Deserted Fear – Kingdom of Worms

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An unrelenting storm of death metal embracing the genre’s varied grounding seeds and a more modern creative voracity, the second album from German metallers Deserted Fear is an uncompromising and brutal onslaught. Kingdom Of Worms is also a release which manages to feed expectations and throw curveballs at them simultaneously. It is a storming onslaught, never taking time out to rest on its ferocious laurels and give the listener any real respite from its hostility. A game changer or unique challenge for death metal the album is not, but as an attention grabbing confrontation and another big step in the rise of the band, Kingdom Of Worms is a rigorous success.

Hailing from Eisenberg, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Manuel Glatter, guitarist/bassist Fabian Hildebrandt, and drummer Simon Mengs was soon drawing local attention from the emergence of Deserted Fear in 2008. It was debut album My Empire in 2012, following an earlier demo, which suddenly triggered keener and broader spotlight upon the band. Soon the European metal scene was taking eager notice of them, even more so as they subsequently made acclaimed appearances at festivals such as Summer Breeze, Party San Open Air, and Extremefest. Now Deserted Fear has unleashed the next instalment of their emergence, and it is easy to suspect that the Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath) mastered release will stir up another torrent of potent praise and concentration on the band.

The climactic, epically toned Intro opening up the album is nothing new in extreme metal nowadays but it has to be said that even though you almost expect this kind of beginning to an album, it cannot defuse the portentous and potent lure of the piece before it leads straight into the mighty rhythmic paws and sonic ravishing of Forging Delusions. It is an instant brute of a song with nostrils of imposing intensity flaring and sinew sculpted addictive grooves inescapably binding the imagination and passions. It is hard to get enough of the fiery proposition the song offers initially, and even as its relative restraint slips to open up a maelstrom of hostile rabidity, there is still that increasingly compelling groove driven bait insatiably seducing. With a heavyweight thrust of thrash ferocity aiding the all-consuming attack, the track is a storming start to the album.

The title track comes next and it too is swiftly consuming ears and appetite in tightly gripping grooves as the feet and arms of Mengs uncage hellacious energy and skills. As its predecessor, it too is unrelenting in its savagery and tenacious DF_Kingdom of worms_COVER_blackback_wwwenterprise, its touch raw and caustic yet equally coaxing and contagious as guitars weave a melodic tapestry. The scintillating song is a cauldron of craft from each of the band individually and in a united animosity of sound and rhythmic barbarism, whilst vocally Glatter growls with a depth and ferociousness that you feel for the lining of throat and gut.

The pair of Call Me Your God and Wrath On Your Wound, unveil their own spiteful landscapes of sonic and rhythmic enmity next, the first an intensive avalanche of bitter riffs and destructive beats scarred by the increasingly corrosive tones of Glatter, whilst the second is a fully fledged rage with malice dripping from teeth clenched vocals and spiralling grooving which line the bruising thrust of the transfixing song. Again Menghs proves himself to be an attention grabbing beater of skins whilst both Glatter and Hildebrandt spin a creative web which is as intrusive as it is enthralling.

The melodic breath and elegance of Torn By Hatred comes next, a short instrumental which does provide the one moment of mercy and warm colouring in the album, before The Agony pillages the senses with its blistering stride of riffs and sonic endeavour. It is a bestial proposition in voice and breath, but with the vocals finding their own animalistic growl and grooves another heavy dose of toxic infectiousness, it is an encounter which is happy to rearm established genre ideation with the band’s own flaming resourcefulness. Its intensive suasion is followed by the lean swagger and predacious stalking of With Might And Main. The track almost saunters as it batters and impedes on the senses, providing another delicious and almost anthemic provocation to engage in.

The slower entrance of Shattering The Soil makes for a different slant to the release though it is soon submerged in another unbridled fury of sound and intent before Mortal Reign parades its rhythmic and caustic rancor with vicious relish and skilled endeavour. Neither track lives up to what came before though each definitely only adds to the pleasure reaped from the album. The pair seems to be revisiting some of the success of earlier tracks in some ways and confirm that there is a surface similarity across some songs which defuses some of the strength of Kingdom of Worms. It is not an issue when the album is given proper and deeper attention, the diversity between songs soon discovered, and such the quality of the songs it is ultimately not as problematic as it might have been anyway.

The release is brought to a close by Last Of A Fading Kind, another engrossing and richly pleasing incitement but as the two previous tracks, it does not quite live up to certainly the stunning first half of the album. It is still impossible to dismiss and escape its masterful textures and tempting though as it brings a potent conclusion to Kingdom of Worms though.

Deserted Fear epitomises all that is compelling about death metal whilst infusing it with their own emerging brand of startling invention. New album Kingdom of Worms is not going to change the face of extreme metal but it does give it another intensively flavoursome savaging to devour.

