Long riffs and binding grooves: an interview with Valfader Interview

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With the ability to sculpt riffs that almost need a certain bravery to stand before and a skill in casting melodic designs stretched with rigorusly seducing grooves which take on a predacious quality when locked together, UK band Valfader has emerged as one of the most imposingly creative and thrilling adventurous propositions to come out of British heavy rock/metal in recent years. Hailing from Bath the trio of guitarist/vocalist Dean Gaylard, bassist Matt Jones, and drummer Gareth Jones first drew acclaimed blood with their Whispers of Chaos last year with even greater attention and praise coming through the epic single Opening earlier this year. Long overdue a chat we stole time from the band to talk about the birth of Valfader, their organic songwriting, and depriving sound engineers of half day holidays as well as plenty more…

Hi guys and thanks for taking time to talk with us.

First up can we find out about the beginnings of Valfader, how you all met and started the band as well as personal histories before the event?

It all started about 9 years ago, yep 9 years ago. Me (Gaz) and Dean were in a rock / prog band playing local bars in Bath – Bristol area from 2005 till 2009 and along the way we met a lot of awesome musicians which we still know today. We had a nice little run supporting some awesome bands but we were nothing serious. Sure in our booze fuelled minds we were going to take over the world, but it didn’t matter how much we put into the band we were going nowhere slowly. We split in the winter of 2009 and we both stopped playing music all together, and went our separate ways but still remained good friends. After 7, or maybe 8 months we ran into each other at a venue in Bath and we started talking about the good old days, music and whose round it was next ha-ha. Anyway, we talked about having a little jam at a local rehearsal rooms and that was it! We realized after the first jam that the passion was still there, ok a little rusty, but planned a second rehearsal a week later to pick up where we left off. A few months into it we started to look for a bassist. We asked a few mates but none of them could commit, but that didn’t stop us, so we posted an advert on the Web and after a few weeks, maybe 4, Matt rolled up and as they say, the rest is history and here we are now

Did you start out with a specific intent or direction for the band?

Not really – we really aren’t that organised! We never really plan stuff or think long term. In the beginning we never sat down and said “let’s be a stoner rock band” or “let’s be like this band”. We just knew what music we liked and enjoyed jamming together. After that, our “sound” came together so we put it out there to see what happened.

Your sound merges the rich essences of stoner and heavy rick with sludge and doom bred emotive tenacity, not forgetting the voracious riffs. It is a distinctive and increasingly unique sound daring people to try and label it. How would you describe your music to newcomers?

Ha – we have no idea man! It’s not something we have really worried about or tried to do! We have read lots of different descriptions about ourselves that have used the terms doom, stoner, psychedelic, rock, progressive, metal and ambient so take your pick I guess!!

How do you see it has evolved since starting out in 2010 and the recent release of Opening?valfader opening

In the beginning our songs were much shorter, more uniform in the sense of verse / chorus etc. and more one dimensional. However as we all played together more and brought our ideas to the table, the songs grew longer in duration and more diverse in different sounds, which is where we are now!

Is Opening a single or EP, I have seen it described both because of its length, often in the same piece ha-ha.

We put Opening out there as a single. As you may have noticed we tend to write long songs so this was just one track for us… however, if people want to consider it as an EP then that’s cool.

Last year saw the release of your debut EP Whispers of Chaos, which was where we discovered you. It has seemed to have whipped up a storm of attention and eagerness for the band. How has it been on the inside since its release?

On a day to day basis, not much has changed for us really. We all still work full time jobs, look after family, meet up for jams and try to get gigs! However we now have this global online presence which is lovely. It’s been very humbling and gratifying to see how far our music has travelled and how well it has been received. The attention for the band seems to come in waves, which can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

Did its success surprise you even with your obvious confidence in your own music?

It totally blew us away – completely. We still remember talking in the van the night before we were going to put it out there on Bandcamp, we really had no idea how it would be received as we don’t sound like other bands out there – we were so tense!! The amount of positive reviews and comments we received were far in excess of anything we could have hoped for, so a big thanks to everyone involved again!!

Was there any extra pressure on you because of its success emotionally for your next unveiling?

It’s hard to say – I guess so though. We were all really clear that we really wanted Opening to be another step forward from the EP, which we feel we achieved.valfader4

Did you learn anything from the EP which made you approach Opening any differently?

