Edge of Haze – Illumine

(c) Olli Kiikkilä

(c) Olli Kiikkilä

As much as there is a creative adventure and aggressively provocative breath to Illumine, the new album from Finnish metallers Edge of Haze, there is also a unique and mesmeric charm to its melodic metal which sets it and its creators distinctly away from the crowd. It makes for a tremendously striking proposition which brews up an atmospheric embrace through the entwining of progressive and alternative metal with a melodic and ambient fuelling. The Espoo quintet’s sound is a thick and vibrantly textured proposal which is as thrillingly adept at seducing or savaging the senses. From this the band’s second album emerges as a masterful treat which like an emotive sea laps upon the ears and imagination with varying intensities and successes whilst offering a perpetual enthralment of invention and irresistible persuasion.

The seeds of Edge of Haze begin with the metal band Damage, a project vocalist/bassist/guitarist Eero Maijala and drummer Janne Mieskonen began in 2007. Subsequently joined by guitarist Lenno Linjama two years later and with a couple of demos under their belt, the band expanded with the joining of keyboardist Akseli Savola and vocalist/guitarist Iivo Kaipainen which led to the renaming to Edge of Haze in 2010 as well as a change in direction sound wise, a new progressive and melodic strain of ideation and flavour merging with the heavier metal sound bred through Damage. The departure of Kaipainen led to the addition of Markus Hentunen as debut album Mirage begun its birth in 2011. Released the following year to strong acclaim, its success and presence is destined to pale against that of Illuminate such the latter’s riveting journey and potency. Loosely based on the book Escape From Camp 14 about a man living under a totalitarian regime that upon realising his submission to this life attempts an escape and sets out to find the landscape of his soul, Illumine musically and lyrically provides a fascinating presence which paints that theme’s journey with imagination sparking colour and thought involving prowess making a thrilling treat for ears.

Opening track Drawn releases a haunted whisper of ambience before guitars cast a provocative web of melodic expression courted by a just as magnetic keys spawned atmosphere. It is a potent start which is soon settling into a sturdy yet Cover artwarm stride, its sinew sculpted grooves seducing ears as the excellent tones of Hentunen work on the senses. His vocals are immediately compelling and masterful within the slightly tempestuous breath of the track, adding greater strength to the narrative and the impressive canvas below him. A soft and elegant drift of voice and sound brings another unexpected and intrigue ripe twist to the already absorbing and impressive emprise, the eventful track sparking thoughts and passions with sublime ease.

The Pyre brings an openly more aggressive and muscular proposition wrapped in a sinister and imposing climate of dark shadows and intent. As its title suggests, the song is a blaze of scorched sonic endeavour and rippling invention, its ravenous air entwined by a melodic beauty and that almost mesmeric vocal quality of Hentunen, which here is supported potently by the coarse growls of Maijala. The track continues to climb over the senses and imagination with an inescapable web of enslaving sounds, a solemnly flavoursome gothic darkness and drama aligning its lures to the voracious and seductive essences soaking the persistently evolving picture. Its heady almost oppressive design is powerfully contrasted by the melodic beauty of Urban Reverie, its opening gentle parade of rhythmic vivacity within a vocal and guitar spawned majesty providing an emotive urbanity which spreads throughout the imaginative coaxing terrain of the song.

The following Crushed is like a reality check to the dreams of its predecessor, riffs and rhythms an antagonistic stabbing from its opening second whilst snarl spewing grooves and vocal scowls add further predacious bait. The melodic and harmonic side of the track is equally as pungent in its voice and resourcefulness, Edge Of Haze able to merge both extremes whilst giving each a creative clarity which radiates its side of the drama. The scintillating maelstrom of ingenuity is first followed by the decent instrumental 3:30 A.M., its dystopian ambience another reminder to the tale’s political and social landscape, before Into The Red Sun makes its piano composed engrossing entrance. Over scenery of possible escape, Savola transfixes ears and thoughts before the track erupts into a powerful ball of sonic heat and creative tenacity. Riffs and grooves seduce with a slightly carnivorous texture before a relaxation of intensity makes a refined platform for Hentunen to lay his ever fascinating tones. Possibly not the most overall gripping track on the album, its every turn still brings an appetite filling adventure which tightly grips attention and stirs up greater hunger for track and album, its epic finale alone a creative alchemy.