Kingdom of Worms is available via FDA Rekotz from October 24th and at http://www.desertedfear.de/index.php/shop

http://www.desertedfear.de

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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Arcturon – Expect Us

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Released to mark their ten year anniversary, the Expect Us EP from Swiss melodic death metallers Arcturon, makes a tasty and intriguing proposition marking the beginning of a new decade for the band and twist to their enticing sound. Seemingly more adventurous than ever and certainly more bold in the use of additional flavours and styles, it is maybe not a release to blow anyone away yet its lure makes a compelling invitation to keep revisiting the encounter, a potency which should not be underestimated. More successful in some moments than others, but never leaving dissatisfaction lording over proceedings, the EP is a fascinating and ultimately highly enjoyable adventure.

It was around ten years ago that two fourteen year olds, guitarist Florian Moritz and drummer Samuel Fischer, gave creative birth to Arcturon. Honing their sound over time, the band’s first release, the Breaking Walls Demo in 2007, sparked increasing attention for their presence leading to support spots alongside the likes of Six Feet Under, Nile, Finntroll and Belphegor. Three years later came the extremely well-received debut album The Eight Thorns Conflict, with its acclaimed successor An Old Storm Brewing savaging ears in 2013. Sandwiching a successful Europe tour with Rotting Christ and Omnium Gatherum, both releases put the band into a more intensive spotlight which Expect Us does nothing to defuse. Released through Supreme Chaos Records, the Johan Örnborg (Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Amon Amarth) produced EP offers a new diversity and imagination than arguably previous Arcturon encounters. It might be more intriguing than rigorously successful in its imagination, but Expect Us unveils a rather potent and captivating suggestion of where the Basel quartet’s sound is evolving to.

The release opens with My Treasure, an instantly gripping and fiery proposition which from a lone rub of guitar, explodes into a turbulent stroll of abrasing riffs and punchy rhythms cored by a tight intrusive groove. Within seconds Arcturon - Expect Us - Artworkimagination and appetite is alight, greedy for the intimidating expansion of the song. The raw hoarse vocals of Aljosha Gasser venomously abrase the senses as a small respite to the tempest unfolds, but it is a reining in soon spearing by bulging beats from Fischer and a dangling web of temptation cast by Moritz, whilst the bass of Sam Fischer (yes two members with the same name) provides a shadowed prowl to the song’s continually twisting landscape. Sonic enterprise and melodic flames also scorch the multi-flavoured interpretation of melodic death metal pouring from the band’s creativity, the incendiary persuasion of the track playing like a mix of Bloodsimple, Dominanz, and Scar Symmetry.

The outstanding start is backed up by the EP’s title track. Raging from its first breath, keys and guitars swarm the senses with toxic melodies as rhythms and riffs sculpt imposing scenery to wall in the magnetic endeavour. As its predecessor, the song grows and expands into a threat of malevolent expression and sonic radiance though it lacks the biting wind and energy of the opener. Instead it breeds an emotive atmosphere which tempers and evocatively colours the robust furnace of intent and sound beneath it, the song captivating and impressing if not igniting the same strength of passions as the first.

A Restless Soul swiftly asserts its compelling hold on ears and thoughts next, an opening melodic caress and embrace of clean vocals unexpected and pleasing freshness, though it is soon turned by a spiteful and malicious intensity, Gasser reaching to his guts to roar with caustic antagonism. Surprises and unpredictability stay to the fore though as the clean vocal delivery entwines with the harsh tones whilst a carnival-esque like drama and sinister seduction flirts with and infiltrates the brewing tempest of the song. It is a tantalising treat of a track, a bruising and tender merger of creative hues which maybe does not go as far into the unknown and explore bold imagination as it could, but definitely leaves anticipation for the band’s exploits ahead excited.

The release is closed by Rowan, another resourceful and radiantly provocative entrance which needs little nudging to turn to its shadows and predacious side. The vocals stalk as keys mesmerise, but it is the rugged terrain of raw riffs and thumping beats which bind the emotions, though their presence again is never clear cut as haunting melodies and sonic expression veins their hostility. A song which at times is glorious and in others a more unsure persuasion, it still provides further food for thought and interest for the band’s new exploration in sound to make a potent close to Expect Us.

Already used to praise and keen attention, Arcturon with their EP as potent evidence, appear to be moving towards a fascinating new chapter in their sound which Expect Us suggests is going to be something very worthy of close attention.