(Gaz) – I was a lot more relaxed this time around and I believe you can hear that in my drumming. Recording Whispers I was nervous as hell and only had a day to record four tracks, so was holding back trying not to fuck up. On Opening I was more relaxed and enjoyed every minute, plus the producer and a good friend of the band who came to film us are fellow drummers, so I was talking shop all day with them which made a nice change.

Opening consists of a single epic fourteen minute or so track; so with your songs generally on the side of epic in length how difficult was it to write a track of such a long presence to ensure it enthrals ears and imagination constantly, which it surely does?

In all honesty there was no real intention of making it so long, the song evolved out of the initial clean riff and just kept growing. I think we have a pretty relaxed approach to song writing, we rarely set out to do something deliberately, it’s usually just a case of letting the mood of the music take us somewhere and not getting too analytical about it.

So it a track which evolved organically in sound and length, or one you planned more precisely before strings were plucked and riffs spawned?

Generally our songs do evolve quite organically, though this one was more or less written as a whole prior to playing it together. This is quite unusual as I think we benefit greatly from each other’s contributions when song writing.

How long did the song take to record, I heard it was done in a day?

Yep – all done in a day!! I think the sound engineer thought he was in for an early finish when we told him we only wanted to record one song – then he found out it was 14 mins long!!

Opening presented a different facet to the music found on the EP; is this a swing in direction for future releases to explore or just another character in your overall sound?

A bit of both really. Again – when we write songs we never try to make them sound a particular way or force them into a genre. They evolve naturally which means all our songs are quite diverse. We are currently writing quite a lot of new material, some of which is more like Opening in style, others more like tracks from the EP.

VALFADER  Cover ArtworkThere is also an intimacy to the song maybe not as open on Whispers of Chaos, something you feel too?

Yeah definitely, it’s quite an emotional song, and I (Dean) felt pretty damn nervous about recording so many clean vocal lines. I think there’s quite a vulnerability to the song, but hopefully that’s a good thing, there’s no pretence, just an honest expression of something both painful and beautiful.

Riveting riff driven rock whether stoner/sludge/or simply of heavy metal descent seems to be on a very healthy and powerful ascent across the UK right now with emerging bands, such as Morass Of Molasses, Desert Storm, XII Boar, Caravan of Whores being four examples coming to mind alongside yourselves. Are you finding the appetite and hunger is there from fans too not only for releases but live shows?

Honestly? Not really! It does seem to us that people don’t seem to be prepared to go out to local shows and bands to support music scenes anymore. People will spend hundreds of pounds to go to some large venue to watch a band that’s been around for 20-30 years but don’t seem willing to walk down the road and spend £5 to see 4 or 5 bands that they haven’t heard. We have played some gigs where there is a good local scene and support for new music, but feel these are all too rare. We have also played on bills with some amazingly talented musicians to pretty empty rooms!

How about from promoters and venues putting on gigs, same attitude?

We are lucky to work with Cowbell promotions in Bath. These guys are REAL music enthusiasts who put on shows simply because they love the music. They have been amazingly supportive of us and helped get us out there, so a huge thanks needs to go to them. The music industry desperately NEEDS more people like this. Unfortunately all too often promoters and venues don’t really give a shit who you are or what you sound like, they just want you to guarantee ticket sales and make money. We understand that of course they are businesses and have costs etc. to cover, but there seems to be little to no interest in music, or working with and supporting bands

What comes next for Valfader and for the rest of 2014 from you?

We are having a little break over the summer after a run of gigs and then hoping to get back into the studio to record a new full length album towards the end of the year. This thing is shaping up to be massive. Over an hour in length and more riffs that you can point a very pointy thing at!

Finances are tight if absent for most emerging bands so many are turning to crowd funding sites to try and finance releases etc. Something you feel you might look at ahead or do you feel it is an option still only for bands with an established active fanbase right now?

It’s something we have considered and talked about, but not something we are completely comfortable with I thinkvalfader3

Once again a big thanks for chatting with us; any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us pondering?

Thank you! We really appreciate websites such as yourself and the work you do to help bands. Huge thanks to everyone who has bought our music, come to see us, sent us nice messages or supported us in anyway. It really makes a difference and is so appreciated by us all. And support local music – new bands need your help!! Don’t worry – Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor are ok for money!!

