Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch

 

pic scott schumacher

pic scott schumacher

    I think it is safe to say that the ferocity and sonic viciousness of metallic hardcore protagonists Ringworm has not abated or diminished over their twenty plus years brawling with the senses. The indisputable evidence comes with new album Hammer Of The Witch, a towering and vindictive slab of destructive raging and antagonistic creativity. Packed to the brim with thirteen vitriol spewing tracks that just as venomously unleash a range of uncompromising riffs and addictive grooves, the album is a commanding onslaught of spite and animosity, simply unadulterated hardcore excellence.

     Formed in 1991, it is fair to say that Ringworm has left an indelible mark with their fusion of metal and hardcore, debut album The Promise in 1993 setting the Cleveland band as a sizeable proposition before a hiatus of sorts was ended by the unleashing of the critically acclaimed Birth Is Pain on Victory Records in 2001. Subsequent albums like Justice Replaced By Revenge four years later and the following The Venomous Grand Design of 2007 reinforced and strengthened their grip on passions and scene. Scars three years ago continued the stretching of the band’s creativity and power, the same pleasing accusation you can throw at Hammer Of The Witch, the band’s debut on Relapse Records. Recorded with Ben Schigel (Chimaira, Walls of Jericho) producing, the album is a merciless tempest chewing up and spitting out everything from ears to emotions.

     Opener Dawn of Decay emerges from a cinematic intimidation, a sense of epic danger spawning a weave of carnivorous 12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}basslines, rapacious riffing, and combative rhythms, all honed into a prowling entity which sizes up its victim before exploding into  fire of musical causticity and vocal threat, the tones of frontman Human Furnace as always living up to his moniker. The song stalks the senses from start to finish, the guitars of Matt Sorg and John Comprix abrasively ravishing air and ears whilst drummer Danny Zink gives them a further mighty battering.

  The excellent start is potently backed up by the corrosive wrath of Bleed and the nastily venomous Leave Your Skin at the Door, both individual tirades of inventive riffery and precisely sculpted contagious grooves courted by the deliciously dark hearted tones spawned from the bass of Ed Stephens, his opening of the second of these songs a mouthwatering provocation. Each track is also marked by keen sonic endeavour from the guitars; theirs an acidic play within the riot which even in brief colours raises the potency of the anger.

    The toxic Exit Life rails against ears next, its narrative and approach singular in venom and hatred but fully magnetic, before Psychic Vampire belts and engages the senses with rhythmic violence and a deceptively seductive groove which winds around and recruits the passions. The track is a maelstrom of vehemence, lyrically and sonically, and rich infectiousness. It is an intrusive antagonist that is hard to have enough of, the same that can also be said of King of Blood, another unbridled onslaught which savages and ignites the emotions with dramatic grooves, temper driven riffs, and bitter rhythms. The track in many ways is similar to its predecessor, the one trait you could lay against the album with a regularly familiarity across some songs, though it does not reduce the pleasure and power of the release one iota.

    Through tracks like the torrentially consumptive I Recommend Amputation and the predatory We’ll Always Have the End as well as the raging causticity of One Of Us Is Going to Have to Die…, band and album abrases and sears with compelling efficiency and enterprise even if each lacks some of the spark of previous songs, though amongst them the title track takes its victims on a hellacious ride of physical and mental ferocity which simply ignites the passions, it’s almost demonic poisons irresistibly and dramatically enthralling.

     The final trio of tracks starting with the flesh and synapse scorching Vicious Circle of Life lift the album back to its opening plateau, the fearsome slice of tempestuous hostility scarred with great guitar acid soon thrown under the shadow of the brilliant Die Like a Pig. The bass of Stephens digs deep for its strongest guttural growl whilst HF soaks every syllable and rage spewing sound with bile spawned malevolence and passion to match the creative rabidity of its partners of dispute.

     The album closes with slab of prime hardcore/punk jaundice in the riveting shape of Height of Revelation. The uncivil and rigorously inciting melee of sonic and rhythmic rancor is a thunderous and thoroughly incendiary last triumph for passions and album. Hammer of the Witch is a breath stealing, bone splintering furnace of acrimony and virulent contagion. It is masterful and thrilling assault on the ear which if not the pinnacle of Ringworm’s career is certainly right up there. Hardcore has never sounded better in the hands of the ‘veterans’, and they show no signs of losing their devastating anger and invention either…Happy Days!

http://www.ringworm13.net/

9/10

RingMaster 19/03/2014

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Weekend Nachos – Still

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Unleashing another blaze of their particular form of hardcore seeded fury, Weekend Nachos continue their accomplished antagonistic brawling with senses and emotions through new album Still. As expected from the band, their release is rife with anger, a record driven by an intimidating confrontational spite but also one with moments of inspired invention which lights up a thoroughly satisfying encounter. Still is an enterprising slice of viciousness, not maybe the band’s finest moment but one which leaves enjoyment and rich provocation the order of the day.