The Expect Us EP is available via Supreme Chaos Records from 24th October.

www.arcturon.ch

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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Slug Comparison – Self Titled

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Though latecomers to the fascinating and melodic imagination of Canadian rock band Fen, coming in with the release of their fifth album Of Losing Interest two years ago, the band has been a regular contributor to our weekly soundtrack since. So it was with intrigue and keen appetite that we dived into the self-titled album from Slug Comparison. The band is the solo project of Fen vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison, and the album a two year in the making embrace of melodic and emotive beauty. It is a release which further explores the majestic and inventive soundscapes which mark out his day job as one of the more compelling propositions around today, but equally ventures into new avenues of enterprise and creative intimacy. As Fen’s last album, it is a grower which from an initial impressive persuasion evolves into something which simply engulfs the imagination and emotions, though dare we say with even stronger, riveting potency. It is a stunning proposition and one of the major moments of the year.

The Vancouver musician has called on the likes of Mike Young from The Devin Townsend Band and Randall Stoll from Congenital Fixation to provide bass and drums respectively to tracks within the Mike Southworth produced album. Ultimately though it is a solo release blossomed from the ingenuity and craft of Harrison, and takes little time to enthral ears and thoughts. Opener Bringer of Doom instantly sparks attention as a guitar chips away at ears to intriguingly bring the song into view, a brewing ambience of emotive keys soon moving in with the instantly potent voice of Harrison. The song emerges and grows with every second and breath passed, bass and guitars adding shadowed and melodic colour to the thickening atmosphere of keys. There are no avoiding thoughts of Fen but also there are essences of Poets Of The Fall and Johnny Wore Black making suggestions as the track caresses and immerses the imagination, its reflective elegance over rugged scenery only increasing the magnetic presence of the song.

It is an impacting start swiftly matched by You’ve Seen Me, a track which from the off smoulders and resonates with radiant charm and resourcefulness, though it is the bewitching spread of variety to Harrison’s vocals which steals the Front Coverhonours. The song sways and soars with passion and sultry temptation, as well as a seemingly personal emotion which only accentuates its charm and autumn like warmth, before the hotter climes of Summer ’99 take over. Again there is an intimate air to the song which brings richer provocative hues to the melodic flames which ignite its already inventive canvas. Unpredictable yet controlled in its invention, the track simmers and boils from start to finish, switching and merging both heats for an increasingly tenacious encounter.

It has been a gripping and thrilling passage of songs to this point but everything kicks up a gear from hereon in. Short of Hell is next and as soon as the first pulsating beat of skin and electro resonance permeates bone and psyche, there is no escaping its extraordinary lure. Harrison is soon offering his darker tones to the bait, his voice as ever excelling in the clarity given. The track soon relaxes into a restrained stroll yet still there is a sinister and dark element to its presence which in turn incites the return of that opening temptation. As if it is exploring inner demons, the song pours out angst and menace throughout its sensational drama, setting a major pinnacle of the album which is right away emulated by the just as haunted and incendiary Evil Walks. The heaviest track on the release, and one again with an appetite to infest the senses with resonating intimidation, it expands its narrative and presence through contagious vocal and sonic hooks whilst the darker side of its temperament increases its snarl and imposing persistence. The track is glorious keeping the release at the highest peak, though it is too short for personal tastes for as soon as the teeth are really into its might it moves over for Long Live the Night.

     Featuring Tatyana Dobrowolski from Tatter’s and Ravens, the eight minute song is a folk bred anti-war flight of emotion and provocative textures, lyrically and melodically. It is a mesmeric piece which incites and transfixes with raw expression, Harrison’s songwriting explored with melodic poetry and sonic luminance for a song which you can argue would make far more impacting persuasion than any propaganda. Managing to make every second of its long length a vital and vivacious ingredient to its potent narrative, the song’s dramatic beauty is echoed In the Dark with Divinity. The song soothes the senses with its warm crystalline light and flirts with thoughts through elevated strikes of passion and rhythmic tempting, to again leave a lingering glow.

The final two songs on the album stretch the emotional and creative depths of the album again. Something to Bear veined by a classical guitar enticing, is a melodic croon with sinew carrying rhythms and throaty bass shadows all wrapped in a reflection of again mesmeric keys. With Harrison embracing the senses and thoughts through every aspect of the song, it is a scintillating provocative waltz. The final song Common Room also gently cradles ears and imagination, its elegant melodies and personal reflection a last enchanting kiss.

It was easy to expect big things from Slug Comparison, band and album because of Fen but even those hopes were left weak by the brilliance of Harrison’s solo album.