And lastly give us an idea of the most inspirational records which went some way to sparking the need in you to make music.

GAZ – It’s all about Sabbath and Zeppelin. Just hearing any tracks of theirs inspires me to play the drums whether I’m behind the kit or not.

DEAN – Well the bands which got me going originally were Metallica, Pearl Jam, Pantera and probably a load of dodgy Nu metal bands when I was 16, ha-ha. Now I’m always searching for music which doesn’t sit too comfortably within one genre, I really love Opeth, Elder, Baroness, and Maeth to name but a few!

MATT – oh so many!! I suppose early on bands like Slayer, Nirvana and Pearl Jam gave me the idea of picking up an instrument and playing it. Deftones, Glassjaw and Isis made me want to express something emotive and beautiful, and the guys from a band called Jim Fear first made me believe I could do it!!

www.facebook.com/valfader

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/08/2014

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Brimstone Coven – Self-Titled

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Psychedelically distilled, the dark occult rock fusion of retro-hard rock and doom which is cast by US band Brimstone Coven is a flight of nostalgia and modern enterprise rolled into one fiery proposition. As openly evidenced by their new self-titled album, it is a sound and incitement which roars and seduces with its sounds but also ebb and flows in strength and persuasion at times, especially if there is no dormant passion and appetite for the genre they explore within their recipient. Yet it is only fair to say even with that obstacle before it, the release makes for a compelling and often rigorously captivating offering which awakens the imagination and flirts with the passions.

The album sees the uniting of second release II and a preceding self-titled EP/album from the West Virginian band which began in 2011 with guitarist Corey Roth, who subsequently brought vocalist “Big John” Williams, bassist Andrew D’Cagna, and drummer Justin Wood into the project; the latter replaced by Dan Hercules until his more recent return. The success of the band’s live presence and their first two releases, led to them signing with Metal Blade Records at the tail of last year going into this. The new unleashing gives their previous encounters a combined and wider canvas to enthral from and it is fair to say that the album does that with consummate ease.

The thumping beats opening up first track Cosmic Communion instantly ensures attention and appetite is rigorously awoken, its instinctive raps swiftly joined by flames of guitar and the potent melodic voice of Williams. It is a strong coaxing which finds a potent vein of magnetism with swinging grooves and sonic weaves of flavoursome enterprise over which group harmonies also impress. The song is soon casting a revelry which is as potent urgently shifting its feet or making a more sultry seduction, each leaving ears and emotions fully engaged. Thoughts of Pentagram and Orange Goblin come to mind in varying degrees as the track makes an invigorating start to the release. Its success is not quite matched by the moodier Behold, the Anunnaki, its air and attitude a darker presence to the more celebratory essence of its predecessor. The bass instantly catches the ear, its heavy shadowed tones even more pronounced and intrigue ridden than in the first song, whilst the excellent vocals again smoulder and soar enjoyably singularly and as a group, bringing an Alice In Chains essence to the narrative and feel of the song. A repetitive prowl of bass and aligning riffs equally makes a rich lure to the track which though definitely lacking the spark of the first, still leaves a contented feeling behind.

The Black Door pushes emotions and pleasure back up to that early plateau with its sinister yet absorbing beauty. Grooves and melodic hooks litter the mesmeric landscape of the song, its paths of again throaty basslines and more monotone kissed vocal enticing just as irresistible as those more openly grabbing lures. It is the best track on the album by far, everything about its invention and body dangerously seductive and hypnotically imposing, like an occult themed episode of seventies TV show Hammer House of Horror. The album never quite repeats the song’s glory again though the likes of the sultry Blood On The Wall and The Grave with its ravenous enticement as well as the slowly crawling Lord & Master give plenty to contemplate and striking rewards in. The second of the trio especially ignites a fresh hunger, its rawer and vivacious stoner lit textures a healthily appetising provocation to which blazes of guitar imagination and sonic rapacity flirt evocatively, whilst its successor is a slow burning tempting which grows and enslaves emotions over time with raw elegance and dramatic sonic poetry leading to a blaze of a finale.

