Blackwitch Pudding – Covered In Pudding Vol. 1

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A year ago Oregon metallers Blackwitch Pudding released debut album Taste The Pudding, a collection of tracks which the trio of Wizards ‘took back stole and diluted their invention’. The story goes for newcomers to the Portland band, is that for 600 years Blackwitch Pudding has been “conjuring evil riffs, casting spells and wreaking supernatural havoc upon this planet” only to have mortals steal their creativity for their own success. That is the short version of the tale behind the presence of the band and their striking releases which take existing songs and turn them into the beasts they feel they were meant to be. You cannot call their tongue in cheek exploits the work of a cover band because of the whole new character and twisted invention they evolve songs with as well as the new warped lyrical adventures each comes with. Simply they take an established canvas and build a new ravenous predation of doom speared with caustic stoner grooves, biting hooks, and narratives of sex, drugs, and witch bred salaciousness. Now the band has unearthed the Covered In Pudding Vol. 1 EP and another quartet of singularly compelling and questionably sinful exploits.

Opening track Night Of The Blackwitch, stemming from Roky Erickson‘s Night of the Vampire, is a dank and pestilential crawl over the senses, riffs moving with erosive rapaciousness and rhythms with a military bearing which is as deceitful as the hypnotic seduction within their malevolent intent. Psychedelically enhanced and insidiously aired lyrically and sonically, the song makes for a black soaked night of incitement complete with the rawest vocals to be found still churning syllables in a graveyard. It is doom with a ridiculously enticing core which overpowers the mischievous intent to its sculpting and devilry.

The following and irresistible Toke’n Man is equally as lumbering in its primal filth clad predation as it ‘steals’ back the essence of Rush track Working Man. You can almost taste the fumes of its hazy breath and addled imagination as Blackwitch Pudding - Covered in Pudding (web)the track seeps relentlessly over senses and imagination. Riffs make for the darkest web whilst rhythms again have a controlled frame to their corruptive endeavour but it is the bass stalked grooves and vocal recruitment of the band which makes the strongest toxic persuasion.

Kiss lose their anthem God Of Thunder to the threesome next as they unleash Gods Of Grungus and its bar room brawl of liquor soaked ferocity and devilment. Whereas the first two songs had a laid back senses consuming gait, the third track sees the band break into what can best be called a limping swagger with is muscles swinging lethargically and an energy keen to riot yet not too far away from the next swig of alcoholic poison. It like its predecessors is a magnetic treat to make you forget the source of their birth, each track so far improving on the original canvases.

Bong Hits and Lust completes the EP with an eleven minute epic doom transformation of Diamonds And Rust of Joan Baez and Judas Priest fame. It is a rabid and vicious slab of slow ear entwining doom revelry which exposes more of the undoubted skill and craft of the band members and of course their cauldron of possessed diablerie.

To be honest it is hard to know how to take the EP and album before it. Certainly it is a thoroughly enjoyable and accomplished encounter to easily recommend indulging in, but something inside for all the work and enterprise the band puts into each track wants Blackwitch Pudding to confront with something completely of their own…though maybe they already do that in another guise?

The self –released Covered In Pudding Vol. 1 is available now digitally and on 200 limited-edition, wizard-conjured cassettes @ http://blackwitchpudding.bandcamp.com/

http://blackwitchpudding.com/

8/10

RingMaster 14/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dearly Beloved – Enduro

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Hazily immersive and virulently seductive, not forgetting mouth-wateringly compelling, Enduro the new album from Canadian rock band Dearly Beloved is another unexpected treat for the year. You sense the dramatic presence and striking sounds of the release is not something new as their existing fans can surely confirm but as our introduction to the Toronto protagonists, the release comes as a potent and thrilling new adventure. Merging sultry essences of stoner and progressive rock with the creative voracity and enterprise of garage punk, Enduro is a glorious ride of sweltering textures and magnetic imagination wrapped in a scuzz kissed melodic vivacity which flirts contagiously from start to finish. It is a magnificent encounter and the start of a torrid union between the band and our passions, and a horde of many others we predict upon its uncaging.