Both Unlearn and A Storm At The River keep listener and release entwined, the first an exciting charge of energy and virulence coloured with celestial fire before unveiling the richest vein of hostility found on the album. Of course like all, the track is a series of moments seamlessly linked and united for a compelling and exhilarating incitement of ingenuity whilst its successor is a smouldering glide of emotive grace and evocative ambience woven into a melody fuelled flight of passion and reflection. The pair epitomise the complex structures and contagiously intricate flavours which paint every song, as mentioned every shift of a track’s body or thought a new expanse of pleasure and intrigue.

Illumine is concluded by firstly the fiery atmosphere and sultry sounds of Rainfall, its exploration bringing an emotional continent of insecurity and suffocating angst within the fluid movement of the song which easily combined being mellow and immersive with stormy and intimidating within a swoop of a chord or a caress of vocals. Final track A Newfound Horizon provides a ten minute journey of its own to bring the album’s musical and lyrical narrative to a powerful close. Again in all aspects the song merges serenades and croons with roars and inhospitable ambiences, its ridiculously addictive investigation of new lands and emotional extremes glorious.

Illumine is a sensational release, one where some tracks steal the heart more than others but each piece of the creative puzzle leaves ears basking, imagination devouring drama, and passions bursting with a want for more. Edge of Haze has made a striking statement for progressive and melodic metal, and you can only feel it will be the first of many ahead.

The self-released Illumine is available digitally and on CD now @ http://edgeofhaze.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/edgeofhaze

9/10

RingMaster 22/08/2014

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Mutagenocide – Devolve EP

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If UK metallers Mutagenocide have not reached your neck of the woods or gaze yet never fear they are coming with their ferocious and feverishly flavoured sound, certainly if new EP Devolve gets the breaks and attention it deserves. Made up of seven voracious onslaughts which rage and stampede with pure metal aggression, the release unleashes an unpredictability which is as compelling as the invention and array of styles which fuels its adventure. The band has been making a stir across the metal underground in the UK and now Devolve suggests the time is ripe for the quintet to find a wider intensive attention.

Oxford based, Mutagenocide showed their intent and brewing depth of sound with a self-titled debut in 2012, the four track EP a potent reinforcement of their already keenly followed and recognised live performances. Now the line-up of vocalist Jay Taylor, guitarists Pat Scott and Paul Clayton, bassist Tom Greenway, and drummer Ben Wilsker pounce with a provocation which suggests they are ready to stir up a countrywide hunger with the potential to fuel attention much further afield.

From the first swipe of sonic belligerence over a persistently winding flume of guitar, opener Hysteria has ears and appetite wide awake. It is a dramatic entrance which is soon twisted into a tempestuous charge of thrash bred antagonistic DEVOLVE COVERriffing and vicious rhythmic hostility, this ridden by the caustic vocal squalls of Taylor. But as is a constant across the whole release, it is merely a moment in an evolving landscape, grooves and addictive hooks as well as subsequent progressively seeded ideation, veining and working its way into the heart of the fierce and impressive incitement.

The immense start is swiftly emulated and surpassed by the title track, it also an immediate fury and explosive assault through ears. A melodic and progressive teasing plays within the demanding surge before merging into an addictive web of tenacious grooving and venomous melodic metal coaxing. It is a blistering mix which again seems to find a new avenue to investigate and contagious bait to expel within the unrelenting voracity of the song. It is a brilliant encounter which is full of drama and intrigue, incendiary craft and seductive predation, but most of all sheer compelling invention.

     Entombed and Swallowed makes a reserved entrance next, a guitar painting an emotive hue into an evocative atmosphere which carries no threat yet has an air of foreboding to it. It is the same as a melodic wind of progressive rock spicing opens up its narrative, guitars impressing with every expressive note but the darker shadows of the bass ensures a portentous tempering is lurking. That darkness seeps into the growing weight and punch of the rhythms before fuelling a corrosive maelstrom of acidic sonic endeavour, acutely jagged riffery, and an increasing spite to the commanding swings of Wilsker. Like a brawl instigated by Lamb of God and Sybreed with thoughts of Cambion also making their hints, but an aggressor with the poise and exploratory expression of melodic metal and the emprise of post metal, the track is a riveting blaze of adversarial emprise. It is soon outshone though by the similarly cultured but rigorously individual Half-Born, it’s closing seduction before a corrosive finale alone passion firing but as a whole proposition the song is a startling and ruggedly imposing and shifting triumph.