The addictive almost predatory riffing which is soon in place through Vying makes for another inescapable baiting, though the song never manages to quite breed the same depth of potency through the rest of its accomplished ideation and craft. Again though it is a song which leaves a lingering thread of allurement which draws you back into its resourceful grasp, something The Séance is less successful in creating despite its presence making for a pleasing if quite quickly forgotten encounter, especially with the intensive weight and atmosphere of The Folly of Faust coming soon after, its thick smothering air a tempestuous spark to the imagination.

The remainder of the album is made up by Brimstone Coven’s first release, a heavier and darker toned collection of songs thanks to their raw recordings and production, but also tracks which just do not have the same spark and life as those before them. It is easy to see why that first EP drew strong attention though with tracks like We Are Forever with its smoky blues atmosphere and the more classic metal hued The Ancients showing all the potential exploited better in the following album. With Son of the Morning making the most potent impression of the remaining songs, the whole album is a fascinating proposition, a journey back to previous eras but finding plenty to awaken a modern palate, even those with a less keen appetite for those older times.

Brimstone Coven has the potential to make a major statement ahead taking their album as suggestive evidence, its persistently convincing presence increasingly persuasive as it immerses ears and thoughts.

Brimstone Coven is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://www.metalblade.com/brimstonecoven/

http://www.brimstonecoven.com/

8/10

RingMaster 06/08/2014

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Guilty As Charged – Leap of Faith

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On the evidence of their debut album Leap of Faith, Belgian metallers Guilty As Charged create a brew of thrash fuelled heavy metal which without stretching originality too far provides a rather tasty and invigorating proposition. The band’s new album is a fiery and creatively gripping encounter which surges and rampages with all the right moves to ignite ears and passions as its ferocious enterprise works away on the imagination. A game changer it is not but for riotous pleasure and honest satisfaction not many albums have surpassed Leap of Faith so far this year.

Formed in 2008, Guilty As Charged soon made a good impression with their live shows and the following year through the demo Boxed In. That was followed by the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Pro-Pain, UDO, and Stormrider as well as festival appearances at events such as the Alcatraz Metal Festival in 2011 with Helloween and Death Angel, and Masters @ Rock 2012 with Soulfly & Channel Zero. Recorded last year, Leap of Faith is poised to push the foursome of vocalist/ rhythm guitar Jan De Vuyssere, lead guitarist Dempsey Derous, bassist Hannes De Caluwe, and drummer Matthew Vandenberghe into a wider and more intensive spotlight, one certainly deserved by the storming presence and exciting escapades within the release.

Opening track Preach to the Masses instantly seizes ears and attention with its swipe of melodic coaxing which is soon over run with thumping rhythms alongside keen and feisty riffs. It is an easy bait to find an appetite for, one growing Albumcover Leap Of Faithinto a magnetic stroll of roving beats and a senses entwining sonic enticement. The raw and grizzled vocal roar of De Vuyssere only accentuates the impressive and incendiary start, sparking off an even richer strain of guitar endeavour to snake across the song’s climate. In full muscular flight, the track badgers and intimidates with resourceful enterprise and a great rapacious groove which flirts perfectly with the throaty basslines and the melodic scorching of heavy metal incitement. It is a riveting entrance by the album, not one to leave jaws slack in awe but one to fire up body and emotions for a greedy anticipation for the subsequent tracks.

Those expectations are soon fed a tasty morsel with Last Chance, a track which does not quite match the opening plateau but still sets its own thrilling level with predatory riffs and similarly gaited rhythms and vocals. There is an underlying hostility to the song but it is tempered by the blaze of melodic enticement and skilled sonic suggestiveness. The vocals like the music mix up their textures and attacks to add their own depth and intrigue to the rampant confrontation. Its triumph is soon rivalled by the outstanding title track which from its funky lead in expels waves of sonic intrigue to which the ever impressing vocals add their expressive narrative. The dark hearted tones of the bass and ridges of riffs only add to the rigorously contagious encounter whilst Derous lays a web of ingenious bait which is as insatiable as it is addictive. There is also a punk edge to the track which offers hints of Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard to the flavoursome and impressing mix.

