Intervals – A Voice Within



    The additional information accompanying the promo for the debut album from Canadian band Intervals, declares that the quartet is ‘set to be the most exciting new progressive metal prospects of 2014 with the release of debut album, A Voice Within. As their offering seduces and fascinates it really is impossible to disagree, the nine track adventure a magnetic kaleidoscope of sonic colours, inciting textures, and contagious adventures. With a technical craft to match its progressive enterprise, the self-released A Voice Within, with distribution across Europe by Basick Records, is a maze of diverse and inventive flavours which captivates and absorbs from start to finish.

      The Toronto hailing Intervals was formed in 2011 by guitarist Aaron Marshall and took little time in earning a well-respected and acclaimed presence with their evocative instrumental soundscapes. With a line-up completed by guitarist Lukas Guyader and drummer Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis / Skyharbor), the band released two well-received EPs, The Space Between and In Time in 2011 and 2012 respectively, as well as playing and touring with the likes of Texas In July, Northlane, Structures, The Kindred, The Color Morale, Misery Signals and more. Last year a new direction was taken by the band, not so much in sound though that was unavoidably affected, but with the joining of vocalist Mike Semesky (formerly of The Haarp Machine). Work began on their first album last September with Jordan Valeriote (Silverstein, Structures, Counterparts) and what has emerged is a riveting triumph taking the band to new scintillating levels and you can only expect greater spotlights.

      The first single taken from the album Ephemeral opens up the endeavour, the track taking no time to immerse the ears in the Intervals.AVoiceWithin.cover.lotechnical skill and inventive breath of band and release. Bass and drums instantly cast a web which entangles and excites the senses whilst the guitars flirt and dance with the imagination. It is a potent start enhanced by the melodic tones of Semesky, his expressive and fluid delivery holding hands with the melody rich flames licking from within the sinew framed opener. Sculpting an aurally scenic venture which intrigues and draws in thoughts with ease, it is only hindsight and not its company which suggests the album’s introduction is merely an appetiser to greater things ahead.

    That suggestion arises straight away with the following Moment Marauder, the song a compelling temptation which enslaves and dances with the passions from its initial melodic caress and technical invention. Winding jazz bred imagination around precise and bewitching temptation, it seduces with almost mischievous glee as the vocals stroke and coaxes the emotions as irresistibly as the complicated breeze of sounds surrounding them. Dazzling bordering on disorientating , the ingenuity and sculpting of the song is a virulent lure but one which never indulges itself, each transfixing technical exploit matched by an openly accessible and infectious hook or sweeping groove aligned to the persistently persuasive vocals.

     Automation and The Self Surrendered struggle just slightly to match the album’s first pinnacle, though both build their own plateaus to rigorously enthuse over. The first offers an almost pop rock swagger within its progressive and technical mesmerism, the melodies and contagious assets framed by muscular rhythms which take no prisoners but equally have a respect leaving ardour rather than wounds. It’s equally smouldering and vivacious bait is swiftly matched by the second of the two, a song which has voraciousness to its opening technical gambit which it then lends to the rest of its potently catchy and provocative body. As all the tracks, the melodic canter never settles into one gait or stance for long, the ever evolving and twisting emprise coming with flared nostrils and irrepressible passion.

    After the brief elegant instrumental Breathe, the song allowing that very action before the next spiral of adventure, The Escape confronts the ears like a frantic acrobat, leaping through and wringing out its sonic narrative upon a mouthwatering canvas of inventive hues and emotion. Its beauty is replaced by the fiery landscape of Atlas Hour, technical poise and passionate energies once again offering a journey of unpredictable and persistently shifting scenic inspiration clad in formidable rhythms aligned to just as forceful riffs.

    Siren Sound confronts the senses next, the song a whirl of almost carnivorous jagged riffs and rhythmic antagonism reined in by the ever impressive vocals and harmonies. As the second song on the album, the track explores and unveils that something extra, something which sparks a furnace in the imagination and passions in comparison to the fierce blazes spawned elsewhere. There is a predatory instinct to the song too which inspires everything from the skill and hunger of the band to the uncompromising sounds themselves, and all engulfed in an irresistible seduction. The track steps up to offer a real challenge to the brilliant Moment Marauder for best song accolades, the pair then tested by the closing title track. Bringing the outstanding album to a tremendous close, the song stomps and teases the passions with a weave of severe rhythms, awe inspiring technical artistry, and simply unbridled adventure.