Dearly Beloved is centred round guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Rob Higgins (ex- Change of Heart, Doctor and nephew of Rush’s Geddy Lee), and vocalist Niva Chow and from the release of their critically acclaimed third album Hawk vs. Pigeon, has been on a non-stop charge of shows, including tours with the likes of Julie Doiron, Cancer Bats, Wrong Guys, and Grimskunk as well as venturing into the UK and Europe with their renowned stage performances. Now with the successor to their previous triumph, the band is set to reap even greater success and rewards, hindsight showing that as impressive as the last album was its successor takes things to a new inventive height.

Recorded at the infamous Californian Rancho De La Luna studios (Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss), Enduro saw Higgins and Chow recruit Eamon McGrath as guitarist and co-writer for the 15-day creating and recording of the album. Also involved were Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal), Chris Goss (Sound City Players) and Dave Elitch with its mixing undertaken by Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Foo Fighters). Apparently there were not even skeletons of songs prepared before the recording of the album but that obviously was in no way an issue such the sonic ingenuity which has evolved from the process. As soon as feedback soaks ears and a dulled yet intrusive resonance brews at the opening of the title track, intrigue is pricked and swiftly fed along with the imagination as rhythms roll in on rugged sinews, flames of sonic coaxing erupts, and the bass grumbles impatiently. It is a captivating start and one pushed to greater strength by the breath-taking vocal union of Higgins and Chow. Theirs is a rigorously captivating union, whether sparring or uniting in their delicious persuasion. Guitars have a mesmeric yet simultaneously raw air to their enterprise around them whilst the heavily swiping rhythms simply enslave an eager appetite for song and release. Like a rugged union of Mars Volta and Jane’s Addiction, the song is a wanton fire of craft and invention, a psychedelic seducing which is scintillating.

The following Olympics Of No Regard rides boldly in on another rhythmic enticement courted by potent hooks and grazing rubs of db COVERguitar. Its confident stroll continues unabated but still relaxes along the way for evocative shimmering surf rock twists and expressive stoner abrasing which are as unpredictable as they are engaging; a union constantly repeated across the whole album in the startlingly new characters and designs of songs, as next up Astor DuPont Payne. The track is sensational, from its initial tingling of guitar a riveting incitement which grows in presence and potency as acidic melodies entwine the senses, vocals breathe seduction with each syllable, and captivating grooves dance around thoughts like the flames on the opening credits of Tales of the Unexpected. The bass also is a tempting impossible to resist, its dark wiles a persistent shadow in an incredibly imaginative and creatively fascinating triumph. Psychedelic pop rock at its finest and most unique, the song is a new pinnacle in nothing but so far across the release.

Both the more voracious Not My Pig with its punk bred attitude and the aggressive Seven Plagues get feet and passions involved further, the first a song which stalks and abuses with a caustic toxicity across all musical fronts which is as bewitching as the ever impressing embracing vocals. The following song revels again in the punk part of the band’s heart, raging and brawling with rhythms and grooves but only within an invigorating pop tenacity and enticement which tempers and inspires equally the thrust of the track. Neither matches the heights already set but both inflame and feed ears and thoughts with full satisfaction. A sufficing pushed into gluttony with the brilliant The Guile Of Pricks and its instinctive rock ‘n’ roll. Garage punk meets psychedelic pop, the track is another raw yet fluid enveloping holding a Pixies experimentation and QOTSA stomping before making way for the desert smothered sounds of Between Finger & Thumb, where Perry Farrell and co again spring to mind in tandem with at times Melvins. Though not as instant as other tracks it is an evolving web of sound and ingenuity which steals a mighty share of the plaudits.