     Remeron Nightmares with its stomping thrash sculpted entrance and Wretched bring the release to a mighty conclusion. The first proceeds to spin a malevolent web of precision crafted inhospitable toxicity encased in a simultaneously intimidating and alluring storm, its presence as primal as it is intensively honed. Equipped with a familiar swagger, a sonic invention which leaves lips licked, and a primal virulence the track is a monstrous treat. The same which can almost be said about its successor, a final enthralling furnace of raw and hellacious enterprise which whilst lacking the stature and uniqueness of its predecessors, is still a mighty end to an outstanding triumph.

There is very little to put up against the Stu Mckay (Malevolence, Desolated, Ingested, Annotations Of An Autopsy, Eternal Lord) recorded and Tim Turan (Nuclear Blast, Candlelight Records) mastered release though a bit more variety to the admittedly excellent vocal delivery of Taylor would be welcome and interesting. It is a minor thing in a big thrilling step from Mutagenocide, a band you can expect to hear and see a lot more of ahead.

The Devolve EP is available now @ http://www.mutagenocide.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/mutagenocide

9/10

RingMaster 15/08/2014

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Wovenwar – Self Titled

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Pic by Ty Watkins

The events around and causing the imprisonment of As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis is a well-publicised happening which does not need our commentary. It also left the rest of the band with a major decision. No strangers to success and acclaim, the remaining quartet of guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, bassist Josh Gilbert, and drummer Jordan Mancino had to decide their next step and thankfully chose with music their life and calling, to strike forward with a new project and what a stunning proposition it has turned out to be. Recruiting lifelong friend and ex-lead guitarist/vocalist of Oh, Sleeper, Shane Blay, the quintet emerged as Wovenwar and has just unleashed a monster of a debut, in their fifteen track self-titled album. Exploring with muscular ferocity and passionate tenacity the melodic metal side of their imagination, the band has created a proposition as distinctly different yet equal in quality and temptation to anything their previous triumphs have unveiled.

Recorded with producer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Rise Against, NOFX, Black Flag) and mixed by Colin Richardson (Slipknot, Machine Head, Trivium), the album also reaps with sinew driven voracity the rich essences of hard rock to create blazes of sound and enterprise which stand astride genres whilst offering recognisable flames within fresh adventures. On top of that there are the, at times breath-taking and always tantalising vocals of Blay, his clean tones which helped shape his previous band given full expansive rein here to excel and show the strength and weight of the man’s power and craft. It is a magnetic and persistently surprising mesh of sound and ideation which courses the album and immediately awakens attention and appetite through All Rise which follows the opening intro of Foreword. A drama instilled prelude to the creative emprise ahead, the opening track makes for a potent coaxing before the second track explodes with a thumping roll of rhythms, agitated riffs, and a sonic shaping of melodic intent. It is a busy entrance soon enhanced by Blay and the heavy throated predation of the bass. The track is swiftly as anthemic as it is technically bewitching, guitars and drums nimble footed yet leaving heavy impressions with their stormy endeavour.

Death to Rights erupts with similarly intensive and rugged energy and adventure next, jagged riffs and demanding rhythms evolving into scorching weaves of melodic passion and sonic intrigue, though that only hints at the fluid Covermovement and invention within the blistering encounter. As the album, every aspect of the song calls out with invigorated energy and refreshing ideation, raw and almost antagonistic power crowding in with sultry melodies and rapacious infectiousness. It is probably unfair to say the members of the band have found a new lease of life with Wovenwar but certainly there is a freedom and elation to the sound and passion behind it which is as magnetic as the songs themselves.