Slug Comparison is available now on iTunes, CDBaby, and at https://slugcomparison.bandcamp.com/

Doug Harrison is donating half of all proceeds raised by the Slug Comparison album to War Child (www.warchild.org)

http://www.slugcomparison.com

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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Bloodlust wrappings and carnal tempting: talking Cannibal Corpse with bassist Alex Webster

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The unleashing of a new Cannibal Corpse savaging is always a cause for eager investigation and so the recent release of thirteen studio album A Skeletal Domain was met with enthusiastic intrigue. No matter your taste for their visceral sounds, the US death metallers has been an undeniable driving inspiration and boundary beater within the genre which the new release reaffirms with raw potency. Leaping at the chance to get a glimpse into the making and background to the album, we took some of the spare time of bassist Alex Webster as the band continue on their successful European tour, to talk album, new producer, zombie video, and much more…

Hi Alex and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

With latest album A Skeletal Domain earning predominantly and deserved acclaim from fans, the metal underground, and beyond since its recent release, did you have any specific hopes and expectations for its unleashing, other than hoping it is liked of course?

Not really. I mean, we feel the same way about all of the albums when we put them out I think. A new album represents the best music we could make at that point in time. I guess since we had a different producer this time we were interested to see what people would think of that, but really our expectations were about the same as always.

Your thirteenth studio album, how were emotions around the unveiling of a new release after two and a half decades laying waste to metal and ears?

Like I said, about the same as always. We are very proud of the new album and hope that our fans will like it.

We felt there was of course the recognisable Cannibal Corpse sound to the album but also fresh exploratory twists to its voracious enterprise and vehemence fuelled depths. How does its sound and presence differ from say its predecessor Torture for you there on the inside?

I think the biggest difference is probably in the production, which was handled by Mark Lewis this time around, rather than Erik Rutan. Both are great producers but each has a different way of approaching recording.

I think the album is also a bit different when it comes to song writing. It just sounds a bit different. There are a few songs on this album that (in my opinion) sound quite unusual for us. It’s still death metal, just a bit different.

Was there any deliberate direction and ideation taken in regards to its sound and intent or was it more an organic evolution emerging as A Skeletal Domain emerged?CannibalCorpse-ASkeletalDomain

We just wrote the song individually and gradually the character of the album developed. We didn’t really have a plan; we just tried to write the best music we could.

After so many releases and years is it easier to sculpt something original to the band or more difficult, with as we find in music in general ideas and sounds going in cycles as in fashion?

We definitely try not to repeat ourselves, but of course it happens anyway. But we do make a deliberate effort to make each song sound unique and fresh.

As you mentioned you recorded the album with Mark Lewis this time around after working with Erik Rutan for the previous trio of albums. What was the reason for the move and why specifically did you go with Mark?

We had gotten to know Mark pretty well since he lives in Florida like we do, and we thought he was a cool guy- so his personality was part of it. We also really liked the work he had done with bands like Six Feet Under, Deicide, and Devildriver. His skills, personality, and convenient location of his studio made him a perfect choice.

What has he particularly brought to A Skeletal Domain which is different to its predecessors and works most potently with your new ideas?

It’s hard to explain so it’s better for the reader to listen and compare. He just has a somewhat different approach to recording than our previous producers, and I think you can hear it right away.

Was a change of producer an early intent as songs and the album began coming together?

Yes, we decided at least half a year before the recording date that we would work with Mark this time.

How did the band approach the studio this time around and was it pretty much as you went into the recording of previous albums?

It was different, since it was a different producer and studio. We were well prepared, as we always try to be, but things did go a bit differently once we started. Mark is a great engineer and editor, and things went very smoothly during the recording. We had a great time and we’ll likely work with him again.

cannibal-corpse_photo02The album is sonically and lyrically as visceral as ever, as expected from a Cannibal Corpse provocation, what breeds the first seeds of songs more often than not?

The music comes first, then the lyrics. The songs are usually written individually at home by each song writer, and then once the song is finished or almost finished, the band will learn their parts and play the song together to see how it sounds. For each writer, the songs probably start out with a main riff and develop from there.

On this album Rob wrote music for 2 and 1/2 songs, I wrote 4, Pat wrote 5, and Paul wrote music for half of a song. The lyric writing was varied in a similar way: Paul wrote 6 songs, I wrote 4, and Rob wrote 2.

At times it feels from the outside that successful and established bands like yourselves come under a harsher and more predetermined focus from the major media spotlights. How have you found it and particularly in regard of A Skeletal Domain?

It’s hard to say. I think by now everybody already has an opinion about us and a new album is not likely to change that. The press that likes us still will, and same for the press that doesn’t like us. Their opinions don’t seem to be very flexible

Can you give us some background and insight into the imposing and startling video for Kill Or Become from the album?

The video was directed by David Brodsky; he created a concept based on the song’s lyrics and went from there. We think he did a great job. We’ve been writing about zombies since our first album, so I guess it’s about time we had a full-on zombie video.

As one of death metal’s leading lights and inspirations for seemingly ever, how do you see the expanding depth and diversity to the genre? Do you embrace and takes sparks from its ever growing expanse of exploration or prefer a more old school focus to feed your personal tastes?