The smouldering beauty and melodic glances of All Sins Are Forgiven come next and simply leave passions in a pool of ardour, a mellow tempting which leads into incendiary imposing and provocative crescendos across its enthralling suasion. The song tantalises and mesmerises with intimate yet expansive radiance and reflection to cast another slice of creative alchemy into the album before the voracious canter of Run For Your Life decides to make its claim for best song honours. Pop punk with antagonistic devilry, the track is rock music as it should be; fiery, inventive, and ridiculously contagious.

Closing with the brief psychedelic and slightly psychotic smothering of Ether Binge, a song which drifts with melodic venom and seducing shadows, Enduro is instinctive brilliance. There are times where like the final track you feel songs are incomplete in some way or as they were created in short time, their ideation suggesting and unfulfilled body but it does not bring any sense of negativity to the sensational sculpting. In fact it adds to the loose and primal feel of the album, one though conjured through precise thought and unleashed imagination from all involved. Enduro is our introduction to Dearly Beloved giving us a two directional investigation of the immense band from here on in, must be our birthdays.

Enduro is out now on Aporia Records in Europe and eOne Music in Canada now!

http://www.dearlybelovedmusic.com/

9/10

RingMaster 10/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Glory Glory – So Long

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Seemingly holding a torch for eighties new wave and indie pop, Canadian band Glory Glory unveil their new tantalising EP, a release which mesmerises and tempts with a melodic seduction which is hard to find any resistance to. So Long is an encounter which makes a pleasing impression on first listen but evolves into an irresistible and essential breeze the more you allow it to stroke and coax the imagination. There is a smile to the music of the band which radiates incessantly from within the release, an enticing charm which caresses senses and thoughts whilst an understated but rich invention blossoms deep within the songs. It all adds up to a rich persuasion which maybe does not give its recipient a blood rush but certainly leaves them smouldering with content.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Glory Glory was formed in 2006 with a sound which was said to be more post punk sculpted. They create a brew though which merges a wealth of styles and essences to defy any exact labelling, So Long just as its slightly rawer and darker predecessor, the You Need a Heart to Live EP of 2011, providing the richest evidence. The new three track proposition was mixed by Grammy nominated producer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes), and pushes the band’s presence into an even greater potent spotlight which is sure to open up wider attention on the band. The trio of Adam Warren, Ryan Brown, and Gavin Maclean has already drawn references to the likes of Rush, Grizzly Bear, Caribou, and Twin Shadow their way but as So Long wraps its suggestive arms around the ears there is a definite feel of China Crisis and Scritti Politti to the offerings.

The first of those two comparisons is loud in opening track Take My Time. From its opening lure of dark bass tempting the track has GG coverintrigue and attention gripped and primed for the swiftly following tangle of guitar crafted melodies, they having a ABC whisper to them, and excited percussive endeavour. It is a gentle but lively start given extra warmth by the flowing mellow vocals and occasional backing harmonies. The song strolls with relish through the ears, casting a dream bred elegance and glaze over its captivating narrative, whilst a slight Two Door Cinema Club air adds to the textured beauty of the song.

The impressive start is backed up by the slower gaited but equally absorbing and immersive Indigo Son. The atmosphere of the song is part celestial and part sultry, its melodic romance nestling provocatively with thoughts whilst the poised joyful swagger of the song provides that Scritti Politti enticement to its enthralling textures. Though not as dramatically gripping as its predecessor, the song holds imagination and appetite firmly in its resourceful enterprise whilst providing a hazy climate to the emotively engineered suasion.

The closing Everybody Lies envelopes and dances with the senses much as the opening song, it’s certainly individual adventure wrapping a refreshing weave of invention and evocatively hued melodies around body and reflection like a graceful temptress, one as across all the tracks driven by a dance seeded pulsing and rhythmic ensnaring. Though much like the surface of the music lyrically everything seems a peaceful soar, beneath shadows and flirty twists play their part in trapping imagination and emotions. It is a clever and imaginative underbelly which only adds to the overall caressing whilst forging deep textures and colour to the songs.

