Magoa – Topsy Turvydom

PRESS-PIC-MAGOA-2013

    Topsy Turvydom might not be setting new standards and adventures for the metal world but with ten tracks of bruising and invigorating craft it makes for one sizeable and feisty encounter, a confrontation which leaves satisfaction and enjoyment lively responses. Created by French band Magoa, the album is a multi-flavoured rampage employing an expanse of styles and invention within its explosive body and though it maybe is not the most original fury of modern metal it does provide a very easy to devour and return to exploit.

The album from the Ermont hailing quintet is the successor to the band’s well-received debut Swallow the Earth, a superbly sculpted and delivered blaze of metal which builds on the strong base of its predecessor to push the band to greater depths in their songwriting and aural manipulations. Released via Klonosphere and produced by Charles “Kallaghan” Massabo, Topsy Turvydom initially engages the ear with a rich suggestive ambience, its brewing mass and intensity punctuated by electronic beats. It soon unveils the entrance to opener Ailleurs where the guitars of Vincent Alvarez and David Teixeira are instantly carving the air with concise sinew clad invention and the rhythms of drummer Martin Montergnole punching as forcibly as the riffs beside them. It is a magnetic introduction where the squalling vocals of Cyd Chassagne sit perfectly upon the djent/metalcore filtered enterprise The already impacting encounter lures the passions further as an electronic teasing and the bass of Vincent Blondel add extra contrasting yet wholly persuasive tempting. The song is an immense start which provides the core knowledge of the album, a storm of slightly familiar attributes unleashed in a resourceful and contagious tempest.

The following Wall of the Damned is a sturdy confirmation of the strong start, cleaner heavy rock vocals and grooves the opening Pochette_cartoninvitation within another rapacious cage of hungry riffery and rhythmic provocation. The song twists and turns in its presentation, fusing a mix of John Bush fronted Anthrax and TesseracT which slowly burns its way into the senses and imagination, moving from initially a pleasing encounter into one of the highlights of the album, its emotive keys caressing and melancholic atmosphere an endearing and lasting suasion.

As the likes of the commanding Max Bet, with its infectious blend of lethal intent and melodic swaggering, and the intriguing Betraying Grace next play upon the ears, the album continues to enthral and breed a strong hunger for its presence. The second of the two swings from a Pantera like snarl to a pop metal coated harmonic embrace, its structure imaginative and impressively crafted as it entwines the extremes into an appealing and ultimately convincing assault. Another track which takes time to fully persuade and to ignite the energy of pleasure others reap with ease, the track only leaves attention and appetite engrossed in what Topsy Turvydom next has to offer.

     Party Time brings an electro metal bred suggestiveness to its encounter which without lighting the fires and an appreciation like its predecessors still makes a worthy incitement for the album and emotions, if not a long term one, the same which can be said of the classic metal seeded Eat You Alive and the Estamos Locos. The first of these two is less potent in its merging of styles, the song shaking the throat gently rather than ripping out its flesh like other tracks on the album, whilst its successor even in providing a brutal and ravenous predation on the senses fails to find that spark or fuse to a lingering and deep thrill, though both in craft and skill leave no one wanting.

     Broken Record is a different story; featuring Threat Signal’s vocalist Jon Howard, the track is a ravishment of the senses with an intensive rabidity soaking every riff and rhythmic strike whilst vocally Chassagne, backed strongly by the band, chews every syllable of his narrative before sharing its aggressiveness. Infusing rap vocals in to the antagonistic rage works well as do the harmonies which caress the ears in the latter part of the song even if neither delivery escapes the shade provided by the great lead attack, but it is the imagination and adventurous experimentation of the song and its structure which makes the richest convincing; and certainly the virulent grooves and Korn like breath which breaks out at times does it no harm either.

Completed by the strenuous and inventive might of Forgotten Saints and the excellent closing insidious fury of the thrash lit There Is No Tomorrow, the album is an impressive and convincing slab of accomplished and thrilling metal. Magoa might not be stretching limits but undoubtedly creates a tempest of enterprise and skill which feeds the needs of any metal release. Intelligently carved invention, exhausting passionate energy, and the eagerness to push themselves, the album has it all and more.

http://magoamusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 06/11/2013

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Lizzard: Out of Reach

Out of Reach from French rock band Lizzard is one of those releases which is not going to exactly set the world alight but ensures with accomplished ease that the time in its company is highly enjoyable and satisfying. It is a release which draws from many seeds and influences to create its own commanding and attentive sounds to fully engagement with. Often new interpretations of existing recipes with some fresh imaginative ingredients can be as pleasing as any new invention; Out of Reach is the certain proof.

