Brimstone Coven – Self-Titled

Cover

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

BAND guilty as charged

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/

www.facebook.com/SecondRateAngels

Spellcaster – Self Titled

BAND PHOTO

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

www.facebook.com/spellcasterpdx

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

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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

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Second Rate Angels – The Lost Days EP

Second Rate Angels Online Promo Shot

It is fair to say that UK metallers Second Rate Angels have bred a rather decent reputation for themselves through their highly flavoursome sound and explosive live performances since forming in late 2011. Now the Hemel Hempstead quartet looks to emulate their success and presence on a nationwide level with debut EP The Lost Days. Consisting of four skilfully contagious and vivaciously inventive tracks which capture the imagination with ease, the release is a striking and potent introduction to a band drenched in rigorous promise and open quality. Their sound on the evidence of the EP is not one to stretch boundaries within melodic metal and heavy rock but certainly it is a fresh and riveting new strain to an established design.

Since forming Second Rate Angels has sculpted an impressive presence on stage, playing with the likes of Breed 77, Beholder, and Zico Chain to name just three along the way. Their appearances at Bloodstock Open Air Festival equally brought a new wealth of attention and support the way of the band and their Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, and Trivium inspired muscular ideation. The Lost Days EP is the next step of their ascent and you cannot avoid thinking set to be very successful in its intent.

Give It A Name opens up ears and attention with heavyweight rhythms across expansive sways of sonic rapaciousness, its entrance

EP Artwork By Sam Kelm

EP Artwork By Sam Kelm

deliberately predatory yet insatiably compelling, especially with the scythes of guitar sculpted temptation. Once seducing the senses and anticipation fully, the track shifts into a fiery charge of heavy metal riffs punctured by sinew built rhythms, it all driven by the excellent tones of vocalist and bassist Dave Gobran. With a sandy rasp to his impressive voice, Gobran is an immediate lure around which the guitars of Chris Lewis and Matt Clark just as dynamically and impressively entwine their creative exploits. The song itself is a stirring encounter which is unafraid to venture into emotive melodic climates where gait and energy make a gentle canvas for the intensive expression of vocals and sonic hues.

The excellent start is soon reinforced by the following Dragged Out, the new single from the band. A lone guitar coaxes ears first before the pungent beats of drummer Andy Doran strikingly frame and spear the enticement as Gobran again colours the scenery with his voice. Once established the song explores an Avenged Sevenfold like melodic pattern of colour and imagination aligned to heavy rock rapaciousness which is as familiar and inviting as it is individually inventive. It is a less demanding and commanding song than its predecessor but potently catchy alongside being creatively absorbing.

The release is at its strongest over the final two songs, the title track an outstanding suasion which hints at a depth of potential still to be discovered by the band whilst providing an incendiary drama and skilled enterprise which sets them out as a thrilling proposition now and ahead. With great variation to the vocals and the predatory breath of the song, it is a riveting adventure which at times has an essence of John Bush era Anthrax to its hunger and endeavour around thought provoking hooks. The guitars and drums as already expected by this point make for an impressive and expressive incitement whilst the vocals of Gobran flame in passion and expression, and his bass craft is pretty formidable too.

Black Ice is more seeded in classic metal, though again eager to explore and colour itself with varied spices and tenacity of various metallic styles. It is a contagion drenched song which seduces with a chorus that refuses to be ignored or forgotten whilst around the anthemic bait band and song cast a scintillating weave which is as unpredictable and intriguing as it is virulently enslaving. It is an outstanding end to an excellent release which easily suggests that we just might have a new powerful force in British melodic metal in the making. If the thought of The Wildhearts meets Bullet For My Valentine appeals then checking out Second Rate Angels is a must.