Though So Long is the first we have heard of Glory Glory, a swift look at their previous and also thoroughly appealing EP shows the evolution in progress within the band’s songwriting and sound. It is an exciting emergence which is increasing its potential to spark a greedy anticipation for their forthcoming horizons. Glory Glory looks like being a band we are destined to hear and enjoy for a long time to come.

The So Long EP is available now @ http://gloryglory.bandcamp.com/

http://www.glorygloryband.com/

8/10

RingMaster 20/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The RHODA MAY ‘Sessions’, out 6th January

Rhoda May Online Promo Shot
UK PROGRESSIVE NEWCOMERS RHODA MAY RELEASE STUNNING DEBUT EP!
 
Coming at you from Surrey (home to Hundred Reasons, Reuben, Vex Red, Foe and Godsized) hugely promising instrumental rock outfit ‘Rhoda May’ are primed to be the next band to nationally break. Pulling from everyone from Rush and Led Zeppelin, to Deftones and Tool, Rhoda May set loose ‘Sessions’ on Monday 6th January.
Although originally conceived during the middle part of 2012 by long time friends Will Pain (Guitar), Mark Sanger (Drums) and Andy Page (Bass), it wasn’t until this year that the band were officially spawned. Ignited by an impromptu knock on the rehearsal room door by a local venue promoter who happened to overhear the band rehearsing, the guys were instantly asked to support popular London rockers Senser. Duly obliging, the trio were swiftly spurred into action and Rhoda May were formed.
From their debut show with Senser, Rhoda May’s climb has been vastly encouraging and recent supports with Heights, Freeze The Atlantic and Three Trapped Tigers have further cemented the band’s fledging reputation. The enterprising three-some have also been working on a series of live videos with Emma Dalesman (Stagecoach, Tommy Reilly), which can be viewed here - www.rhodamay.com/video/ .
The videos were also recorded by producer Jason Wilson (We Are The Ocean, Reuben, Dinosaur Pile Up) who handled their first ‘347 sessions’; the band also recorded a later session titled ‘589 live session’. Both recordings were put down live and in their entirety. Due to the quality and the glowing early feedback for the live sessions, the band decided to release both recordings as a stand alone record. Aptly entitled ‘Sessions’, the EP is an immensely impressive collection of six absorbing cuts of modern rock. From the opening guitar scapes and twisting rhythms of ‘#3’, to the engaging post-rock bite of ‘#4”, on to the fuzzed-up melodic appeal of ‘#5’ and to the majestic groove-laden journey titled ‘#8’, the band illustrate their genuine creative craft, which displays true imagination and the nimble ability to take the listener on an engrossing musical voyage.
Rhoda May - Cover Artwork

Starsoup – Bazaar Of Wonders

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An adventure which coaxes emotions and imagination into expanding its evocative narratives, Bazaar of Wonders the debut album from Russian progressive rock band Starsoup is a richly engaging and intriguing encounter. It is a release which maybe does not ignite a burning fire in the passions but certainly leaves them smouldering with an appetite to explore enthusiastically the excellently crafted and skilfully presented songs. The album is an enticing proposition, a colourful weave of heavy metal and progressive invention merged with additional varied flavours, a mix which captivates from start to finish.

Started at the tail end of 2011, Starsoup is the studio project of vocalist/guitarist Alexey Markov (Shadow Host, Distant Sun) who has keyboardist Andrew Gryaznov (Timesquare) alongside him. Their album, which evolved around the compositional foundation of a quartet of songs written and melodically composed during Markov’s time in the band Crime Of Passion where he was the vocalist and Gryaznov played keys, took over a year to emerge as other projects and the involvement and time of guests upon the release extended its ‘birth’. With a presence and sound which sparks thoughts of a diversity of bands from the likes of Dream Theater, ArcticFlame, and Stone Sour to Rush, Fates Warning, and Avenged Sevenfold, the album is a striking declaration of strong impressive vocals and melodic exploration within a senses inciting keys sculpted grandeur.