The Chicago quartet of Aaron Ross, John Hoffman, Varg Campos, and Brian Laude have never relented in their annihilatory venomous assaults from early EPs and split releases through debut album Punish and Destroy, and every unleashing up to 2011 album Worthless and beyond. The Relapse Records released Still as stated is an equally intensive and ferocious incitement, one which leaves the listener breath-less and contented even if not blown away.

A sonic call opens up first track Sickened No More, its piercing lure the entry point to a squalling rage of vocals and corrosive riffing exploding into an all-out intensive riot. The track is forty three seconds of violent sonic mayhem, group vocals scowling from the song’s ‘terraces’ whilst bass and drums provide a raptorial maliciousness which buckles knees and withers defences by look alone. To be honest the song is too short, there barely being time to full offload the fullest passionate submission before it passes its belligerent baton onto No Idols and No Heroes. Addictive rhythms start things off here and fuel the following combative passage of uncompromising energy and rancor, the core of the track another vindictive assault of nasty hardcore vitality but one hinting at certainly from the guitar, a sense of exploration not always making its voice heard across the release.

Both next S.C.A.B. and Satan Sucker ravage the senses and thought mercilessly, the first with a primal sonic pestilence which switches between unrestrained ferocity and a sludgy prowl across its brief storm and its successor through the thrash kissed savagery it expels in sound, vocal, and lyrical irreverence. It is a masterful slab of brutality, the first major pinnacle of the album and a predation which consumes the senses and sparks the passions to their strongest reaction yet. Its sonic wind outlasts the hellacious maelstrom to lead fluidly into next up Late Night Walks, the track another straight-forward, eye balling tsunami of hostility. Like a few of the songs it provides what you want but also expect from a Weekend Nachos’ track which is not a bad thing but does provide the only ‘issue’ with the album, not enough surprises and adventure from their skilful but expectations feeding recognisable assault.

One of the long tracks on the release at over three minutes, Watch You Suffer is a rapacious stalking of the ears which does provoke an enterprise and invention lacking in the previous song; its besieging moments submerged into a crawling heavily weighted smothering of intensity and dramatic, intimidating sound. It is another big highlight of Still which at twice the length of most songs, provides a though provoking and emotions twisting bewitchment.

The likes of Wolves with its ferine ferocity and the blistering You’re Not Punk continue the fearsome ravaging, both thrillingly and virulently destructive whilst the unpredictable Ignore with a wonderful carnal throaty sound to the bass and the unsurprising yet grudgingly magnetic Yes Way both corrupt eagerly as they work away at existing wounds with an energetic rabidity and preying intent. All the songs contribute attention gripping presences to ensure that ears and emotions continued to be enslaved and engrossed in the ‘fun’, something the album at no point lets slip.

The barbaric Broken Mirror ejects its magnificent animosity next before letting the title track bring Still to a close with arguably the most intensive part of the release. It is a final tortuous rage of craft and energy bringing a compelling and pleasing abuse to a formidable end. The release is nothing short of what you would expect from Weekend Nachos, in quality, voraciousness, and sound. This means it maybe is not the band at its most potent to date but certainly Still short changes nobody on strong and uncompromising hardcore bruising and lyrical antagonism.  It is simply a release for fans to devour and newcomers to be noisily intrigued by.

https://www.facebook.com/weekendxnachos

8/10

RingMaster 13/11/2013

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Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Consciousness

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Eagerly on the heels of the must have From the Ashes of Nuclear Destruction album, a career spanning retrospective covering Toxic Holocaust rarities from the past decade, as well as The Yellowgoat Sessions  from the excellent solo project release from TH founder Joel Grind, the band unleash new album Chemistry of Consciousness. It is a rampaging beast of an album, a brutal tempest of punk edged thrash and rabid rock n’ roll which comes with the expected and richly familiar Toxic Holocaust stamp but also sneaks in a vein of contagion and addictive toxicity to move the release apart from previously albums and maybe more importantly the outstanding Conjure and Command yet still easily sitting within the distinctive, arguably expectations feeding course of the band. It is fair to say there is nothing ground breaking from the album for adrenaline fuelled metal but just as potently it provides one exhaustingly exhilarating and irresistible confrontation you will never tire of.

The Portland punk metallers as always are open with their inspirations, essences of the likes of Bathory, Venom, Slayer, Municipal Waste, GBH and more the additive to their own brew of creative petrol powering an explosive aggressive vehicle, in this case the raucously confronting Relapse Records released Chemistry Of Consciousness. The Kurt Ballou (Converge) mixed album has little need for niceties with opener Awaken The Serpent bitch slapping the ears with rolling rhythms, predation clad riffing, and the ever caustic tones of Grind scarring air and senses form its first breath. The addictive groove which swaggers throughout brings further temptation, showing that earlier mentioned intensive infectiousness to the uncompromising bait offered whilst the rhythmic assault of bassist Phil Zeller and drummer Nick Bellmore helps sculpt an enslavement which only Toxic Holocaust seems able to cast.