The Lost Days EP is available from Monday June 2nd through all digital stores.

http://www.secondrateangels.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/06/2014

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Battleroar – Blood of Legends

BATTLEROAR_PROMO1

The six very quiet years since the release of their third album To Death and Beyond… in 2008, has seen Battleroar deal with line-up changes which has seen half of their key personnel change. Whether it is merely that which has brought the lengthy absence we cannot say but certainly with the release of new album Blood of Legends shows that the Greek heavy metallers have not lost any of their passion and creative fervour. In fact it has been intensified in many ways with the new release proving to be the band’s most potent encounter yet. It is fair to say that the album is not quite an unbridled success offering moments which only simmer in attention and emotions but for its main Blood of Legends with its anthemic weaves of epic and power metal with undertones of folk evocation, leaves imagination and satisfaction alive.

Formed in 2000, Battleroar has become one of the most notable bands within the Greek metal scene, from their self-titled debut album in 2003, through its well-received successor Age of Chaos two years later and the acclaimed To Death and Beyond…, the Athens hailing sextet has forged a reputation and fanbase spreading far across Europe. Taking inspirations from bands such as Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Manowar, Jag Panzer, and Heavy Load into their own adventures, their sound has evolved and stretched to encompass richer flavours and depths across their releases, Blood of Legends providing the most expansive offering yet. As mentioned earlier changes in members occurred between releases; the loss of guitarist Manolis Karazeris and vocalist Marco Concoreggi hitting the band in 2009. Temporary replacements in Stelios Sovolos on guitar and John Papanikolaou (ex Innerwish) on vocals though filled the gaps alongside band founders Kostas Tzortzis (guitar) and Nick Papadopoulos (drums), and violinist Alex Papadiamantis. The following year saw guitarist Antreas Sotiropoulos permanently take over from Sovolos with bassist Stavros Aivaliotis and new vocalist Gerrit Mutz joining the band in 2011 and 2012 respectively. All the changing has not tempered or defused the rigour and invention of the band in songwriting, sound, and simple presence; as stated previously seemingly it has only put a fire in the belly of the beast which roars quite captivatingly across Blood of Legends.

Finding lyrical fuel from again Greek mythology, the album opens with the atmospheric scene setter Stormgiven. Opening within a cruz67_300dpibrewing tempest, the instrumental is a bewitching piece of acoustic endeavour and emotive ambience, guitar and violin graceful caresses which awaken attention within crowding shadows and awaiting intensity. The song immerses the imagination into the scenery of the impending adventure, cold and warm textures coaxing thoughts with an emotive enveloping cast by the riveting strings of the band. The track makes way for the immediately gripping The Swords Are Drawn, a feeling of passion and flexing sinews coring the riffs and rhythmic framing round the sonic call to arms. With an urgent canter and insatiable appetite to its epic breath the song seduces with ease, the vocals of Mutz backed forcibly by the band adding to the inescapable bait.

The uproar of the track is instantly tempered by the harsh and cold atmosphere of Poisoned Well, its touch portentous especially with the melancholic croon of the violin which joins the shadowed ambience. Once the heavy weight of rhythms, bass, and riffs slowly stroll around the landscape of the premise a merger of hope and intimidation converge provocatively on thoughts. The prowling intensive beats of Papadopoulos add stronger enticement to the rapacious presence and edge of the narrative but it is the bewitching flames bred by the violin which colours the inciting canvas most vividly. With flaming flights of sonic enterprise and contagious expression to the vocals, the track lays down an early pinnacle to the already impressing release.

The following title track brings a thick and healthy drama to proceedings though it fails to match the early successes in stirring up the passions. Once again though the infectious canter which the band spine their songs with its irresistible whilst the individual skills of the band conspire to weave a bold and muscular picture for mind and appetite to eagerly indulge in. From its incendiary finale the song makes a gentle farewell as next up Immortal Chariot dawns on another epic impression, horses and carriages of war driving across the entrance of the track before it surges with energy and emotion across blazing celestial skies. As its predecessor the track is an absorbing proposition which just fails to rouse a storm in the emotions though that is soon taken care of by both The Curse of Manea and Valkyries Above Us. The first of the pair unleashes a menace and danger to its rigid stride of riffs and intimidating percussive beckoning almost instantly; its pressure and imposing bearing a thrilling provocation and diversity within the album. The dark intent of the track though is perfectly veined by and blended into a sultry seduction of violin and the impressively descriptive vocal tones of Mutz whilst a mystical toxicity flirts with and enlivens the passions further. It is a glorious encounter which ensures the senses are treated to an antagonistic climax. An outstanding carnivorous bass growl and ravaging riffery punctuated by bone splintering rhythms assaults the ears for an ardour drenched reception befitting the best track on the album though it is soon rivalled by its melody washed successor and its soaring epic breath and equally towering sounds equipped with piercing sonic hooks and virulently infectious almost siren like melodic design.