The Moscow duo open the Sublimity Records released album with the band’s first single Angels, one of the previously mentioned coverfour songs which bred the album and as the others re-recorded and evolved for the album. With the impressive piano skills of Gryaznov making an emotive invitation, guitars and bass soon ignite the air around a firm and commanding rhythmic frame from by Alexander Vetkhov who provides drums and percussion across the whole of Bazaar of Wonders. As the strong and expressive vocals of Markov start unveiling the lyrical narrative, his delivery across the whole of the album diverse and potent, the track mixes up a power ballad like stance brewed with a feisty energy. It is a welcomingly introduction to the album and a clear portent of things to come, keys and vocals the brightest beacons within creative songwriting and striking musicianship across all aspects.

The following Ain’t No Superman confidently idles in with a jazz funk like swagger, its heat accelerated by melodic guitar flames. Into its stride the song is a more straight forward heavy rock encounter but one with a wealth of additives which keeps it unpredictable and intriguing, if less successful than its predecessor. Nevertheless there is plenty for the ears to get excited by, as also with Try. An acoustic guitar and piano resourcefulness wraps the ears before Markov fills the ballad with his fine voice backed with good harmonies. As it walks into its fullest height there like in all songs, is a fire in its belly which empowers the passionate bursts which erupt from within the melodic canvas. If aggression is the want the song, and ultimately the album are unlikely to suffice but for melodically spawned emotive adventures the release is a refreshing offering.

Both Cradle of War and Rumors of Better Life continue the ballad seeded attack, though the first of the pair from its elegant first third with a glorious flame of saxophone to its breath explodes into an intensive and muscular persuasion which constantly flirts with the passions throughout its impressive venture. Its successor is a mesmeric sunset of seductive melodies and evocative charm, a caressing wash of beauty which without enflaming emotions feeds them and thoughts skilfully.

The album’s best track Past Bites bruises the air with a fine array of sinewy riffs and crisp rhythms, a Metallica edge and essence seeping into the boisterous elements whilst again inventiveness fuels the triumph of the track and the intense hunger for its presence. It is the pinnacle of the release which makes the likes of the following The City and the Stars and Voices of the Wind seem pale in their balladry, though both again are impressively crafted. Between them though there is the excellent instrumental Bazaar, a piece of composing and realisation incendiary to imagination and emotions brought with a sonic mastery  which simply seduces from start to finish; guitar, keys, and bass exceptional provocateurs in its mystique clad temptation.

The closing trio of songs, Road to Sunset with its great sultry sax calls and anthemic vocal mixes, the heavy metal bred Perfect Loser, and the closing piano conjured instrumental Rain in the Desert ensures the album ends on an enterprising and enjoyable stance, each individual and additional lures to a fine album. As said earlier, Bazaar of Wonders does not leave fires raging in the passions but certainly makes Starsoup worthy of close attention.

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup

7.5/10

RingMaster 08/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Unified Past – Spots

Unified Past - Spots - by Ed Unitsky

Journeying through eleven evocative soundscapes of carefully sculpted sonic sunspots stretched over imaginative colour strewn melodic canvases, Spots the new album from US progressive rock band Unified Past is an enthralling and magnetic adventure. It is a release which leads senses and emotions by the hand into heated flights of provocative designs across triumphant landscapes, each venture a key to their and the listeners unique imaginative plays. It has to be said that personal preferences come from the metal side of progressive alchemy but Spots has little problem in lighting up the senses and emotions very successfully.

Formed in 1984by Steve Speelman ( guitars/vocals/keys) and Victor Tassone (drums), New Yorkers Unified Past has released five albums leading up to Spots over the years, each building and earning the band acclaim as well as a strong reputation in their homeland. With bassist Dave Mickleson now alongside the founding pair, the trio according to those long acquainted with the band has with this sixth album created their finest moment yet. It is hard to be dubious listening to the album and easy to see how the experience and skills of the three has honed a release which works the listener on numerous levels. The experience and pedigree of the band you can only assume is an important factor alongside the inventive heart of the band to its success; Mickleson who is also currently the bassist for Joey Belladonna’s bands Chief Big Way and Belladonna, Tassone who has recently worked on The Colin Tench Project, Andy Bradford’s Oceans 5, and John Orr Franklyn’s Reaching Ground Project, and the classically trained Speelman uniting their talents and gained know-how for something rather special with the Melodic Revolution Records released album.