Through Tempest and The Mason, band and album continue to impress with no restraint. The first of the two finds a carnivorous tone to the bass which alone ignites the passions but also makes a shapely blend of that aggression with an elegant melodically tempering countenance to remind of a more ferocious Sick Puppies. The second of the pair digs into a more furious breath in sound and personality, though the rich tones of Blay never allows the primal intent and fury beneath his vocals to have complete reign with their glorious causticity. The same applies to Moving Up and Sight of Shore, though they are more even tempered naturally with easily pleasing and flawlessly accomplished if less imposingly striking presences compared to previous songs on the album. Each leave a greedy appetite well fed nevertheless before Father Son makes its claim for best track notoriety. The song is simply bewitching, its soothing melodic opening caress over a metronomic lure, irresistible coaxing which increases in temptation as soon as Blay opens up his deliciously mesmeric tones. With keys an evocative ambience over the picturesque narrative of the guitars, and both colourful scenery in a mountain range of epic rhythmic enticement, the track is pure poetry as it leads to its mouth-watering climactic crescendo of a finale.

Profane then thrusts ears into a tempestuous exploit with thunderous rhythms and scathing riffery, the track the rawest and anthemically volatile track on the album yet still holding a seduction which wraps around the aggression and vocal roars which Blay unveils within ever formidable delivery. It is a beast of a track which along with its predecessor puts the likes of Archers and Ruined Ends under pressure to deliver. Neither falls at the hurdle though, the first a voracious blaze of entwining sonic rages, passion drenched vocals, and flavour fuelled melodies whilst its successor is a deeply satisfying mix of abrasing textures and contagious designs ridden by earnest and heated vocal expression.

Things take a bit of a breather with Identity, its well sculpted and unquestionably impressive presence also lacking the spark of those leading up to its moment, though again to be fair there is nothing to leave disappointment a chance to breed. Matter of Time is in its own individual way the same, which offers the suggestion that maybe the album was a couple of songs or so too long but with its compact yet weighty intimidation and stormy air leaving senses and thoughts contented, you feel to omit it and other tracks would be to our real loss.

The album is completed by the acoustically opened Prophets, another spellbinding matching of Blay’s voice and melodic guitar enticing as group harmonies float engagingly over the poetic scenery which works into a climactic landscape of equally thrilling provocation, and lastly the cinematic instrumental Onward which gives the imagination one final flight to immerse in. It enjoyably concludes a scintillating proposition which proves that every cloud has…etc. Though its members are no newcomers to creating inspirational metal, Wovenwar has made a debut which definitely is startling and leaves anticipation for their next step afire, and the passions right now basking.

Wovenwar is available via Metal Blade Records now @ http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/band/wovenwar

http://wovenwar.com/about

9/10

RingMaster 08/08/2014

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A.C.O.D – Another Path…

acod

Following two well-received albums, French metallers A.C.O.D have reinforced their impressive presence with another accomplished release in the tidy shape of the Another Path… EP. Consisting of five tracks which blend various styles and essences into its melody driven rapacity, the release without igniting an intensive fire in the belly leaves ears and emotions healthily satisfied.

Formed in 2006, the Marseille sextet first drew a wide attention with debut album Point Zero in 2009 backed even more potently by its successor First Earth Poison two years later. Earning a strong live reputation at home the band also found strong support across Italy and Japan. The new Shawter (Dagoba) produced EP pushes the stature and sound of A.C.O.D to a level that you suspect will lead the band to a new strength and expanse of support and recognition.

The release opens with its title track and needs little encouragement to unleash a persuasive torrent of riffs and grinding grooves amidst a commanding rhythmic coaxing. It is a concentrated tempest on the ear but soon discovers a new acod coverferocity which floods the senses with thrash bred hostility and blackened predation. The vocals bring a potent and varied causticity to the adventure too, the twin vocal assault as distinct as they are united in their abrasing narrative. The track continues to flare up with unpredictable twists and inventive colour though its core drive remains in control until it makes way for the following Black Wings. The track continues the immense start with its own enthralling offering, riffs and rhythms again consuming ears in a fierce mesh of intent and enterprise. Hooks and melodies again stir up the imagination within the turbulence of the song, essences of progressive and technical metal as impacting as the antagonistic passion of the track. There is an undefined spark missing to the track to leave it paler against its predecessor, something which in many ways applies to the EP, but it still ignites a keener appetite and impressed reaction for its fiery proposition.