     Offering a kind of mix of Circles and Beneath the Buried and Me with TesseracT, but something different again, A Voice Within is an exceptional encounter and yes as suggested the evidence of something new and exciting emerging. The evolution to include vocals and new adventures by Intervals might just be the boldest most inspirational move from any band in recent times too.


RingMaster 05/03/2014

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Animus – Fall of the Elite

Animus Online Promo Shot

    If you understandably missed the limited regional release of the Fall of the Elite EP last year, Scottish metallers Animus have provided another chance to immerse in its tempest with its deserved nationwide unleashing. Consisting of four savagely aggressive and rivetingly varied slabs of sonic provocation, the band’s introduction is a mouthwatering onslaught providing a well of satisfaction as deep as the promise also rampaging through its sinews. Its sound whips up an antagonistic fury from a brew of progressive death metal and djent with technical and groove metal, creating a predation which is equally recognisable and innovative. Fall of the Elite certainly suggests this is a band still evolving its presence but one with major expulsions ahead you easily feel.

     Hailing from Dundee, Animus was formed in 2010 by drummer Poul Thomassen and guitarist Sam Gilmour. It was not long before the pair was joined by second guitarist Graham Brown and Gavin Holloway on bass. The first couple of years saw the band playing around Scotland drawing strong support and responses but it was with the addition of vocalist Aaron Fawns in 2012 that it could be said a spark ignited within the band, the quintet finding that something bringing everything into focus and vital explosiveness. A further rampage of shows ensued, including sharing stages with the likes of Bleed From Within, To Kill Achilles, Here Lies A Warning, Heights, Silent Screams, Chronographs, Hero In Error, Our People Versus Yours, and I Divide, all only increasing the stature and reputation of the band. The final weeks of 2012 saw Animus enter the studio to sculpt their debut Fall Of The Elite, influences from the likes of After The Burial, Suicide Silence, Bring Me The Horizon, Whitechapel, and Tesseract spicing up their own distinct toxicity. After a well-received first unveiling, the EP is now poised to work on the rest of the UK with its ravenous and creative intensity.

    Drawing a single breath whilst a groan brews in the background, opener Damnation announces its presence with an intriguingAnimus - Front Cover air accentuated by sirens and an apocalyptic ambience. With the scene set, the track emerges from the anarchy with forcibly twisting grooves and percussive provocation speared by vicious rhythms skirted by predatory riffing. The vocals of Fawns snarl and growl with bile soaked animosity, his direct intent sharing enough variety to engage whilst musically the band lashes and entices the senses with a masterful and bold invention. The song is not the most malevolent and violent proposition but holds an intimidation and intensity which leaves knees buckled and ears scarred as its imagination captures that of its recipient with ease and enterprise.

   The following DB8666 follows suit but instantly uncages a lethal groove and commanding swagger which leaves its predecessor in the shade. The swinging contagion of the track is clad in a threatening musculature upon a djent inspired spine whilst it’s flailing sonic arms and acrid melodic adventure provides the most compelling hues to potently ignite the imagination. Every move and twist of the song is pure infectious bait, at times almost too involved in itself but never relinquishing the tightest entrapment of thoughts and emotions. As all the tracks upon the EP, there is plenty to discover with each subsequent encounter, certain underlying textures and touches unveiled within the increasingly persuasive tempestuous engagement after numerous excursions.