A fusion of classic 70’s progressive rock with strong spices and flavours of more current melodic fires, the album opens with the eager passion and energy of Blank. From a mesmeric celestial introduction rhythms and sonic invention scramble into position before relaxing into a seventies flame of melodic rock and progressive persuasion. Keys soak the ear in a flowing ambience which lays down the platform for the guitar to twist and enflame the air with excellent thought and rich sonic hues. It is an instantly engaging mix skirted by strong mellow vocals and a rhythmic firmness veining the track. Arguably not a dramatic stealing of attention to set things off, the song nevertheless captures the imagination to seal the same fate for thoughts and emotions.

The following Deep is bred of the same seeds in many ways as its predecessor but with the sinewy bass croon and a wealth of irresistible hooks and excellent vocals from Speelman, the song winds its way into the reflective depths of thought and exploration to again engage the listener and take them on a hypnotic flame of enterprise.

The first of six instrumentals steps up next in the vibrant form of Hot. The piece is a stirring mix of progressive jazz rock which saunters along with a mischievous swagger and fun driven invention to its continually teasing presence; little touches like a slip into the classic refrains of Shortnin’ Bread and a great piano boogie like coaxing increasing the enjoyment and lure of the track. It raises the appetite further for the album which is soon rewarded with firstly Seeing and then the excellent Tough, both tracks individual temptations which evocatively stroke the ears and beyond. The first of the pair has whispers of Hawkwind and even Yes to its endeavour whilst its successor brings a sturdier metallic flair to its sultry instrumental climate, its title a potent reflection of its heart and frame.

From the sizzling embrace of Age, its breath almost folky in touch within a throaty narrative of sound lying inside a fusion best described as Rush meets Metallica with King Crimson in attendance, the album goes on a course of four instrumentals. They have a tall order to match the heights of this impressive track but the fiery weaves offered by Sun and the sweltering charm and elegance brought by Big certainly stand strong in their majestic attempts. Next up Wet does fall short though again the piece of music is a scenic descript for the imagination to submerge within whilst the short bass driven G again shows the devilry which walks within the album, its open carnality irreverent and voraciously tempting, and sure to put a smile on the face.

Spots brings a closing rising soar to the album through the passion recruiting melodic and sonic glory of The Final. Though by this point the instrumentals have admittedly stolen the show, the last song confirms the rich craft and expansive textures the band evolves throughout Spots and their songwriting. With vocals returning to bring an appealing plaintive to the unfolding musical story, the track is an absorbing pleasure bringing an enthralling experience to a lofty conclusion. Progressive metal may still be the preferred destination if given a choice but Unified Past has certainly given food for thought and a very enjoyable encounter.

http://www.unifiedpast.com/

8/10

RingMaster 18/10/2013

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Sleepers Awake – Transcension

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With masterful potency and invigorating imagination Transcension, the new album from progressive metallers Sleepers Awake, takes senses and thoughts on a seventy minute flight through incendiary soundscapes and emotionally fuelled journeys leaving the richest captivation on ear and passions. It is mightily compelling and accomplished slab of inventive melodic fire which incites the surest pleasure and ignites a new beacon within the genre.