Lizzard was formed in 2006 with the meeting of vocalist and guitarist Mathieu Ricou, drummer Katy Elwell, and bassist William Knox. Finding a common musical vision the trio set about creating their own unique and powerful rock sounds, and from their demo La Criée the following year the band began grabbing close attention and acclaim. Shows around France followed as the band released their mini album Venus in 2008, all the time strong responses, reviews, and fan reception building. The past couple of years saw Lizzard sharing stages and supporting the likes of Gojira, Punish Yourself, Loudblast, Enhancer and more, again furthering their stock and standing within rock circles.

Last year the band reunited with Rhys Fulber (Paradise Lost, Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly…), who they recorded Venus with, to record their debut album which sees its release through Klonosphere/Season of Mist. The result is a collection of songs which ripple with craft and impressive songwriting. They have a distinct individuality from others whilst pulling many essences from bands to tone their appealing presences. It is a fine line the band walk, bringing a sound which has its own breath whilst using open influences in its creation but they achieve it with success.

The album opens with the powerful and impressive Disintegrity. It is a song built on striking riffs and a seductive groove fuelled by beckoning melodic whispers. With its crunching bass tones and commanding rhythms, not to mention the fine expressive vocals of Ricou, the track more than echoes the crisp sounds of Sick Puppies. There is a definite similarity which is moved into a different element by the sharp guitar play and imaginative twists in direction. Sometimes they are subtle, mere aural winks but always noticeable.

The following track The Orbiter adds extra coarse energy to the air through the perpetually impressive bass sounds of Knox and the incendiary guitar craft of Ricou. Like many of the songs it is one you feel you already know though its passage is a continually new unveiling, the effect making the enjoyment all the more instant and compelling. As it plays mixes of bands such as Tool and Soundgarden come to mind to which you can easily add spicery from the likes of Foo Fighters and Nonpoint too.

As the likes of the title track, Loose Ends, and the excellent Fake World share their varied and impressive invention, the album continues to capture the imagination and enthusiasm. It does not take one into new inspiring realms but is as potent in igniting pleasure from a band that feels like a new but destined to be friend.

The two instrumentals Skyline and Backslide are more than decent, the first the lead into or at least atmosphere setter for Loose Ends, and the latter a fiery piece of sonic expression. Both do not exactly over whelm the ear but do not feel out of place within the context of the album.

Twisted Machine stands alongside the first two tracks as the biggest highlights on Out Of Reach. It is a pulsating and snarling piece of rock which is full of intrigue and inspiring energies to leave one absorbed by its imaginative and infectious adrenaline driven attack. Once more it reminds of Sick Puppies which is not a bad thing as the track shows.

Out of Reach is a great album which is full of passion, skill, and undemanding but riveting songs, what more could you want?

http://www.lizzard.fr/

Ring Master 19/10/2012

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Trepalium: H.N.P.

With more instinctive groove in their blood than should be possible French death metallers Trepalium has unleashed one of the most absorbing and pleasing albums so far this year. H.N.P. is arguably not the richest in innovation or an openly ground breaking release but no one can deny it is one of the most intrusively infectious and compelling. Named after the ancient torture device Trepalium like its namesake shows no mercy, the band seizing the ear with riotous aggressive riffs, direct and manipulative technical venom, and the sweetest grooves let loose in an extreme metal release.

Released through Klonosphere/Season of Mist, H.N.P. is the fourth album from the band and as the promo states “H.N.P” will enclose brilliantly the triptych started with “Alchemik Clockwork of Disorder” and “XIII”. A true journey with dense and deep concept albums whose words reflect and complement the musical complexity and intensity.” To be honest the album is our introduction to the band, a long overdue meeting on the evidence of such an impressive release, so to discover the full journey will be a retrospective experience but a destined one because of H.N.P.

The album starts with the title track, Heic Noenum Pax and instantly rips the attention from elsewhere in its direction. The brewing intensity and tension leads into intimidating riffs and the growled malice of KK. As the track unfolds with an ever present attitude the guitars of Harun Demiraslan and Nicolas Amossé tease and intrigue within the commanding rhythms of Sylvain Bouvier and the heavy bass lines of Ludovic Chauveau. Hints of deep grooves are offered without giving any clue to what is fully ahead for newcomers to the band. It is the guitar work though which makes the track magnetic without being overly addictive and creates an inventive start to the album.

The following Prescription of Crisis is a bruising encounter for the senses, its hardcore breath a scathing attack within the death and technical metal violation. Brief and uncompromising the track leaves one enthused and though distinctly different it continues in the same manner as the opener with again no real hint to the opening of groove fest erupting from here on in.

Slave to The World blisters the senses from the first note with a groove to send sphincter muscles contorting in delight. The guitars drive straight to the core to twist and manipulate every cell like maniacal whores, every note a seductive and irresistible surge of wantonness. To be honest you have to listen to the songs a few times to appreciate the other great aspects of the song such the lure and addictive nature of the groove which spines the song. Vocally thoughts grab a Pantera feel as too at times does the music, this a recurring thought throughout the album though it is just another delicious spice to the album. With breath taking rhythms puncturing the ear incessantly the track is immense.