Both the Metallica like I’ll Never and the enthralling Lonewolf bring diversity and potency to the release, the first prowling and gnawing on ears with sinister expression and predatory invention which sparks the imagination into new adventures. Its successor again has that fierce attitude and breath with an air of the likes of Megadeth and Testament to it yet with its exploratory sonic designs equally provides something individual to the band. Both tracks incite the listener to join their potently anthemic calls before the melodic caress of Elysium wraps its elegance around ears. With rising sultry flames of guitar and emotive hues, the instrumental makes for an evocative engagement before making way for the bruising presence of Lack Of Control. With a caustic scent to its rapacious intensity and attitude, the track boils and bellows with passion and antagonistic purpose whilst veining its roar with acidic shards of sonic invention and colour which as much as the song intimidates equally seduces.

The album is closed by Down, maybe the least eventful and striking track on the release but a song bringing Leap Of Faith to a mighty close with its Pantera-esque swinging groove and simply ravenous intensity. As suggested Guilty As Charged do not change the face of heavy and thrash metal with their first album but certainly they have given it a thrilling and explosively enterprising new proposition and who cannot be up for that?

The self-released Leap of Faith is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guilty-As-Charged/73401643876

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/08/2014

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SECOND RATE ANGELS get ‘Dragged Out’‏

Second Rate Angels Online Promo picture

RISING METAL COMBO SECOND RATE ANGELS RELEASE NEW VIDEO!

UK metallers ‘Second Rate Angels’ have just unleashed their cracking new video single ‘Dragged out’, taken from their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Lost Days’. Watch the video for ‘Dragged Out’ here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU1Lkyk0zhg .

 

Drawing from traditional heavy metal, as well as taking inspiration from Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trivium, Second Rate Angels serve up a fresh take on the metal genre. Look out as the ascending quartet hit the road this Autumn in support for their new single ‘Dragged Out’ and current EP ‘The Lost Days’.

 

Second Rate Angels were born at the end of 2011 and soon began to wow audiences with their high octane live shows. Coming at you from Hemel Hempstead and featuring Chris Lewis (Guitars and Backing Vocals), Matt Clark (Guitars and Backing Vocals), Dave Gobran (Vocals and Bass) and Andy Doran (Drums), the foursome nailed performances at Bloodstock Open Air Festival, and went on to play a string of highly successful shows throughout London and the South, landing supports with the likes of Breed 77, Beholder and Zico Chain along the way.

 

The lively quartet have just released their debut EP ‘The Lost Days’ and the record picked up wide praise from national press, radio and key online publications. The band were also featured on the cover CD of Metal Hammer, as well as notching glowing reviews from Big Cheese Magazine and Powerplay. Second Rate Angels now push on with their new video single ‘Dragged Out’ which delivers a serious blow to your senses with its alluring dynamics, stout intensity and soaring refrain. Look out for tour dates and shows soon to be announced via the band’s social sites.

 

 VIEW THE NEW SECOND RATE ANGELS VIDEO, ‘DRAGGED OUT’  HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU1Lkyk0zhg  -

 Check out our review of The Lost Days EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/second-rate-angels-the-lost-days-ep/

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Spellcaster – Self Titled

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Rife with rich potential and imagination as well as quality to easily satisfy the most demanding heavy metal wants, the new self-titled album from US band Spellcaster is a formidable next step in their potent emergence. Certainly it is not a release to set fires blazing within the genre or one veined with startling originality, but for enjoyable and contagious exploits the ten-track encounter is right on target.

The Oregon band began life in 2009 and already by the uncaging of their first demo Spells of Speed in the February of the following year was drawing strong attention. That online release caught the eye of Heavy Artillery Records who presented the band with a subsequent record deal and the re-release of their demo. Following their first North American tour towards the end of 2010, Spellcaster unleashed debut album Under the Spell in 2011 which in turn was followed by further heavy gigging and tours. 2012 saw a line-up change with guitarist Bryce R. VanHoosen and drummer Colin Vranizan joining up with vocalist Tyler Loney, who had moved from guitar at the time of the change, bassist Gabriel Franco, and guitarist Cory Boyd. Work on their second album was soon in progress with the band hitting the studio with Toxic Holocaust front man Joel Grind who co-produced and engineered the new release. Released via Lone Fir Records, Spellcaster emerges as a promise drenched slab of metal excitement and skilled enterprise, not one to shake the scene but undoubtedly an encounter to get neck muscles and emotions fully engaged.