In many ways the rest of the album lays in the shadow of those two songs though the battle hardened Chivalry provides an appealing clash of venomous shadows and scorching melodic light whilst the highly emotive and engrossingly layered Exile Eternal places thoughts into a cauldron of tantalising aural scenery. Neither sparks a major outburst but both ensure album and band retain an inspiring and lingering grip.

Closing with Relentless Waves, an instrumental epilogue to the emprise enjoyed, Blood of Legends is a powerfully magnetic encounter which draws you back into its venture time and time again with consummate ease. Battleroar has not returned with the true epic you just feel is there inside them but undeniable have provided a rich and compelling appetiser which pushes them further towards the summit of epic invention.

Blood of Legends is available via Cruz del Sur Music now!

http://www.battleroar.com

8/10

RingMaster 07/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Vestal Claret – The Cult of Vestal Claret

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Brewing up a dark and increasingly compelling mix of heavy and doom metal with occult metal bred toxins, US death rock/metal project Vestal Claret unleash their first release since recently signing with Cruz del Sur Music. The Cult of Vestal Claret is a deviously addictive encounter which revisits older songs alongside new and leaves the imagination blissfully corrupted and appetite alive for the band’s subsequent conjurations.

The album brings recorded tracks from the band’s split with Ungod in 2012, a reworking epic encounter which made up the band’s split with The Kissing Flies in the same year, and four new songs including a Black Sabbath cover. It is a mixed bag but one which leaves appetite hungry and pleasure invigorated as the release casts its intensive and imposing weighty design over the senses. Released as a nine track CD or a six song vinyl, each offering one encounter exclusive to itself, The Cult of Vestal Claret is a potent entrance into the dark spawning of the band for newcomers and a pleasingly rewarding addition to the passions of existing fans.

Vestal Claret is the creation of vocalist Philip Swanson (Hour Of 13/Seamount) who met Simon Tuozzoli (bass, guitar, organ, vocals) CRUZ66_COVER_300DPI_RGBwhen recording his occult heavy metal ideas at the studio the latter ran; linking up the duo emerged as Vestal Claret. A couple of demos in 2007 led to a split with Atlantean Kodex the same year which itself was followed by a couple of EPs, Worship and Lost Loved Ones in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Debut album Bloodbath two years later drew stronger and eager attention the way of the band with its CD release last year raising extra appetite for this, Vestal Claret’s first offering since signing with their new label. As ever theming their songs with the dark side of the human psyche employing references to Occultism, Satanism and other uncompromising imagery, you would understandably suspect that The Cult of Vestal Claret coming with a multitude of old already released songs would have a disappointing edge to it but it is fair to say that the pair, with Michael Petrucci providing the drum work, infuse plenty of refreshing aspects to the songs to make them it a sizeable reward.

Looking at the CD version, the album opens with the immediately captivating Never Say No. Its initial touch is a drizzling melodic haze veined by distant whispers but is soon smothered by a rigorously coaxing wave of sinewed riffs, crisp rhythms, and enticing sonic endeavour. Into its feisty stride the vocals of Swanson bring appealing expression to the emerging narrative, the restrained chorus with both artists united in voice, especially potent anthemic bait. The track is a nagging proposition across the bulk of its magnetic body with irresistible grooves and flares of melodic enterprise infesting ears and thoughts for a thoroughly contagious start to the album. One of the new songs on the album it alone reveals the potential and maturing invention of the band ensuring future horizons are as keenly anticipated as this release was.