I like anything that sounds good to me. Some newer death metal is amazing, and I still listen to plenty of the old stuff too. If it’s well-written and heavy I usually like it.

Listening to A Skeletal Domain there are seemingly essences from other genres and styles which flirt with ears and thoughts however slight and whispered they are. What are the inspirations outside of extreme metal which you would suggest have added something to the band sound or ideas over time?

We all listen to lots of different kinds of music so that probably directly and/or indirectly influences how we write. For me personally the classical music I’ve listened too might have an influence.

Where do you see Cannibal Corpse in the ‘family tree’ of inspirations and contributors to death metal?cannibal-corpse_photo06

Hopefully we are considered an important part of the death metal family tree, part of the 2nd wave after Possessed, Death, Master, Massacre, and other earlier bands.

What is left in 2014 going into next year for the band to devour and offer?

We’ll be doing lots of touring in support of A Skeletal Domain. We are currently on tour in Europe; next year we’ll do a big tour of Canada and the USA. So we have some big touring plans ahead.

Thanks again for sharing time with us. Any last thoughts you would like to offer us?

Thanks for the interview! We hope to see all of our fans on tour soon!

Finally is there anything grotesque and blood fuelled which the band has not yet explored but you have a yearning to attack at some point?

I don’t know! We’ll see when we start writing the next album.

Check out our review of A Skeletal Domain @ ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/cannibal-corpse-a-skeletal-domain/

http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/10/2014

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Dope Body – Lifer

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In covering Natural History, the previous album from US noise sculptors Dope Body, we boldly declared the band as ‘without doubt one of the most exciting bands in music right now’. Returning with its successor Lifer, the Baltimore quartet has done nothing to change or dispel that declaration. The release is a glorious and voracious maelstrom of invention as now expected from the band, but also one with another open twist in the evolution of Dope Body’s sound. Certainly Lifer is the band’s most rock ‘n’ roll release to date, raw and attractively abrasive, but within tracks and sounds are as dramatically eclectic as ever.

Formed in 2008 for originally just a one off show, Dope Body soon saw and found their sound stirring up the local scene and its passions. Early releases via HOSS Records drew potent attention but it was Natural History, released as the new album through Drag City, which widely announced the band as one of the more original and creatively warped fresh breaths in modern music. Between albums the band has feverishly toured and played shows before seeing the latter part of last year out taking time focussing on other endeavours, bassist John Jones on his solo project Nerftoss and guitarist Zachary Utz and drummer David Jacober with their two piece band Holy Ghost Party, whilst vocalist Andrew Laumann turned to his visual arts side and exhibited work at the Galerie Jeanrochdard in Paris, the Pre Teen Gallery in Mexico City, and Signal in Brooklyn. This year though soon saw the foursome back together in the studio and with producer Travis Harrison creating what is another stirring encounter from them.

The album opens with Intro, an instrumental with carnival-esque vivacity and mischief to the gripping rhythmic juggling of Jacober and scuzz bred tenacity of guitar. It is a great raucous start to the album, instantly unveiling some of the varied rock ‘n’ roll seeded essences to be explored across the release. The piece subsequently slips seamlessly into Repo Man and its opening slow caress and shadowed crawl. Right away the distinct tones of Laumann entice and flirt with ears before raging to match the increased intensity and aggression of the music. It is a captivating track which has as much an air of Nirvana to it as it does The Stooges. In hindsight it is a steady opener to the album in many ways, a raw encounter which as the album, holds a real live feel to its touch and breath, but proves to be just a taster of greater things to come.

That stronger potency grips ears and imagination right away with Hired Gun. From a deliciously acidic web of sonic revelry, the song strides out with a garage punk energy and causticity, though it is still prone to the great scythes of sound liferwhich opened up the encounter. Taunting senses with a devilish swagger and punkish rabidity, the track is a transfixing slice of noise rock, but as expected from the band only part of the story as seductive surf rock sultriness and rhythmic tantalising emerges before a fiery finale. From this song the album really takes unpredictable and diverse shape, the following Echo sauntering through ears with a smouldering blues climate aligned to garage punk turbulence. Like Tom Petty plays The Cramps, the song is an enthralling croon with tendencies to expel caustic ferocity as it makes another step up towards the album’s highest peaks.

They come in the next clutch of songs, starting with AOL. A brawling slab of blazing hard and punk rock incitement, whispers of The Clash and Melvins hinting away, the track comes loaded with lingering grooves and biting hooks for a relatively brief but scintillating roar. It sets ears and emotions up perfectly for the even richer triumph of Rare Air. A song which kind of bridges this and the last album, it emerges from a metronomic coaxing lined with a ridiculously infectious sonic tempting. Instantly there is a post punk emprise to the song, bass and guitars flirting with a mix of Joy Division, Tones On Tails, and John Foxx led Ultravox breeding. It is a gripping adventure with Laumann as vocally enterprising as the tapestry of sounds and textures around him. The pinnacle of the album, the song alone reasserts Dope Body as the imaginative masters of sonic and noise alchemy.