Unleash The Fools steps up next, its immediate intimidation reminding a little of Killswitch Engage. There is a similarity to the previous track in its insurgent riffing and threatening rhythmic attack but soon unveils a richer vein of emotive melodic and sonic expression. The cleaner growled vocals on the song are a little unconvincing for the first time on the release but swiftly excused thanks to the strength of the pure clean delivery within a graceful and provocative melodic detour. Again it is a song which arguably should impress more than it does such the skill and imagination within in, but nevertheless leaves satisfaction full for next up Abuse Me to run with. That it does skilfully with an instantaneous stride of hostile intent within a predatory merger of rhythms and guitar. The darker toned vocals equally menace thoughts as the track with its turbulent and gripping drama returns the release to its opening plateau of adventure and creative enticement.

   Another Path… is brought to a thunderous conclusion by Words of War. Its initially heavy footed stalking gait subsequently entwined with a more urgent thrash seeded scourge of riffs and rhythmic intensity to which vocals add their venomous syllables and spiteful passion. The track took longer to persuade than others on the release but emerged with its discord kissed sonic bait and pleasingly niggling riffery as another striking highlight.

A.C.O.D has a sound which is refreshingly hard to pigeonhole, think of a style and there is probably a potent whiff of it in the superbly crafted passion driven songs within the EP. As said Another Path… is not an encounter to really set metal ablaze but certainly it gives it a flavoursome proposition to eagerly devour.

The Another Path… EP is available now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AcoD/97357318597

8/10

RingMaster 01/08/2014

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Of Allies – Tempers EP

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It might not set heartbeats racing and get thoughts animatingly blazing, but UK alternative rockers Of Allies provide a potent introduction with their Tempers EP. The debut release from a band still in its infancy after only forming last year, makes a strong and potential drenched statement, gripping attention with a quintet of richly satisfying tracks. With a sound which merges alternative and indie rock with strains of melodic metal, EP and band show plenty to excite the senses whilst raising a keen appetite for their future explorations.

Emerging from the depths of Yorkshire, the Hull based quartet of vocalist/guitarist Rich Nichols, guitarist/vocalist Tom Hewson, bassist Nick Tyldsley, and drummer Danny Barrick has already been drawing keen attention since their emergence a few short months ago. First single and video, Ghosts caught the eye and ears of BBC Introducing whilst their live performances has only recruited more and more eager followers. The Matt Elliss produced Tempers EP is the band’s nationwide entrance and it is hard not to expect seeing Of Allies coming under a much stronger spotlight because of it.

From its first expressive caress of vocals over a lone melody, opener Ghosts intrigues and holds the imagination tight. It is a gentle start which is swiftly enhanced by a rumbling of rhythms and an emerging web of guitar crafted melodic rsz_temperscover2enticement. The potent entrance is soon aflame with sturdier intensity and a sonic blaze whilst a somewhat familiar glaze washes over the brewing drama. Comparisons to the likes of Deaf Havana and Twin Atlantic have been cast over the band but across this outstanding starter, thoughts of Three Days Grace and more so Sick Puppies definitely comes to mind. The song grows in stature within its virulent call and across subsequent listens, its weighty persuasion and the band’s creative tenacity increasingly irresistible bait.

The following Our Decay is less immediate in its entrance, though the early sonic groove and throaty bassline sparks another smacking of lips in an already awoken appetite for the release. Rhythms again ooze sinew built temptation to steer thoughts and emotions skilfully into the emotive heart of the song, a core with a passionate roar and musical ferocity. Across its body the track continues to swarm engagingly over ears with melodic elegance aligned to evocative textures, gliding into those climactic and incendiary crescendos time and time again. Another big highlight of the release, the excellent encounter is followed by In Screens, a track offering scythes of sonic coaxing across a moody almost predatory bass sound at its start. Its subsequent emotively driven presence does not have the strength and potency of its predecessors but still takes ears and thoughts on a stirring ride of passion soaked melodies within a dramatic cloud of restrained crisp rhythms and inviting sonic squalls. It is a pleasing and easy to digest venture providing further evidence of the band’s impressive songwriting and craft, both reinforced by the mellower and sultrily aired In Stasis. Again it is a proposition which does not light fires but immerses the listener in a rich and captivating wash of emotion and creative intensity to leave a flavoursome mark.