The brief crystalline instrumental The Fading Light opens up the release, keys sparkling as a heavy stride of pungent rhythms and acidic sonic coaxing emerges. Not a particularly dramatic entrance but one to awaken attention, the piece is succeeded by the potent stroll and flames of As Darkness Falls. Forceful riffs and rhythms drive the track from its first second laying down powerful bait over which the guitars burn brightly with resourceful designs and the vocals with clean cut enticement. The track swiftly provides a fluid if expectation stroking endeavour but one with the keen intent to slip into something more intriguing within its expanding trap of alluring invention.

From the thrash kissed success of the opener, the Portland quintet finds an even deeper shade of aggression and shadow with Bound. The track also saunters with an eager gait through the ear on the reins of punchy rhythms and ALBUM COVERcommanding riffery as the vocals easily wash across the senses. The heavy drum slaps and throaty bass lure provoke a stronger wave of hunger to an increasingly pleased appetite for the album, with the skills of both guitarists spicing up the offering through their open creative tenacity. Like its predecessor, the track does not leave ears and emotions breathless but certainly highly satisfied as does the following Ghost Of My Memory. Throughout the at times quiet but unmistakably individual emprise of sound and craft, the rhythms of Vranizan grip attention as tightly as do the ever impressing play of both VanHoosen and Boyd, both creating another web of enthralling textures to greedily consume.

The atmospheric and dark aired short instrumental Premonition leads into the outstanding drama and evocative exploration of Haunted. From its first breath the track is casting scenery of melodic hues and sonic narration which sparks the imagination to embrace the impending lyrical and musical adventure. Arguably the first track on the album to delve into new avenues compared to previous tracks, the song wraps a melodic croon and eventful intrigue around even keener ears with its heavily brooding bass tone and persistently evolving guitar enterprise especially. It is a striking track throwing off the surface familiarity which washes over some of the other tracks to bring another rich vein of pleasure to the release.

Both Run Away and Eyes Of Black keep things careering along pleasingly, the first employing a great nagging groove and anthemic rhythms as its gripping core whilst guitars and vocals paint a colour drenched adventure over the canvas whilst its successor rises to its formidable feet with a sinister toxin to its melodic enticement and a portentous weight to its rhythms. Both tracks again try to bring something unique and effectively different to their bodies, and though they do not make as big a statement as Haunted, each provides another compelling proposition.

The album is closed up by the more than decent Clockwork though it labours to impress against certainly the last trio of songs, and finally the dark epic journey of Voyage. The last song has a blackened sky to its poetic exploit and makes a fine conclusion to an equally potent release. Spellcaster, band and album, is not a release to leave you slack jawed, mainly because of a lack of anything strikingly new or bordering on original, but in providing an undeniably rewarding and enjoyable encounter it is easy to let it pass this time in exchange for the pure heavy metal fun it gives.

Spellcaster is available via Lone Fir Records now and @ https://spellcasterpdx.bandcamp.com/album/spellcaster

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8/10

RingMaster 02/07/2014

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Return from the Grave – Gates of Nowhere

Return From The Grave - Band

Seeded and drenched in the thick atmospheres of seventies metal aligned to the oppressive textures and persistence of doom metal and blistering stoner designs, Gates of Nowhere the new album from Italian metallers Return from the Grave is a wide wake-up call to a band with rich potential and exhausting intensity. Its seven tracks consume and suffocate the senses relentlessly yet bring them and the imagination alive with compelling resourceful enterprise. It is a proposition which ebbs and flows a little in holding the tightest grip on attention but never lets it wander or enjoyment of its often spellbinding and predacious incitement falter.

Hailing out of Venezia, the quartet of vocalist Semenz, guitarist Sparta, bassist Kilo, and drummer Jack came together in 2011 and soon unveiled their self-titled debut EP. It was followed the following year by first album The Rebirth from the Last Breath, its heavy tsunami like provocations earning comparisons to bands such as Black Sabbath, Orange Goblin, and Orchid in the acclaim. Casting themes bred from ‘Horror stories and the hidden meanings of Life and Death’ within Gates of Nowhere, the debut release for the band on Argonauta Records, Return From The Grave are entering through a doorway to a wider recognition with its release. A one way trip you feel such the richness and depth not forgetting rigorous seduction oozing from within the Richard Whittaker (Saint Vitus, The Who, Black Sabbath and Rolling Stones) mastered release.