It is a senses stunning start soon taken further by the excellent Silence, the track a rapacious nagging of Grind’s guitar riffery and the chemistryofconsciousness_1500inventive rhythmic antagonism. A heavy metal flame is ever present across the song, a heat which explodes through incendiary sonic enterprise in the brief solo and the continually teasing melodic invention of the track. It is a refreshing and vibrant attack firmly backed up by the mighty Rat Eater. Opening with compelling, prowling intensity and rabidity, the guitar chugging purposely alongside similarly cagey rhythms, the track builds up a fiery and intimidating presence before throwing off any shackles to stomp rigorously through the ears with acidic sonic scythes and punishing rhythms behind squally gravelly vocals igniting further the already in place hunger.

   Salvation Is Waiting explodes with the same stance and power as its predecessor at the start, the track like many upon the album closely related in structure and intensity to others but inserting imaginative and in this case torrential outpourings of striking enterprise and riveting twists. The mix of familiar and new continues as a tsunami of unbridled rhythmic provocation marks out next up Out Of The Fire, a voracious crafting ripe within a sonic causticity which breeds greater appetite for the evolving cantankerous adventure and power that is Chemistry of Consciousness whilst the excellent Acid Fuzz simple provides another pinnacle for the release. With a fire of melodic metal and cataclysmic rhythms driving the song instantly into the passions as spirals of sonic addictiveness and Grind’s scowling delivery not ignoring his appetite filling guitar flumes turn the track magnetic, the encounter strides forth as a thrilling blaze of heavy metal sculpted thrash.

Every track is a lingering gem upon the album, very few striking up the turf of new pastures admittedly but all revitalising well-worn destruction littered fields, the likes of the carnivorously honed Deny The Truth and the punishing Mkultra continuing the persistently satisfying presence of the album whilst songs such as I Serve… and International Conspiracy almost bruise the listener into willing submission whilst feeding all thrash metal wants with that Toxic Holocaust individuality.

The album finishes with the exceptional title track, a song which certainly bids for top honours and maybe steals it with its rhythmic ravaging of the ear and savage riffery guided by the constantly combative delivery of Grind. It is a compelling brawl of a conclusion to a typical yet ridiculously satisfying Toxic Holocaust album. Chemistry of Consciousness may not quite be the album of the year in the cold light of day but without doubt it is one of the most enjoyable and arousing to cross our thrash lit paths.

http://www.toxicholocaust.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 31/10/2013

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Red Fang – Whales And Leeches

Red Fang "Whales and Leeches" press photos 2013

Back again to send heavy cascades of thumping rhythms, demanding riffs, and exhaustive rock ‘n’ roll contagion down upon the senses, Oregon’s Red Fang unleash their third dramatically compelling album upon the world. Whales And Leeches is a commanding storm of what the band does best, making intensive and rapacious heavy rock with more barbs and hooks than an angling convention, and though arguably it does not bring anything strikingly new from the Portland quartet it is undeniably pure Red Fang and a definite highlight of the year.

With the past two years or so a constant round of touring and shows, the foursome of guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles, bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam, guitarist David Sullivan, and drummer John Sherman have at the same time written a collection of songs which rampage on adrenaline and hunger and seduce with a virulently additive expanse of temptation clad grooves and incendiary riffery. Featuring guests Mike Scheidt (Yob) and Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), the Relapse Records released album outshines predecessor Murder The Mountains to stand almost side by side with Red Fang’s explosive self-titled debut full length in stature, an album which always has the passions inflamed.

Opener DOEN immediately tells you all you need to know about Whales And Leeches, a spiralling guitar tease across rabid rhythmswhalesandleeches_1500 bursting from a discord kissed introduction to lay the seeds for a groove cored flight of predacious energy and adventure. As you would expect riffs and drums command and bewitch the ear whilst the dual vocal attack is a pleasing magnet within the tempestuous assault, but there also seems an extra dose of mischief and infection to the song which subsequently permeates the whole album, a fun or devilry which has lips licked and anticipation brewing an even stronger hunger.

The following excellent Blood Like Cream is a thrilling feisty dance with a strong Queens Of The Stone Age tantalising to its breath whilst its chorus is epidemically captivating and the trigger to its recipient’s vocal and feet shuffling contribution. The song is a magnificent temptation with a punk rabidity to its urgency and enthusiastic swagger whilst its successors No Hope and Crows in Swine add their individual flavours to continue the terrific start to the release. The first of the two has a snarl and bruising quality which again offers a punk essence but this time within a Black Tusk like causticity whilst the second digs up the depths of the dirty side of the band to clad its sides in Mastodon like filth and aggressive enticement. With a wonderfully niggling presence to the serpentine grooves and sonic licks, as well as excellent unpredictable invention over a torrential drum attack, the song is one of the major pinnacles of the album especially with the Eastern mystique which seduces from within its enthralling climax.