Formed in 2005, the Columbus, Ohio quartet of vocalist/guitarist Chris Thompson, guitarist Rob Bradley, bassist/backing vocalist Kedar Hiremath, and drummer Chris Burnsides, first made a wider impression on certainly the progressive and post-metal underground with debut album Priests Of The Fire, a release which was no stranger to acclaim with its adventurous intent and diverse flavours and textures. The self-released Transcension is no different and destined to find the same reception at the very least, and one suspects, even stronger passion fuelled acclaimed reactions with its impressive and thoroughly exhilarating evolution. The greater invention to songwriting and sound is breath-taking at times and always enthralling as tracks and album lifts the listener into a realm of torrential emotive provocation. There is also an anthemic energy to Transcension, its excited presence and voice thrusting a rich fascination of ideas, lyrical narrative, and seductive enterprise straight to the heart. It is not a perfect album but walks the rim of that plateau from start to finish, standing as one of the most thrilling albums this year.

The names of the likes of Tool, Opeth, Mastodon, even Rush have been cast over the band leading up to the album release and at times it is easy to see why especially in regard to Tool but there is much more to their sound and immediately across the opening tracks we would add the likes of Life Of Agony for the depth of emotion and dramatic structures to the songs, and Poet Of The Fall for the more instantaneous melodic temptation offered. Do not mistake this as suggesting the album is an echo of such references or from the constant mention of its melodic heart that it is a mellow or restrained beast. The album stands apart from most with ease and has a snarl and aggression which leaves you exhausted. It offers a seamless merger of glowing sonic beauty and stern merciless shadows making for a sensational exploration.

With a concept based around the tale of an augur (a priest in the classical world) and his struggle with higher forces while exploringcover the depths of existential contemplation as the venture moves through magical worlds lined with fantastic creatures and surreal imagery, Transcension opens up its experience with The Augur and takes mere moments with its first breaths of sonic guitar beckoning to draw strong attention. Soon into its charged presence with the excellent vocals of Thompson making a further deeply persuasive introduction to the unfolding lyrical emprise and mutually charismatic sounds, the track stirs up appetite and emotions with continually intriguing and evolving invention, intensity and melodic imagination a fluid shifting instruction for hunger and rapturous reactions.

The impressive start is soon built upon further by the outstanding Burdened and the equally stunning Apparitions. The first of the pair is a nine minute plus epic of melodic parades and vigorous rhythmic enticements which again never stay in a single stance for longer than necessary as it ignites visual soaked thoughts and poetic imagination. There is a loud Perfect Circle/Life Of Agony whisper across the track, especially vocally, as well as a prowling and intimidating guttural glaze found by the vocals which adds a caustic embrace ensuring the course of the song is never straight forward and safe. Arguably the track is over long for personal tastes but in saying that there is never a moment where captivation wanders or thoughts look at the hands of their impatient watch. Its successor opens on an expansive ambience with the enveloping breezes soon joined by fervent expression and zealous emotion from vocals and the melodic call of the guitars. Veining this throughout the drums and bass reveal inciting sinews for a predatory essence behind the even more Keith Caputo like tones of Thompson. It is a song of aural alchemy and such its power and craft alongside its predecessor gives the rest of the album a tall order to replicate, something it valiantly fails at such the strength of these songs.

If the album started at this point there would still be nothing but full praise and greed for the release, the likes of the rapacious Slave Within with its unexpected guttural squalling, the equally scowling Saint Condemned, and the magnetic instrumental riveting Circles Without Division, all explorations of and inducements to the ripest depths of mind and soul. The fusion of light and ferocious dark in the first two of these songs is immense whilst the crystalline sonic shimmers and melodic flames around a busy populace in the third pure temptation.

Through to its conclusion the album continues to seize and paint upon the listener’s emotional canvas, the deliciously descriptive beauty of Throat of Winter and the tempestuous Equa Mortuorum two more major landmarks in the traversing of the chronicle. Transcension is an intoxicating album which though it has its greatest strengths at the fore of its spellbinding company never slips below giving an intensely emotion and mentally arousing impact, and leaves one final slice of galvanic glory with closing track The Fulcrum to linger in its wake.

If progressive metal with true heart and sizzling imagination without any form of indulgence is on your menu than  Sleepers Awake and Transcension is a must. It is a fulfilling and invigorating piece of artistry, a must have should have for all melodic metal fans.

http://www.facebook.com/SleeperRock

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/06/2013

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