly into a scarring embrace.

Hailing from Paris, the 2012 formed quintet of Gazers has also earned a potent reputation through their self-titled EP of last year and live shows where they have graced stages alongside the likes of The Rodeo Idiot Engine, Cowards, Loma Prieta, Code Orange Kids, and Twitching Tongues. There first contribution to the split comes in the intrigue drenched Rash, a track taking its time to seize the senses. From a cold and raw ambience also infused with sampled vocals, though a distant whisper here, the song erupts in a blaze of hardcore, crust surfaced animosity. Spiky hooks and cruel grooves emerge as vocals roar with malcontent, a greater anger and maliciousness coating each step of the song’s evolution. It is a potent track which makes for a keen but uneasy listen before the stronger weight and adventure of The Decline takes over. Firm beats and rugged scythes of guitar are met by a deranged flame of riffs, everything at odds but fitting masterfully to ensnare ears and appetite. Further in a mellower but no less stark and intimately imposing passage plays with the imagination too, it adding to the great unpredictability of song and the band’s engrossing enterprise.

     The following Epilogue is the same, a song never allowing thoughts and emotions rest as it roams and permeates the senses with a revolving rage of gripping rhythms, sonic abrasing, and vocal ferocity. The best of Gazers’ trio of offerings, the track is a maelstrom of creative spite and imaginative turbulence worrying and igniting the senses for an intensive and flavoursome examination.

The final two songs on the release comes from Viscera///, a band employing essences and experiences in styles like post hardcore, space rock, ambient, and drone, gained by members past and present of bands such as Morkobot, Blanca Division, Malasangre, The Drop Machine, Mount Piezein Circle, Edema, Wicked Minds, The Vendetta, and Self Human Combustion. With two albums, many splits, and tours all across Europe under their belt, the trio now turn their attention to the split and unleash their gripping mix of metal and psyche rock. Versus swiftly tightens its steely grip on ears with rigid beats and acerbic grooves, they a spring board for subsequent waves of rolling rhythms, ravenous blackened pestilence, and in turn voracious tsunamis of sound and malevolence. It is a hellacious mix but one where very turn is complete with sparking twists of invention and sonic radiance.

Its successor Nobody’s Diary, a cover of the Yazoo track, ignites ears and imagination with even more triumphant ingenuity next. The track instantly storms the psyche with virulent and scathing riffery as sonic blooms break out around its tempest, but it is the unexpected display of clean vocals which tips the balance and inspires a delicious multi-flavoured landscape of warped and imaginative endeavour to steal the passions. With its sound aligned to a thick sludgy furnace of hostility, the song is an outstanding end to a rather impressive and thoroughly enjoyable encounter.

Personal tastes dictates which songs stand above others but every track and each of the three bands, make a compelling and richly satisfying persuasion impossible to resist.

The Split release is available now via Unquiet Records @ www.unquietrecords.com/product/fleshworldgazersviscera-3-way-split/

https://www.facebook.com/fleshworld

https://www.facebook.com/Gazersband

https://www.facebook.com/viscera3stripes/

RingMaster 16/10/2104

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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