     Voices of the Dead is next to keep the passions enslaved, the song a gentler sinew framed persuasion with great vocal harmonies providing a sweltering gentleness across  the more intimidating sounds. It continues to hold the imagination as firmly as the previous tracks before passing over the task to Behind The Light who then sends the baton into the eager hands of the Black Sabbath skirting Dawn Rising. The two tracks again leave attention and appetite fully satisfied but do miss the heights of their predecessors in many ways. There is plenty of gripping adventure to the songs but there is a lack of that killer aspect which makes them leap from the speakers into an infernally persistent and welcome long term instigator.

There is no such problem with Failure, the track an irresistible lure with broody shadows and a spellbinding menacing temptation. Slowly stalking senses and thoughts the track is a heavy prowling joy, riffs and rhythms crowding the ear into submission whilst the vocals add their demonic tension as guitars sculpt a mesmeric sonic web of invention and sultry desire. It, as many of the tracks shows the diversity and maturity within Red Fang’s songwriting before letting 1516 take the album back into a primal insatiable heavy stomp of blood curdling intensity.

This Animal ensures the album delivers another major highlight before its end, the song bringing again a QOTSA like twisting of inventive sonic diablerie and pulsating metallic predation which at times reminds of Therapy? whilst the final song and latest single from the album, Every Little Twist provides a smouldering , endearing slice of muscular rock with melodic caresses. It is a very decent conclusion though personally not a song I would imagine being the strongest pull into the album compared to much stronger infection soaked tracks upon Whales And Leeches. It undoubtedly brings the release to a fine finish and helps leave exhaustion and pleasure the overriding emotions and thoughts from one exciting album. Red Fang seemingly constantly create music you just cannot get enough of and their third album is another prime example; maybe not a classic but pretty damn close.

http://redfang.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

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Windhand – Soma

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Pic Tony Lynch

    Soma is undoubtedly not for the faint hearted; not that the new album from Windhand is vicious or openly destructive, but with a scintillating oppressive craft and an impossibly heavy intensity the six track, seventy plus minute leviathan of doom clad sludge pervasion is one of the most exhausting demanding presences heard this year. As extensively consuming as it is expansively involving, the debut release with Relapse Records from the Richmond, Virginia quintet is sheer downtuned, rock gaited drama and despite its merciless lumbering ravishing of the senses is as captivating and magnetic as it is thrilling suffocating.

To declare Soma epic is almost whimsical, the mountainous riff rugged terrain going beyond that description to thrust the senses and imagination into an unventilated stuffy swamp of corrosively persuasive intensive sonic fog. The five piece of vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, guitarists Asechiah Bogdan and Garrett Morris, bassist Parker Chandler, and drummer Ryan Wolfe pregnate the senses immediately with an antagonistic slowly pervading riff from the first second of opener Orchard. The lone intrusion is soon joined by further grizzled guitar and barbed rhythms guided by the same intent, the forestry of sonic scenery and immersive atmosphere soon a tight restrictive smog around the ear and thoughts. The almost mystical haunting tones of Cottrell offers light, an escape from the intense ambience though it is a deceptive lure leading the listener into a maze of acidic melodies and guitar enterprise. Evocative and controlling the track is a magnetic call on the passions, a seemingly instinctive response in return embracing its fearsome muscular offering.

The following Woodbine soon engages a melodic and harmonic mist within its persuasive occultist like overwhelming breath, a GD30OB2-N.cdrpsychedelic glow shimmering off of the tar thick energy infiltrating every pore and thought.  Like its predecessor the song seems to go on and on in height and depth, the Sabbath inspired riff tanked absorption of the imagination an ever widening pull through an air sucking, senses flooding tide of fuzz lined malevolence. Its successor Feral Bones is much the same but with an even more predacious labouring rabidity which chews and swallows thoughts and emotions into its terrifying dark underbelly of again drone driven animosity, though once more the vocals of Cottrell offer a line of comfort even if soaked in sinister intrigue.

From distinctly different songs but ones with a mutual surface intent and feel, Evergreen steps forward next to provide ‘an eye of the storm’ moment. Predominantly acoustic guitar walking alongside wonderful vocals and harmonies in a tender ambience, the song is a folk autumn breeze but one which is no stranger to the shadows and darkened air which skirt its beauty from first to last evocative note and syllable.

Cassock soon preys on the calm with a terrific sonically snarling temptation evolving into a leg staggering thunderstorm of electrified sonic scythes and mountainous cascading beats prowled from within by sinew heavy, riveting ferocious riffs. Like being chewed alive by a tsunami of ravenous intensive jaws whilst fallen angels serenade the wounds, the track is a magnetic triumph which impales the passions upon its rhythmic shards and sonic spires.