Straight away confirming that point, the dark seductive Day by Day steps forward next. With a heavily shadowed bass resonance spotted by sonic elegance making the first gentle touch, the track forcibly intrigues and entices senses and imagination, increasing its lure and potency as it gathers pace to craft a Bauhaus like tension and presence. That increase in energy also brings a funky gait and appetite to the song, which in turn leads to squalling clouds of scuzz lined ferocity and garage rock devilry. With a pinch of psychobilly and a dab of old school rock ‘n’ roll too, the song takes the listener through scenery of explosive invention and bold creative mischief, all persistently cored by the irresistible throaty bassline which kicked it all off.

Toy strides purposefully across ears next to return the album to another boiling garage punk/grunge soiled stomp, engaging ears in a dusty rampage of Rocket From The Crypt meets Damn Vandals like irreverence. As everywhere though, references only give a slight idea of something uniquely Dope Body, the band forging new templates and imagination smothering ingenuity at every turn, proof of course immediately coming forward through the pair of Nu Sensation and I’d Say to You . The first of the two is another multi-flavoured rocker, seemingly embracing every corner and era of rock ‘n’ roll to give birth to an uncompromising and inescapably addictive rock devilry, whilst its successor is a torrent of repetitive hooks and lingering grooves as catchy as the common cold and sneakily lingering.

The album is closed by the striking Even In the End, a song opening on another skilfully conjured rhythmic contagion before spreading its melodic and atmospheric tendrils into a progressive terrain of bracing sonic invention and immersive dark shadows. Within that landscape though, guitars and beats unleash imaginative and lively agitation whilst vocals range from slow drawls to raging emotion. It is an absorbing exploration bringing the outstanding release to a mighty close.

Lifer is not a step forward in quality for Dope Body but a side step from Natural History into similarly impressive and individual waters. The excitement brought by a Dope Body encounter continues and the band grows in stature once more.

Lifer is available via Drag City now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DOPE-BODY/310914069790

RingMaster 23/10/2014

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Laika – Somnia

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Though it ebbs and flows in the strength of its persuasion at times, there is no escaping that Somnia, the new album from Canadian melodic death metallers Laika is one compelling and thrilling encounter. It may not seemingly be bursting with open originality, the old school breeding of their style driving the creative tempests making up the album, but there is a specific drama and adventurous enterprise belonging to the band flowing through each fresh and seriously captivating persuasion that begs different. It is occasionally not as startling in places as it is elsewhere and maybe should be overall, but Somnia is certainly an impressive and lingering encounter ensuring that the name Laika will not just known for being that of the name of the Russian dog who became one of the first animals to travel to space.

Formed in 2009 with the name inspired by that hound, the then sextet soon drew strong local underground attention with the release of their full-length demo Crafting The Cataclysm the following year, and a live presence which has seen them play with the likes of All Shall Perish, Kataklysm, Necronomicon, Skeletonwitch, Abysmal Dawn, Septic Flesh, and Unleash the Archers over the past few years. The release of the Somnia EP in 2011 was subsequently followed by the band taking two years out to create and work on their debut album. Produced by the Winnipeg quintet, mixed and mastered by Ryan Forsyth, Somnia provides a striking and imaginative new assault for the band, one seeking and easy to see finding a more intensively crowing spotlight.

The release opens with Restless Mind, a brief instrumental which initially strokes the imagination with evocative piano drama against a ticking clock before expanding with a wash of similarly coloured keys and elegant harmonies. It is a laika 1-front cover- smallgentle and intriguing, if not startling, start which leads into the instantly imposing Escalation of Terror. It is a gripping entrance with riffs and rhythms offering hungry energy and intent straight away. Ears and appetite are ignited further as the bait intensifies with a muscular torrent of feverish grooves and vocal causticity crossing the intensive presence of the song. The keys of Steve Tedham bring rich and expressive hues to the great tempestuous intent of the track, their warm beauty a transfixing contrast to the raw scowls of vocalist Jordan Dorge and rhythmic provocation set by drummer Blair Garraway. It is a riveting blend which only grabs greater potency and suasion as ridiculously flavoursome and contagious grooves cast by guitarist Ian Garraway are matched by those throatily laid by the bass of Mike Mason.