The first thing hitting senses and appreciative thoughts is the production. As thick and cavernous as the sounds it surrounds, it brings the Return From The Grave - Coverlistener into the dark origins of the ingredients the band infuses into their propositions. It gives, as evidenced superbly in the ravenous Intro which starts the journey off, a sinister foreboding air and seemingly analogue breath to the release, a portentous oppressiveness which really suits the music and intensive energy of the tracks. The opening piece is dark and ravenous, a dangerous swamp of sound and intimidatingly emotive textures which seduces as it infests the psyche. It has a heavy poetry to its funereal stance which captivates thoughts as it leads the listener into the last strikes of its storm and subsequently the following Words In Words. The start of the second track is deceptive, its welcoming strands of sonic coaxing almost jovial after the sufferance before. It is bait which persists as rugged rhythms and swipes of guitar and bass enter the narrative but eventually swamped as the vocals blaze away within a now burning cauldron of energy and sound. There is still a swagger and melodic temptation which steals attention from the weighty substance around them though but in turn it loses out to the excellent resonance effected vocals. Ultimately all combined it is a storming stomp of a song, a dramatically magnetic slab of voracious metal.

Center Of The Will opens up next with a bewitching crawl of gnarly bass and teasing percussion before being joined by the entwining tendrils of guitar, its lure acidic and searing as it crosses the senses. Finding a potent stride with rhythmic muscles swiping through every beat, the track becomes a furnace of melodic rabidity and sonic tenacity which flares and seduces with incendiary potency from within the lumbering yet keen gait of the song. Twists and turns bring intrigue to the generally singular course of the incitement, adding along with the scorched vocals, rich distractions to the compelling burdensome weight of the encounter. Leaning into its finale the track explodes into a rabid charge of riffs and rhythms, a thrash like urgency and hunger taking over the driving seat for an exceptional climax.

The intensive intimidation of The Rage Of Rays steps in next to push the listener into an even deeper wash of seventies nurtured metal, again a Sabbath like predation and enticement leading the way, though that bait is never far from the surface of any song within the album. The impressively sculpted and layered beast smoulders and burns with an even tempered intensity and appeal compared to the previous tracks but it lacks the indefinable something which left its predecessors so persuasive and gripping. It is still an appetising meal for the ears but soon forgotten as the rolling menacing rhythms of Uncovered Fate burst into life. The drums hypnotise senses and imagination instantly before sharing time with another excellent animalistic snarl from the bass and cutting scythes of guitar. Snatches of melodic seducing and glazes of sultry suasion almost dance within the devilish portrait unfurling within the imagination whilst the vocals, which were not as effective on the last song, are back on form here as they join the creative maze spun by the guitars within the expanding rapacious enthralling adventure.

The release closes with firstly the mesmeric River In The Sky, a fascinating flight which reveals more about the band in many ways than the other songs, its sirenesque use of atmospheres and ambient beauty within dramatic aural structures sheer captivation, and lastly Inside Human’s Soul. The final song is an alternative version of a track which appeared on the band’s debut album, a more of a straightforward charge within more predictable walls which reveals the growth between the band’s two albums.

Gates of Nowhere is an engrossing encounter from a band evolving potently and it is easy to feel has a big future on the larger stoner/doom metal stage waiting.

Gates of Nowhere is available via Argonauta Records and @ http://returnfromthegrave.bandcamp.com/album/gates-of-nowhere now!

https://www.facebook.com/returnfromthegrave

8/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Hard Riot – The Blackened Heart

Hard-Riot_Bandpic_web

Having impressed and thrilled with their debut album Living on a Fast Lane, German rockers Hard Riot return with its successor The Blackened Heart, a release which immediately shows how much the band has grown in songwriting, craft, and sound. It is fair to say that like its predecessor the new album is not worrying the inventive boundaries of heavy and voracious rock ‘n’ roll, but like the debut it is a thoroughly captivating and mouthwatering blaze of sinewed riffs, feverish adrenaline, and ferocious passion.