The closing Boleskine is a thirty minute colossal journey all on its own within the album. An acoustic start deceptively draws in the senses and mind before once fully engaged they succumb to a blood chilling doom soundscape of severe and stressful provocation entwined with seducing melodic mastery and the ever lingering almost ghostly vocal presence of Cottrell. Ever evolving with drone spawned intensity and folk sparked elegance repeating their persuasions amidst ever changing and senses suffering imagination, the track is a long winding fall through aural purgatory and thoroughly absorbing and thrilling, if debatably over long by the time it leaves its Siberian like winter on the ear.

Soma is simply an outstanding confrontation which needs and offers numerous excursions through its edacious depths to explore all of its startling textures and depths. Windhand has created a suffering which may in time go down as an important doom metal release; certainly in the now it will feature on the end of year passions of so many.

https://www.facebook.com/WindhandVA

8.5/10

RingMaster 16/09/2013

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Primitive Man – Scorn

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As psychologically damaging as it is compellingly addictive, Scorn the debut album from US blackened doomsters Primitive Man, is a rewardingly intensive examination of the senses that has thoughts and emotions cowering before its malevolent rage. Seven tracks of intrusive, venomous sonic consumption, the release is in no way an easy listen, its uncomfortable intent and presence devastating in the extreme and corruptive in it ‘lighter’ moments, but throughout there is a lure and niggle which just will not let go of captivation and excitement.

Hailing from Colorado, Primitive Man was formed in February of 2012 by Ethan Lee McCarthy, Jonathan Campos, and Bennet Kennedy (current and former members of Withered, Clinging To The Trees of A Forest Fire, Death of Self and Reproacher). Creating an invasive sound bred one suspects from the darkest malevolent corners of the psyche, the band opened up awareness with the initial release of the album last year and then a self-released demo, but it is now with its full release via Relapse Records that Scorn will surely expose the strongest hidden fears of the world to torment and soundtrack. The founding trio (Kennedy having since having left the band after the album recording and replaced by drummer Isidro Soto) take no shortcuts to the inner most depths of mind and senses, each track a crippling but rewarding expulsion of peace and safety which breeds the most potent post-apocalyptic, post sanity expanses of noise and atmospheres.

The title track wraps the ear in a sonic rub of sinister and persistent heat before collapsing into a lumbering intensive prowl of doom scorn_1500drenched black metal seeded incivility. Sculpted from a thick sludge dripping web of roaming inciting rhythms and corrosive guitar enterprise, the track is as caustic as industrial lime upon the senses and as provocative as the blackest claustrophobic night towards thoughts and emotions. Menace soaks each labouring predacious note whilst the sonic croon of the track flays air and flesh with each insidious second.

The long devastating start is followed by Rags, a track which toys with the mental debris reaped by its predecessor with another leaden crawl of slow voracious riffing and rhythmic caging immersed in a weight of intensity which alone suffocates the senses. The bass finds a ruinous tone to its growl to add to the barbarous snarl within the infernal smothering but all along there is again a sonic temptress to the sound and niggling enticement which coaxes the heart of the burdensome assault and leaves passions hungry for more.

I Can’t Forget opens up yet another disturbing soundscape to be explored, its blood curdling ambience as cinematic in its touch as it is stifling and best described as the voice of rooms within Hostel that were too vicious and carnal to go near. The track is fuel to the imagination and in its own distinct chilling toxic way as ravenous on the psyche as the previous tracks and its successor Antietam, nine minutes of excruciating vehemence cast through a captivating mesh of enticing melodically blessed sonic temptation and thunderous drums coaxed by the continually impressive bass growl and the guttural vocal severity, which throughout the album brutally and impressively narrates the hellacious maelstrom honed heart of the release. Unpredictable and wholly riveting as it twists from and in to itself, the track is a fearsome venture which alone makes the album a must hear proposition though not one for many to be undertaken alone.

Undeniably the best track on the album it is surpassed in favourite stakes by Black Smoke, a piece that reflects the listener’s  gasping for breath up to this point whilst sending additional sadistic hauntings through the ear via evil bred whispered voices and their reserved yet bedlamic persistence. Like I Can’t Forget the track opens up a wealth of thoughts and imaginary scenarios to almost mesmerise its recipient into its clutches before passing them on and into the jaws of Stretched Thin. A blur of grind, hardcore, and thrash like tendencies crafted into a swarm like wrap of sonic distrust and metallic barbarity, the track is a scintillating blizzard of sonic bait and ravenous metallic scalding leaving the senses alive yet  severely damaged.