It is a sensational incitement to body and emotions, a creative roller coaster which never dips below the exceptional on its way to setting up a hungry anticipation for the rest of the album. The title track is the first to feed that greed, its first touch rugged in riffs and beats but seductive in keys sculpted melodies. That evolves into a more expansive and less hostile landscape, though there is still a busy imposing air to the encounter. Guitars proceed to cast a sonic weave of enterprise and melodic tenacity across the still sinew driven terrain whilst the bass at times almost ventures into a post punk repetition and invention which, along with spicy grooves and vocal savagery, brings fresh character and intrigue to the enthralling track.

Both Fidelity and Caligae A Galea keep the creative and satisfaction levels high, the first stalking ears with a predatory attitude and gait but one fired in sonic invention and seductively inhospitable toxicity. As its predecessor, the track ripples with eclectic textures and imagination soaked ideation, defying expectations and binding eager attention from start to finish. It’s almost exhausting revelry and bold tapestry of sound is swiftly matched by the second of the pair. Opening on a heroic groove, its lure potent caped crusader like coaxing, the song growls and prowls with infectious charm and intimidation. There is a menace to it which Tedham’s craft can only wrap not defuse and Dorge’s grizzled tones easily accentuate. The song is soon providing an addictive canvas of sound which maybe is death metal based but just as pungently entwines a mass of flavoursome tendrils from the likes of noise and psyche rock to post punk and progressive metal. It is a stunning protagonist for ears and incessant lust for the passions.

The album’s pinnacle is followed by the enchanting instrumental Dream of Nothing, a magnetic and reflective slice of melodic beauty. Dark bass emotions lie easily with the sultry charm of keys whilst rhythmically the song walks with a firm and steady but restrained hand. There are also raw guitar crafted flames which intensify the expressive atmosphere and climate of the song, everything uniting for an immersive emprise of sound and imagination. The track also brings respite for the senses though they are soon under demanding pressure as the punk fired assault of The Immortal takes over. For all its ferocity and abrasing presence, it is another song unafraid to spring a web of melodic and expressive beauty in its successful trapping of ears and attention, and though in many ways it takes longer to persuade than elsewhere, it emerges as a simultaneously bitter and warm buffeting to devour with greed.

The final two tracks upon Somnia might not quite match up to their earlier companions, but each leaves no second or note unattended by the listener’s fullest attention. First up Predictions (Tide Bearer) rages and bristles with a merciless graze of sonic bad blood and vocal malevolence, a hostility which wears down the senses with its bruising but still flirts with the occasional melodic seducing. The tracks unrelenting pressure is followed by the exceptional majesty of final track Invaders, a song which sums up the album with its eclectic stock of sounds and spellbinding ideas within a virulent and concussive antipathy. The song is another intoxicating proposition leaving the listener basking in unique temptation and ready to share the glory of album and band.

Somnia just gets stronger and more impressive over time, shown by the fact that listening to it again whilst writing this, there are more reasons to argue against the earlier thought that the album is not as startling throughout as in particular certain moments. That gap closes with each venture, proving this is an album wanting more time than most to really reveal all of its consistent thick rewards and that Laika is a band with the potential to sit beside the ranks of Insomnium, Dark Tranquillity, and Amon Amarth.

Somnia is available now via Filth Regime Records and @ http://laikawpg.bandcamp.com/album/somnia

https://www.facebook.com/LaikaOfficial

RingMaster 23/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Hellish Outcast – Stay of Execution

Photo by Fotograf Jarle Hovda Moe

Photo by Fotograf Jarle Hovda Moe

Simultaneously a tsunami of organic hostility and premeditated intimately defined brutality, Stay of Execution from Norwegian metallers Hellish Outcast is quite simply one of the finds of the year. Not that the Bergen quartet are real newcomers, the band has been tearing up the local underground scene since 2001 and making a potent announcement of intent with debut album Your God Will Bleed two years ago. Their new album though is a whole new murder-pit of creative antagonism and majesty from the band, a rhythmically crippling and sonically ravishing destruction and seduction of the senses. Described as thrash/death metal, their sound is so much more than that limiting tag, the album inescapable evidence of a vicious and scintillating tapestry of varied flavours and styles picked apart and used as weaponry in one of the year’s major triumphs.

Formed by guitarist Martin Legreid, bassist Mads Mowinckel (Breed), and drummer Mads Lilletvedt (Solstorm, ex-Byfrost), Hellish Outcast as mentioned was swiftly an attention grabbing and growing force in the Norwegian underground scene. 2006 saw the release of the demo Release You from Their Soil, and two years later came the unleashing of the Raping – Killing – Murder EP which drew keen and favourable attention on a wider scale. The addition of vocalist Thebon (ex-Keep Of Kalessin) in 2010 helped trigger a new twist and attitude in their already visceral sound, a spark ensuring Your God Will Bleed was well-received by a more potent spotlight . Stay of Execution takes it all to another level though, the expanse and maturity in sound and songwriting as marked as the greater insatiable brutality accompanying it. It is an album which tears senses and psyche asunder whilst serenading them with addiction binding grooves and melodic toxicity. Stay of Execution is exhilarating, rigorously compelling, and a release impossible to get your fill of.