The following Three and Three Are Six is a touch of an anti-climax, though the great throaty bass tones and seductively gifted hooks soon have emotions on board with the infectiousness of the track. The song continues to swagger and stomp purposefully with its metallic lures and muscular intent but the dramatic spark which lit its predecessor is a more dormant fuse within the cloudier presence of the track. All the same it is an excellently crafted and catchy blaze of intensive metal endeavour leaving a hunger for more, which the title track next tries to offer. The Cult of the Vestal has a raw and darker essence to its rapacious prowling of the senses, lyrically and musically reaping malevolence for its invasive premise. Again there is a niggling repetition to the focus of the track which only increases its temptation though it is the heavily breathing intensity which awakes the imagination with its provocative smothering most forcibly.

The exclusive song to the CD comes next and steals the honours within the release. Great Goat God is a thrilling incitement with a reined in rampancy which threatens to slip its chain throughout and a bewitching venomous coating to grooves and deeply scything hooks which insidiously worm under the skin. From the excellent vocals to the stalking riffs skirted by antagonistic beats, the track seduces and enslaves the passions; its blues soaked imagination flirting with the inventive sculpting of the guitar whilst adding to the insatiable and impossible to refuse toxicity of the song. It is the pinnacle of the album and almost alone the reason to grab the album.

Both The Demon and the Deceiver and Piece of Meat which were originally on the previously mentioned EP with Ungod, keep ears and appetite contented though neither can step up to the same plateau as the previous track. The dramatic air and emotive shadows in the first of the two makes for a mouthwatering proposition which leads the imagination into exploring its depths to the excellent acoustic accompaniment of the guitars within a threatening squall of ambience. The track is a real grower and really benefits from the fresh brushing up for the album whilst the second of the pair rampages with addictive jagged grooves and fiery sonics as it spreads a heavy metal fuelled smog over ears. Again it is a song which takes time to fully grip but with the great incessant groove which cores its flare it was never really in doubt, especially with the distant but alluring keys adding extra tempting.

The sixteen minute plus Black Priest is masterful and epic journey through the skills, songwriting, and creative vision of the band. The track is an intensive journey in itself, a perpetual evolution through dramatic sceneries amidst sonically coloured landscapes with psychedelically kissed melodies and stirring intensive hues hinting at intimidation and danger. The track is simply enthralling, if a little too long so that intrigue for the following songs before their time shows its face at times, and just adds more depth to the promises of richer things ahead.

The closing pair of Who Are You, that Black Sabbath track and new song The Stranger are decent enough but to be honest after the last epic encounter and the other impressive moments of the release are a bit of a damp if enjoyable squib. That may be a touch harsh but certainly they lack the wares to light up the room and emotions as shown on other tracks though still give the album a skilfully presented and appealing conclusion.

The Cult of Vestal Claret is a very solid and at times scintillating encounter which can only drew a new hungry crowd into the arms of the band’s potent sound.

The Cult of Vestal Claret is available via Cruz del Sur Music now!

Vinyl album listing

Never Say No Again

Three and Three Are Six

The Cult of the Vestal

The Stranger

So Mote it Be

Black Priest

https://www.facebook.com/VestalClaret

8/10

RingMaster 07/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Holy Mountain – Ancient Astronauts

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Binding the senses in grooves which show no restrain or mercy in their insatiable temptation and plying that slavery with riffs which voraciously gnaw and smother all before them, Ancient Astronauts the new album from Scottish metallers Holy Mountain, is an unstoppable juggernaut of sound and intensity. It is a heavyweight antagonist merging stoner and doom metal into a suffocating tsunami of intense and exhaustive sounds, but one which veins and sears it all with at times corrosive but always incendiary magnetic grooves and melodic causticity. It is quite simply an encounter which lovers of the riff will devour with greed.