Closing with Astral Sleep and its impossibly slow heavy riffs and intense plodding rhythmic feet, Scorn is a scathing pungent delight which thrills and pleases just as evenly as it hurts and punishes. Primitive Man will not find a home in the hearts of melody driven fans for sure but within extreme metal they and their album are one richly satisfying grievous encounter.

www.primitivemandoom.com

8/10

RingMaster 20/08/2013

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Nothing – Dig

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    Recently signed to Relapse Records, Philadelphia-based Nothing release new single Dig to celebrate the link up with the label who will release the band’s debut album Guilty Of Everything in 2014, as well as their current tour with Whirr. Combining a mesmeric and stirring mix of shoegaze, metal, and progressive invention, the single is an imagination capturing temptress walking the same seduction as found from Deftones and Palms but with a unique potently evocative sonic elegance of its own.

Nothing was formed in 2011 by Domenic Palermo, a musician who previously brought us hardcore/punk act Horror Show. His former band was held at stop when Palermo was imprisoned for a stabbing which saw him away for two years. Once released, he took time away from music before releasing a demo called Poshlost under the Nothing name. Then followed a union with Brandon Setta, who brought his craft for creating lush and rich evocative soundscapes to the intent and vision of Palermo. A 300 ltd edition 12” EP called Suns And Lovers followed on the Japanese boutique label Big Love Records, with the band donating its share of the proceeds to the label for a Tsunami Relief Charity. The release was then followed by a five track EP Downward Years To Come in November of last year which again caught the imagination of a great many.

Recorded with Jeff Zeigler at Uniform Recordings the single is a scintillating hook not only to itself but the forthcoming album, an inspiring playmate for thoughts and visions to immerse and wrap themselves within. Dig opens with a crisp but gentle blaze of guitar and resonating ambience which only needs the entrance of the outstanding vocals to secure total attention and plant a seed which brews to ardour by the song’s end. It is impossible not to think of Deftones during the track but it is doing the song an injustice such its individual fascination and melodic charisma burning magnetically from within the caustic yet equally alluring steely wrap. Vocally thoughts also drift to House Of Love whilst the song itself explores a skilfully fermented sunset framed by the outstanding rhythmic cage and spellbinding guitar guile and craft.

Dig is a must check out release though it should come with a warning as there is no doubt it will be the instigator of strong unrest as the wait for Guilty Of Everything and its joys seemingly promised by the single bears down on patience.

http://www.bandofnothing.com/

9/10

RingMaster 20/08/2013

 

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Exhumed – Necrocracy

1st Keeper

It seems almost odd to say that a release from a band which has been creating over two decades worth of impacting high grade destructive metal has now found maturity in sound but that is the notable thing about the album Necrocracy. With no slight on anything which came before from them, San Jose band Exhumed has with their new release found a restrained or patient stance to their mix of death metal and grindcore, a maturity. The release still storms the barricades and takes the senses on a malevolent ride of helter-skelter intensity and lethally carnivorous invention but there is a thoughtful timing to its premeditated prowl and ravenous consumption which has arguably not been there before.

Following the acclaimed All Guts, No Glory album of 2011, the Relapse Records released Necrocracy sees the appearance of another change in line-up in the band, Exhumed founder and vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey joined by bassist/vocalist Rob Babcock, drummer Michael Hamilton, and returning band member guitarist /vocalist Bud Burke, who originally played bass with the band from 1999 to 2003. The new collective of talent seems to have inspired a shift in the attack of the band, melodic weaves and passionate imaginative fires offering potent persuasion alongside the ever savage grinding touch and enveloping sonic pestilence Exhumed are renowned for. It is not a dramatic twist or evolution in the sound but one with strength to inspire a new breath of hunger for the band.

Coins Upon The Eyes instantly rips out the jugular, riffs and rhythms combining as they drop upon the senses from a heady height necrocracy_1500before rampaging with primal toxicity and torrential maliciousness. As the guitars churn up and score flesh the bass of Babcock finds a throaty growl and presence carrying one of the best and most intimidating voices heard this year whilst the vocals of Harvey, perfectly assisted by other members, casts an intrusive caustic web over it all to elevate the immediate call and potency of the track further. It is the guitars and their melodic flames though which secure the complete submission of the passions, their craft and fiery imagination a thrilling temper and compliment to the aligned sadistic sounds.

The following brawling The Shape Of Deaths To Come snarls and claws at the ear first, persistent slashes of riffs and the perpetually suffocating bass narrative offering the darkest oppressive shadow, nailed into place by the excellent rhythmic thrashing delivered by Hamilton. As its predecessor the song flourishes to greater depths with the sonic majesty and inventive acidity of the guitars though still the heavy corrosive nature of the sound and track leaves the heart ablaze the strongest.