The closing Play Dead hugs ears with a beauty clad vocal and guitar elegance, kissing the senses before forging a net of sonic insistence and rhythmic drama to which melodies and fiery guitars expel a strikingly passionate and contagious wind of suasion. It is an outstanding end to the release, a song which out of them all most openly shows the depth and richness of the potential within Of Allies.

The excellent The Tempers EP is not going to set volcanic ripples within British rock but has all the armoury and quality to earn a strong spotlight on its impressive entrance and leave a keen smouldering intrigue for the band’s next move.

The self-released Tempers EP is available now!

http://ofallies.com/

8/10

RingMaster 08/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Across The Swarm – Self Titled

ATS photo by Gianvito Greco

Hailing from Bologna, Italian extreme metallers Across The Swarm are an emerging force destined to great and major things if their self-titled debut EP is anything to go by. Consisting of five fascinatingly inventive and irresistibly brutal tracks entwining everything from groove and nu-metal, hard core and drum and bass into their persistently evolving and violating landscapes of sound, the release is a towering and gripping onslaught of intrigue drenched ferocity. It is a startling entrance by the band, one clad in an invigorating unpredictability and exhaustive experimental attitude which is seemingly rare to absent in a great many new bands.

Formed in 2013 out of Lacerater, which released a series of demos itself, Across The Swarm set about working on their first release last December. Recording it at Sliver Studios, the quartet of vocalist Francesco A. Flagiello, guitarists Luca Sammartino and Marco Lambertini, and drummer Riccardo Grechi brought in NK and Sygo from Hallucinator for the DnB samples as well as Simone Bertozzi (The Modern Age Slavery, Mnemic) to provide bass for the recordings. The result is the exhilarating torrent of ideation and voracious sound found on their self-titled introduction, a proposition inflaming ears and imagination right through to hungry passions.

     Hang Out is the first pestilential treat, a grievous rhythmic assault and similarly bred riffs flying at the senses within the first second. It is already more than a straight forward confrontation as varied vicious vocal squalls alongside across-the-swarm-300x300vitriolic grooves wreak havoc with toxic intent and craft, whilst the unpredictable drumming of Grechi disorientates as it impresses. The track is from start to finish incendiary to the imagination, torrentially blasting and irrepressibly seducing with mouth-watering enterprise and striking ingenuity as in its successor Just Bodies. Once again first touch is as barbarous as it is heavy, beats and riffs churning up the senses for bass and guitars to offload a venomous bait which itself twists with a breath-taking ideation. Swinging temptation of drum n bass bred invention soon adds its weight to the suasion, though its brief entrance is soon lost under an avalanche of rhythmic hostility and rigorously intensive grooving. Raw and uncompromising yet precise and deliberately structured in its creative fury, the track consumes an already keen appetite for the release with its staggering endeavour, the smile on the face at its departure the sure sign of something special.

That grin is never far away from the EP to be fair, reprising its joy with Cynical Eyes and beaming even more loudly with the outstanding Formless Wreck. The first of the two is sonic and rhythmic savagery driven by vocal and creative predation. The track starts in a rage and boils up into a carnivorous rabidity yet from its first caustic touch it unleashes waves and veins of acidic grooves and invention sculpted twists which enslave the imagination. It is a contagious tempest of malevolent beauty matched and exceeded by the second of the two, bass and guitars coaxing and licking ears with invention beneath a scourging wind of sound before that previously only glancing bait of drum n bass makes a more thrilling and provocative presence on the release. At any point on the EP it is hard to find true comparisons to suggest and here especially difficult, yet essences of The Browning, Bloodsimple, and Dark Tranquillity is some kind of clue.

The release closes with the virulently compelling Like Water, a hellacious inventively twisted slab of extreme maliciousness cast with technical rapaciousness and imagination bred toxicity. It is a colossal closing to an immense and enthralling incitement. Across The Swarm has uncaged one of the best metal debuts certainly this year and last whilst suggesting a potential which if it comes to bear, and you dare not doubt it, could see the Italians setting new levels and templates for extreme storms ahead.