Holy Mountain, its name taken from the Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 movie La Montana Sagrada, was formed in 2009 as an improvisational duo by guitarist/vocalist Andy McGlone and drummer Pete Flett. Two years after emerging, the Glasgow band enlisted bassist Allan Stewart and went almost straight into the creation of debut release Earth Measures. The mini album found its release in the May of 2012 welcomed by strong responses and acclaim, a reaction sure to be replicated and taken to greater levels by its impressive successor. Recorded with producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand), Ancient Astronauts is a giant leap if not for mankind certainly for Holy Mountain as they explore all the qualities unveiled on their previous release far more intensively and inventively whilst casting new wild and expansive endeavours.

LV-42666 brings the journey into view, cruising in on a sonic breeze before stroking the imagination rigorously with thrashing rhythms, Holy-Mountain-Ancient-Astronauts-300x288rapacious riffs, and addictive grooves; rogue vocals adding to the celestial mystery and adventure. As urgent as it is heavy, the track strides boldly as sinews bare their muscular appetite and melodies seduce ears with the guile and irresistible lures of a wanton temptress. There is also an unmistakable psychedelic pop romp to the encounter which only accelerates its submission of the senses and passions.

The following Luftwizard instantly brings a darker and heavier suasion but again it is lit by scorching melodies and also this time vocal harmonies which flirt and tempt the imagination as potently as the sounds. The voice of McGlone is fed through a Roland Space Chorus across the album bringing a spatial quality to his tones and the general air of songs, something equally inspired by the majestic pungency of accompanying keys. The thick imposing riffs of the song provide a deep texture to the affair which almost groans in its intensity and rapacious wrapping of the sonic maelstrom within. It is a masterful adventure guiding the listener through a union of dark and light, a mutual rather than combative merger but one with plenty of imposing shadows to its exultant fire.

The title track comes up next exploring cavernous sceneries with doom bred prowling riffery and rhythmic provocation whilst short but virulent grooves lance the thick smothering air, their strikes beacons through the appealing murkiness as the song heads into an explosive contagion which bursts out with urgency and sonic radiance. The track touches the darkest depths and brightest highs in tone leaving the senses exhausted and rewarded by the riveting ascent, their recovery given no respite as Star Kings from a rhythmic draw swiftly courted by a highly tempting bass stroll, feeds another strenuous passage of ravenous riffs and fuzz surfaced enterprise. The vocals are a little further forward and carry stronger clarity within the tempest of sound, though they still feel pleasingly immersed in the overall flood of the experience rather than being an overlying presence riding the waves. It is an aspect which is as potent and important as the riffs and rhythms in making the album the immense proposition it is, they and the ridiculously contagious toxins which the band also casts into the creative rabidity.

Not necessarily the best track, so hard to choose one, but a definite favourite here is Tokyo which comes next. A bestial vicious voice and growl to the riffs drives the track initially whilst the bass with its throaty appeal makes the good guy in the confrontation, its smiling grooves the temper to the predacious guitar grizzle and the trigger to the flirtatious sonic temptation and boisterous vocals which revel in the overwhelming devilry of the track. It is a siren of a song which is matched by Gift Giver, the danger which usually accompanies such a tempting and arguably missing in its predecessor, an open stalking at the start of the song. Its slow pacing is soon ignited as riffs escape their shackles, a punkish urgency taking over whilst the drums hold a little restraint in attack if not power. It continues to switch between extremes bringing a scintillating and unpredictable soundscape to play with and explore, a post punk severity adding its taunts from time to time in the lulls between unbridled sonic blazes. The instrumental is riff heaven and groove manna thrown into an aural alchemy and corruption to bask in.

The album is completed by firstly the seventies seeded psychedelically enhanced 100 Years A Day and lastly the smouldering expanse of Hollow Hill which alone encapsulates all you need to know about Holy Mountain in sound, skill, and imagination, as well as influences with a range of twists and enterprise which pull up references to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Electric Wizard, ones you can apply to the whole of the album even with its distinct presence. Ancient Astronauts is a magisterial slab of psychedelic rock/metal and Holy Mountain a band poised to stake their claim for a seat on the top table of the genre we suggest.

Ancient Astronauts is available now through Chemikal Underground digitally and on limited edition vinyl.

http://www.holymountainband.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 17/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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