It is an impressive start which already leaves many other similar genre based releases floundering, something the title track with its riveting acrimonious rhythmic start reinforces. Before the track explodes the impressiveness of the individuals within Exhumed is already a towering persuasion, from guitars to bass, drums to vocals, everything and everyone is at a height debatably missing before in the band. This could be their greatest line-up and certainly as the song unleashes its merciless rabidity and mordant charms, there is no reason to go back on that suggestion. Again insatiable in intent and devouring hunger, the track rises in intensity and violent breath along its sonic shaft, the increase leading to an expulsion of venom evolving into a maze of sonic captivation and acrid energy, the song a furnace of satisfaction by its end.

Through the raptorial ferociousness of Dysmorphic and the break neck vitriolic fury of Sickened the release continues to pleasingly scar ear and senses with biting expertise whilst the deliciously intriguing (So Passes) The Glory Of Death with its flowing creative evolution, and its successor the magnetically vehement Ravening explore darker dangerous corners of sound and emotions within again blistering ferocity.

That ferociousness is taken to its loftiest plateau with Carrion Call, the track the mightiest predatory despoiler on the album. Unrelenting in its brutal voracity and just as ironhearted in its exhausting intensity, the track is an immense slab of barbarous glory. The same can be declared about final track The Rotting, the confrontation an uncompromising scourge hell-bent on annihilation though it is not adverse to deceptive temptation through the excellent heated melodic solo.

Necrocracy is an excellent release with only one issue holding it back from classic status, though probably a relatively big one for some.  Apart from a couple of songs the album lacks the lure which makes it memorable and persistent away from its presence, the hooks to recall and replay at any time without aural assistance. It is surprising such the impact in its company but something just holding it back. Exhumed has created a thrilling encounter nevertheless, one of their finest invitations to date which should be greedily accepted.

https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial

8/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Revocation – Self Titled

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Set in a cauldron of scalding destructive riffing, stinging rhythmic confrontation, and broiling intensity which is bred from a technical craft which steals the breath from thoughts and lungs, the new self-titled album from US metallers Revocation is a colossal tempest of invention and sonic vitriol. Confirming the suggestions provided on the Teratogenesis EP of last year, the album takes things further to stand forcibly as not only the best work the Boston quartet has sculpted but one of the pinnacles of this year.

The fourth album from the band follows and builds on the success of previous 2011 album Chaos Of Forms reinforcing the line-up of David Davidson (guitars / vocals), Dan Gargiulo (guitars / vocals), Phil Dubois (drums), and Brett Bamberger (bass / vocals) who is making his recording debut since joining last year, as one of the most potent and invigorating metal bands around. The Relapse Records released album again sees the band stretch and twist their mix of death, thrash, and technical metal into something distinct and captivating but with a further evolution of imagination and inventive craft and hunger. The manipulative charms and potency of their sound is also elevated into richer devious toxicity making the release an unpredictable, scintillating, and enthralling scavenger of emotions and passions.

As the distinctly threatening avenues of The Hive open up their shadows to welcome the listener, thoughts and senses are fearing the GD30OB2-N.cdrworst impending danger, and as the song erupts into a ferocious torrent of tight waspishly honed grooves and rampaging rhythms all assumptions are wonderfully confirmed, the track immediately a tempest of psychotic violent magnificence ridden by the guttural charms and malevolence of the vocals. The at times three pronged vocal attack is a tasty additional violation especially when caged within the staggering rhythmic tsunami of Dubois. It is a stunning start which just as you think you have its reins in check launches into a progressively hinted fire of sonic sorcery, the guitars of Davidson and Gargiulo mesmeric and lethal simultaneously.

The following Scattering The Flock has a swagger and underlying heavy groove as rapacious as the flesh peeling aggressive sounds surrounding it. There again is a lack of mercy in the undiluted expanse of ideas unveiled and thrust violently ross the senses, the shifts harsh and like battering rams at times but so superbly crafted they feel seamless and a natural progression of the riveting confrontation.  The band almost borders on fusing too much together but where others would fall in to chaos, in their hands it is a controlled and precise piece of composition, a perfectly sculpted sonic antagonism of cutting beauty.

The excellent start is matched by the equally impressive Archfield and then elevated by the exceptional Numbing Agents, the first launching from an enticing stroll of drum beckoning into a sonically hued emotive fire and the second breeding a slight hardcore nastiness to its carnivorous bite with acidic grooves and barbed hooks lying in wait for the passions within another tempestuous squall of breath-taking dexterity and senses slaughtering enterprise. With a sense of Retox to its individual declaration upon the album, the track is an absorbing pinnacle but soon challenged and given a run for its money by the predacious and magnetically charged Fracked. A wolf in a technically woven deceptive cloak of warm grandeur, the song clasps its jaws around the senses from its opening seconds, its throat snarling and grip tightening whilst the guitars paint a melodic narrative of sonic colour which feels welcoming but is secretly also corroding the defences. It is a glorious temptation which persuades with ease that its spite is a good thing, no arguments here.