Across The Swarm is available now @ http://acrosstheswarm.bandcamp.com/album/across-the-swarm

https://www.facebook.com/acrosstheswarm

9/10

RingMaster 04/07/2014

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Deathwhite – Ethereal

Deathwhite band 2014

Looking for something intriguing with a fresh breath but still holding that raw edge which suggests that impressive early days have the potential to lead to major encounters? Then try checking out the Ethereal EP from US dark melodic metallers Deathwhite, a striking blaze of inventive and superbly crafted songs which rigorously capture the imagination and ignite the senses. The debut release from the band is an honest and striking introduction to the band, one unafraid to show its honed and less polished edges. It is also an encounter impossible not to get excited about as dramatic landscapes pull the listener into immersive and provocative explorations which leave senses and emotions as keen as a swiftly established appetite for the band’s sound.

Deathwhite was formed in 2012, its secretive line-up already well-established in extreme metal bands. The project is a vehicle for its members to explore new avenues, taking inspirations from the likes of Katatonia, mid-90’s Paradise Lost, Alcest, In the Woods, Green Carnation, Antimatter, and early Anathema into their emerging invention. Despite a semi-aborted EP which the band began last year, Ethereal is the unveiling of the band. Recorded at Pittsburgh’s Very Tight Studios with producer/engineer Matt Very earlier this year (with its closing song recorded in the fall of 2013 at a different studio), the six-track proposition takes little time in making a rich impression and placing Deathwhite deeply into the gaze of attentions radar.

The release opens with its title track, a brief instrumental crafted by expressive guitar with emotive melodic hues. It is a thoroughly Deathwhite Ethereal coverengaging entrance to the EP which hints at things to come without revealing too much, similar to the band’s presence online. What does swiftly come next is a glorious rhythmic incitement as the following When I (Wasn’t) You bursts into life. Roaming beats of drums make a punchy bait without being demanding, continuing their impressive coaxing as guitars gently and then with a fiery breath swarm around them. It is a dramatic mix which sets up an instant appetite for the song; one soon fed by the roving emotive prowess of the guitars and deep throated shadows from the bass, whilst strong if also at times unpolished vocals unfurl the narrative. As contagious as it is melancholically imposing, the track almost stalks the imagination as it virulently infects the passions. Individual skills are openly appealing as is the united tempest of their creativity and though the production is also raw in its touch it tempers its less forgiving side by empowering a greater growl to the riffs and sonic endeavour to further feed ears.

The strong start to the release continues with the equally impacting Give Up the Ghost. Another caustic wash of sound brings its heart into view, making way for a flowing melodic breeze around charged vocals. It brings essences of Tool and in some ways Karnivool to the mix, though they are mere whispers of spice within the expansive roar and intensive almost portentous air of the track. Though it fails to match the heights of its predecessor, the song adds further colour and variation to the songwriting and potent sound of the band, a new avenue to their growing scenery of invention and skilled designs within the release.

The following Silenced prowls around ears with a sinister yet seductive lure, its keen gait a spark to the brooding vocal and lyrical wrap which draws greater hunger towards the fluidly shifting ground of sound. It is possible to suggest favours of styles within Deathwhite songs as here, but impossible to pin it down into a description which truly represents the creative emprise the band offers. It is a refreshing and intrigue fuelled potency which adds to the promise and already sturdy stature of their sound, as evidenced again in the next up Feeding the Illusion. Erupting with a sturdy rhythmic weight and flame encrusted sonic heat the track is soon enveloping the vocal croon with a blistering torrent of incendiary melodies and driving riffs, all caustic to the touch and rigorously gripping. As the previous song, it suddenly slips into unpredictable asides, progressive and post metal additives colouring the adventure as one terrain seamlessly turns into another. The track from its strong initial engagement persistently grows in the passions, becoming one of the lingering exploits of the release.

Closing with the rugged and slightly corrosive A Burden to Carry, another heavily enticing and thrilling track which needs a better productive to thrive in; Ethereal is an immense base camp for Deathwhite as they start a certain ascent. As mentioned the release has its issues, the similarity of some passages of riffs between songs defusing their individual potency at times another, but like any other ‘niggle’ it will evolve and work itself out in time. This is a band with the armoury and invention to make waves; we wait with interest whilst basking in their impressive debut.

The self-released Ethereal is available now @ http://deathwhite.bandcamp.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/07/2014

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