It is fair to say that as soon as an avalanche of riffs and rhythms cascades down on the senses through opener Partition of Lust, the album takes a tight hold of ears and attention. It is an instinctively anthemic lure, the creative artillery of beats from Lilletvedt rigorously enticing bait within which riffs cast their own raw tempting. It is an onslaught which never waivers in its demands and punishing intensity, only increasing its savagery as the malevolent vocal squalls of Thebon explode in the maelstrom of spite. Though there is a repetitive core to the track, it just as grippingly unleashes strong variation in voice and grooving to provide the most hostile and irrepressibly addictive start to the release.

Things only accelerate in persuasion and ingenuity as the following punkish brawl of I Can No Longer See the Sun erupts. The song’s subsequent barbarous body is swiftly drawing on groove and nu-metal tendencies as it dips into the 10653627_10152640278209718_9183828471053285056_ndeath bred corners of muscular animosity. It is a bewitching pillaging of the emotions, at times crooning with melodic and harmonious beauty and in other moments stripping the senses bare with vicious and merciless invention. Its deceptive and thrilling mastery is soon emulated by the lethal breath and inhospitable landscape of Heresiarch, the track a stalking predator but again unafraid to sooth the wounds it’s rhythmic and sonic claws dig with a weave of warm melodies and spellbinding clean vocals. The song is ravenous in its fierce imagination and seductive through the grizzled radiance similarly expelled.

The corrosive rancor of the thrash fuelled Hunter Supreme comes next, its title perfect naming of the exhaustive sound within the predacious enmity masquerading as a song, before a new pinnacle is forged with Gods of Fear. This track is as primal as it is innovative, the opening crawl of riffs and bass intimidation bestial at best and tar thick malevolence at its deepest. It is soon engulfed in another thrash driven tirade of death and groove metal blood lust yet manages to hold a rein on its venom to more taunt the imagination and emotions. Scorched with a blistering solo, the track is a monstrous rancor and virulently infectious.

Leave offers its own outstanding violation next, its entrance a mellower coaxing than anything provided before on the album but also as portentous and menacing as those same companions. With a slow groan of a delivery from Thebon exposing the song’s narrative as at times vocal harmonies magnetically colour the background, there is a Faith No More essence to the brooding incitement, a similarly distinct inventiveness as the track seduces with clean vocals and grizzled snarls musically and lyrically. It is a transfixing treat setting up the listener for the impossibly contagious presence of Machines. With a robust swing to its stride and sonic tenacity to its enthralling enterprise, the track is loaded with a creative rabidity which is pure fascination. A round that is a ferocity which is honed into something controlled but forcibly hungry. The mid-point slip into a stark and dystopian like metallic soundscape does not quite work with personal tastes, mainly for the length it consumes before allowing the severity of the blistering storm to return, but it cannot derail another track from impressively igniting body and passions.

The album’s irresistible title track makes for a distinct and intriguing antagonist next, its winding grooves like sonic ivy entwining the imagination and lingering in grip, before both Morbid Attraction and Torment unveil their destructive and thrilling characters. The first is a nostrils flaring, fist pounding hellacious assault; riffs and rhythms scything and swiping respectively upon the senses with barbaric and deliciously infectious urgency whilst its successor almost glares at the listener with its initial imposing stance before casting a canvas which is as predatory in tone and effect as it is sizzling in unpredictability and melodic imagination. Both tracks, as the whole album throughout, share searing and unique displays of sonic invention from the guitars aligned to exciting vocal variation and an enslaving rhythmic animus. It is a starling blend, which in whatever individual form the combination comes, never loses the band’s almost inimitable touch.

The album comes to an end through the instrumental beauty of The Wait, an acoustic led piece of music which is expressive in melodies and spellbinding in elegance. It finally gives time for breath to be taken within Stay of Execution, though in some ways the senses feel it might have been more useful earlier. The track makes a provocative close to a devastating and mercilessly thrilling release whilst at the same time revealing yet more of the qualities and thoughtful adventure within the band.

Whether Stay of Execution is forging new scenery for extreme metal is a debate which can be argued either side way. It does provide without any doubt though one of the most exciting and refreshing releases this year, pushing Hellish Outcast to the frontline of brutal pleasure.

Stay of Execution is available via Listenable Records @ http://www.shop.listenable.net/en/81_hellish-outcast

https://www.facebook.com/HELLISHOUTCAST

RingMaster 22/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/