The next song Order the Labyrinth sees a progressive metal air brought to the senses its atmospheric skirting of the ear making an imaginative companion to the decisive aggressive nature stalking the senses. With a less defined but just as effective grooved vein the track is an evolving expressive piece with an inventive union between the eager to break free destructive urge and its well crafted melodic breath. The track shows the strong variety on H.N.P. even if it again is not the deepest infection on offer.

That is left to Insane Architect, the best track on the album. Another salacious groove permeates the song but it is the outstanding diverse vocals and scorched guitars, especially the solo, which makes the song so impressive. It is a track which never sits still in its invention and desire to leave the senses lusting for its aural addiction. The song pimps its hooks and lures like a greedy dealer but there is nothing light or cheap about what is an immense piece of metal.

Further tracks such as Let The Clown Rise and the corruptive I Was do nothing to lessen the deep satisfaction and with it closing on a cover of the Pantera track I’m Broken, the album is pure pleasure. One did expect that maybe the band would have churned up and reinvented the cover but they do such a great if straight forward job it is hard to be critical.

Trepalium with H.N.P. has delivered one gratifying and stirring album. It does not rip up the rule book but does make it the most compulsive read.

www.facebook.com/TREPALIUMBAND

Ringmaster 21/06/2012

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Pictured : The Strand Of Time

French thrash/death metallers Pictured is a band which over their five years of existence has remained to all extents and purposes anonymous to the wider metal Masses. There have been a few bands already this year which from a similar state of play have made a big step towards a fuller spotlight of recognition with impressive and striking releases.  The Pont l’abbé based quartet are the next, unleashing a truly mighty album in the shape of their debut The Strand Of Time to hopefully lead them out of relative obscurity. Though not quite flawless the album is a brawling storm of invention, imagination, and intrusive intensity. From an immediate infectious introduction it evolves into a thoroughly addictive and compelling release from which resistance is impossible.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Niko Beleg, guitarist Sebastien Le Bellec, bassist Sylvain Coïc, and Thomas Coïc on drums, the band have released two demos prior to their album, Son of the Night in 2008 and the acclaimed The Dwelling of two years ago. That release was the moment Pictured really ignited with a flurry of positive reaction and the release being called one of the best melodic death-metal works released that year in the French underground media. Another two years on and the album finds the band even deeper into their striking evolution and creativity, the songs unveiling a maturity and inventiveness rare in debut releases and arguably in a great many melodic death metal albums over recent months.

Released through Klonosphere/Season of Mist, The Strand Of Time is an unpredictable and consistently invigorating release; its nine tracks a bruising yet contagious corruption of energy, spiteful aggression, and completely enthralling invention. Based in death metal the release is a continual maelstrom of great ideas and songwriting realised with a vigorous enthusiasm and skilful enterprise. Not one of the songs simply rests in the arms of expectation but come with a intimidating dark and deeply thoughtful imagination, no easy verse chorus verse chorus structure here. The tracks flex and turn with impressive fluidity and invention whilst retaining a perpetual aggressive and irresistible lure to the ear.

The album erupts from the first note of opener Another and takes no time in mesmerising and seducing with sharp colourful grooves and rampaging riffs brought on a wall of destructive rhythms. As the song goes deeper into its absorbing depths there is only submission and adoration on the horizon, the melodic manipulations teasingly fingering the senses within the intense bursts to ignite the most urgent primal energies. At every turn the song switches finding greater and more addictive inventiveness to give equal gratification.

We mentioned the album was flawless though it is not a massive issue in hindsight. The vocals of Beleg, fine though they are and better than a great many, do lack variety and precision to match the great sounds behind him. He has a one dimensional delivery which at times fails to find a connection with the imaginative music he and the band create. It is not a major thing and is more down to personal preference but does stop the album from becoming a best of year contender though it is close and could change.

The blacked greedy attack of Metal creates havoc within the ear next, a blistering annihilatory force which equally bewitches with acidic melodic veins of play within its vicious onslaught. Though not as startling as its predecessor it keeps interest and fervour high and makes a great lead into arguably best track on the album in the stunning Howling Forest. From an atmospheric enticing and dramatic keys the song nurtures its ambient breath into a storming gale of finely crafted play and vindictive riffs. With the core of melodic sonic mastery flaring up to enflame the heart throughout the song it is an insatiable pleasure for the senses and again shows how creative and inventive the band is.

Tracks like the venomous slightly folk tinged Black Bile, the rampant thrash punk driven To Hell And Back, and Stranger, simply leave one exhausted with satisfaction as they continue the irresistible and immense quality. The latter of these three is a feast of thirsty guitar play and hungry rhythms igniting the air with explosions of caustic sonic excellence and unrelenting intensive attacks. Add the challenging and intimidating closing title track and you have an album which is nothing less than impressive and at numerous times pure brilliance.

http://www.facebook.com/Picturedmusic

RingMaster Review 15/06/2012

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