Hailing from Heilbronn, Hard Riot began in 2006 and was soon casting a potent web of rock and metal, its spices first showing on The Hidden Truth EP of 2009. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst, and drummer Carmine Jaucci, the band showed their emerging strength and sound, with its essences of AC/DC, Def, Aerosmith, and Staind, three years later on Living on a Fast Lane which they recorded with producer Vagelis Maranis before unleashing it as the new one through Pitch Black Records. The Blackened Heart, also created with Maranis and with Heiko Härle the newest member of the band on bass and backing vocals replacing Kleindienst, is the next big step in the ascent of the band, a release easy to expect bringing fresh eager attention upon the band.

The album starts as it means to go on with a fiery storm in the shape of Blackout. Riffs and rhythms instantly assault and excite ears as it PBR030takes its first breath before welcoming the excellent vocals of Gildner, who right away seems as the music to have even greater power and confidence in his delivery. The guitars and bass almost stalk the senses as the feisty narrative, musically and lyrically, of the track entrenches its infectiousness into the imagination. There is a real anthemic feel to the song without pandering to easy hooks and though it is not the most inventive track around, the thought and precise alignment of sounds is open to see and devour greedily.

It is a great start matched by the following Suicide Blues, its entrance less forceful but just as dynamic after the first caress of chords. Holding stronger old school metal seeds in its belly and a groove metal hunger in its breath, the track swaggers and surges with a contagiousness which is irresistible. Scorched riffs and pungent rhythms persist on the senses as the track romps with relish for three minutes plus of irrepressible rock ‘n’ roll. It is song made for feet and neck muscles, which get a sort of breather with the next up Devils BBQ, a riveting roar of southern rock based enterprise with a great country/Cajun twang in its veining. Like its predecessors, there is nothing spectacularly new to it but it plays like an old friend with a fresh colour to its creative clothing which simply captivates for a tantalising treat which leaves a smile on face and emotions.

The End strides purposefully into view next, swipes of riffs and tempered rhythms courting expressive vocals before combining for a rich flame of melodic hard rock up to and around a potently catchy chorus. It is not as immediate as certainly the first two songs on the album but once bodies are bouncing around rooms and bums on chairs you realise it has hit the sweet spot just as accurately as any other track on the album. From that Nickelback like canter, the emotive ballad Count On Me croons in the ear with melodic seduction and vocal angst, again recalling spices of the Canadian band. The song is soon under the skin and teasing thoughts and emotions, it’s perfectly crafted body not surprising in any way but certainly lingering with German persuasion.

The pair of Not Alone and The Enemy Within leaves imagination and appetite busy though not matching the strength of the album up to this point. The first builds an evocative flame of melodies and emotive vocals around choppy riffs and crisp beats which binds attention whilst the second teases with another countrified twang before its bluesy heart wraps imaginatively around the ears. Both songs reveal more of the improved skill and adventurous exploits within the thinking of the band whilst pleasing ears with immensely accomplished designs.

Dirty Games steps up next to growl provocatively, its riffs and rhythms a predatory lure over which Gildner again deeply impresses. Crowding around ears with incendiary hues and patterns, the guitars cast a potent enticement which dares to flourish but never exceed the core boundaries of the vivaciously driven track. It is a strong asset of the album, the restraint to the individual’s skill which other bands might fail to rein in, but Hard Riot know when enough is enough to impress and enhance but not overload a song.

Second ballad Last Goodbye with its great violin call is an enjoyably decent companion before the bold wanton sounds of High Society Bitch ignite in ears and imagination. It is a tremendous snarl of dirty rock ‘n roll with a raucous edge to its infection which is surpassed by the closing brawl of Hit The Ground, a thumping stomp of a song which again has nothing truly new to show but all the virulent contagiousness and quality you could wish for in a heavy rock song.

The CD version of The Blackened Heart comes with an additional track, a reworked version of The End featuring Richard Sjunnesson of The Unguided which to be honest we preferred to the original just because of the great union of the two vocalists. The album itself is another impressive and exciting encounter from Hard Riot, a release showing the band yet to find its distinctive voice is certainly on the way to being a potent force and attraction; already they have a thrilling and appealing presence sorted.

The Blackened Heart is available via Pitch Black Records now in Europe and North America from July 8th.

http://www.hard-riot.com/

8/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com