     The Gift You Gave is a deeply pleasing if less dramatic and imposing triumph as its predecessor but sets up the next mountainous peak on the album Invidious and its lethal captivation. As the ever impressive drums of Dubois creates a tower of punching rhythms insistently aided by the dark bass conjuring of Bamberger alongside flames of guitar, they are interrupted by a dance of banjo which teases and surprises before being consumed by the full force of sound and vocals delivering what can be best described as Cajun death metal. Ok that is a little misleading but such the call of the southern twang and irrepressible mischief of the track it is hard to use another suitable descript. A sublime storm of inventive metal, the song stands at the peak of the album and in many ways leaves the remaining tracks to put away the chairs and switch out the lights.

The last trio of the technically mesmerising instrumental Spastic with its bedlamic mystique, the voraciously expressive Entombed By Wealth, and the emotionally esurient A Visitation are certainly not making up the numbers though, each in their distinct ways startling sonic and melodic narratives upon insatiable rhythmic canvasses and tenaciously rigorous intensity.  Revocation has set themselves up on one of the top tables of metal with their fourth album and provided one of the year’s top contenders. Quite brilliant is the only thing left to say.

https://www.facebook.com/Revocation

10/10

RingMaster 05/08/2013

 

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True Widow – Circumambulation

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One of the strongly anticipated albums to be unveiled this year, Circumambulation the new release from US band True Widow, is just a masterful alchemy of shadows and light filtered through equally enveloping sounds. Towering in intensity, seductive in beauty, and consuming in atmospheric toxicity, the eight track album leaves the listener exhausted, invigorated, and submerged in its and their own emotional depths for a full aural and mental exercise.

The third album from the band has a sound which defies labelling, though True Widow themselves term it stonedaze. The trio merge a stirring mix of drone, post-rock, and shoegaze but continue to add further unique additives as their creativity evolves. The new release breeds further the essences of the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Baroness, and Earth into their own distinct flavour but into the brew also incorporates the pop warmth of a House Of Love and delicious distortions of a Sonic Youth. It is an irresistible alchemy that takes the listener on a journey musically and emotionally, a mesmeric and at times gnarly trip that explores the textures and extremes of thoughts and experiences.

The Relapse Records release in many ways follows on in the same vein of previous albums True Widow (2008) and As High As circumambulation_1400The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth (2011), but there is also a sense that the trio from Dallas is refining their imagination from deeper depths within their rich invention. As soon as opening track Creeper emergences from a destructive ambience with a wiry guitar groove twisting around the ear soon joined by the plodding thick bass call and crisp rhythms, the drift into undiscovered sinister realms is an evolving fresh encounter. The track is a slow stalking evocation teasing and intimidating around that almost fifties like groove call whilst the vocals of guitarist Dan Philips and aside him bassist Nicole Estill, bring a hue and warmth to the melodic persuasion that the senses just revel in. As the drums of Timothy Starks drive and cage the portentous breath of the guitar alongside the tenebrific air of the song wrapped in sultry heat and devouring ominousness, the track lies as a riveting contagion that works on every pore, sense, and thought.

The following S:H:S has a tall order to live up to the might of its predecessor but as the distressed ambience slowly swarms around scuzz lined guitar teasing and rhythmic evocation the band again has its recipient falling into a rich and thick weave of tempered aural fire. It is not as dramatic as the first song but walks the same plateau of temptation and potency as it creatively explores its sonic narrative on the way towards the best track on the album.

From its first sizzle of guitar beckoning there is a sweltering heat to Four Teeth. The song accosts the senses whilst simultaneously guiding them into a rapture which is truly ignited when the wonderful tones of Estill take the vocal lead and kiss the ear with harmonic beauty against the resonating flumes of sonic vapour pouring from every guitar note. It is a scintillating steamy embrace with roughened skin to its molten touch that simply leaves you lost in a pop inspired stifling haze. Another song which impacts on every facet of the emotions and body, it is a perfect slice of finely crafted inspirational rock pop brilliance.

As the imposing Numb Hand with its slowly burning grunge tinged labour and the equalling lumbering but darker brooding Trollstigen declare their testing intent and hypnotic stances, the album just sinks deeper and firmer into the passions, the second of the pair a predacious crawl into the psyche with the vocals of Estill again a merciless temptress. It uses repetition and doom spawned ambience as ripe sonic fruit within its bait and towers as another caliginous pinnacle on Circumambulation.

From the more than decent instrumental I:M:O, the release closes with the sweltering climes of firstly HW:R, a track coasting through southern rock heat with a tropical surf rock coaxing and melodic elegance, and finally the consuming and dense Lungr. The song slips into the darkest corners of mind and heart but lights the way with a beacon of melodic majesty and reverberating sonic imagination that leaves the listener immersed in enthrallment.

Circumambulation is sensational and though it arguably lacks the hunger to go to the very darkest places it is one of the most rewarding and thrilling albums to enwomb the senses this year.

http://www.truewidow.com/

9/10

RingMaster 23/07/2013

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