     The following Home(less) is a bestial display of maliciousness but one aligned to the most creative progressive enticement yet. The guitars sculpt simultaneously uncompromising and seductive endeavours whilst bass and drums carve out bruising lures which also only beckon and threaten. Once again the song is a cascade of innovative manipulations which flirt with indulgence and chaos but only to tease and taunt within its skilled and deliberately devious craft. That dramatic and alluring enterprise is pushed further with the closing title track, its bewitching opening progressive design of melody caressing keys wrapping the ears in a transfixing coaxing before being joined by staccato riffs and splintering rhythms within a brawling cast of sonic causticity. Carnivorous in its stalking and guitar endeavour whilst magnetic in its continually evolving melody induced progressive searing of the air, the track is a smouldering rampancy which seizes an instant lingering submission for its ruinous nature and assault yet slowly burns an even greater seduction in the passions over time and multiple unions.

   The outstanding climax brings a similarly impressive release to a close leaving anticipation and appetite for Animus a greedy hunger. Certainly the release shows that the band is yet to find its truly unique presence but that is only a matter of time with, on the evidence of Fall of the Elite, stronger dramatic triumphs destined to follow. This is an immense exciting start and base for their horizons and the open doorway to eager recognition countrywide.


RingMaster 03/03/2014

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Verdict – The Meaning Of Isolation


A virulent scourge you will want to be ravaged by, especially if your blood boils for thrash metal, The Meaning Of Isolation from German metallers Verdict is an uncompromising slab of riveting extreme destructiveness and mouth-watering savagery. The nine track torrent of aggression and enterprise takes no prisoners and has little time in gentle persuasion, instead it simply and voraciously pillages the senses whilst rewarding with an underbelly of exhaustive yet captivating invention. The release definitely needs time and work to explore but rewards long-term with some addiction sparking technical viciousness and passionate ferociousness.

Verdict began in 1991 with a technical and melodic death metal intent and rage to its sound. Numerous line-up changes followed during subsequent years from which the band’s sound evolved and developed a deeper wealth of thrash hunger to its attack. Debut album Reflections Of Pain of 2002 brought strong attention upon the band and their emerging sound whilst the following full-lengths, Generation : Genocide of 2005 and Assassin: Nation four years later, only empowered their presence which in  turn has led to eager anticipation for the Verdict’s fourth and new album from a great many. Live the band has not left any physical or emotional stone unturned within either as they shared stages over time with the likes of Destruction, Disbelief, Illdisposed, Dew-Scented, Legion Of The Damned, Entombed, Death Angel, Gorefest, Obituary, Nile and many more. Mastered by Dan Swanö, The Meaning of Isolation thrusts the band forward to the frontline of thrash and extreme metal with a masterful display of malevolence and enterprise. The release may be just misses out on threatening best of lists this year, mainly through an arguably too similar a surface storm across many of the tracks and the lack of diversity in the vocals of Daniel “Ratte” Baptista to match the unpredictability and surprise of the music, but nevertheless The Meaning Of Isolation is a thrilling and captivating devastation which leaves the listener exhausted and deeply contented.

Leader Of The Soulless opens up the absorbing punishment with a haunting entrance; a sinister ambience brewing up a VERDICT_Coverswiftly imposing sonic menace which around an inspiring classical stringed melody, intimidates to temper the simultaneously dark seduction. It is not too long though before an artillery of crippling beats from drummer Florian Bauer corrupts the air closely skirted by melodic flames from the guitars of Marius Pack and Dave Hadarik which scorch the air whilst riffs batter its peace with carnivorous urgency. From here the barbarous persuasion is in full flight, the vocals of Baptista as vindictive and merciless as the sinews driving the sounds. It is an intensive start to the album, one unafraid to delve into dark doomier places within its persistent predation.

Manifest Of Hate and Killing Fantasies both keep the malevolence spewing from every antagonistic note and vocal squall, the first charging over the senses with a violent rabidity whilst grooves and sonic invention entwine their venomous craft around the song’s core whilst the second from a delicious dark and brooding introduction with the bass of Dave Helmstetter a pulsating evocative lure, goes on a creative rampage which bleeds intensity and wastes the welcoming senses. It does not match up to the first two tracks overall but still makes a sturdy encounter leading into the similarly impressive if not jaw dropping Layer Of Lies, a track which has a very close related aggressive and melodic cover to its predecessor and needing deeper focus to reveal its individual bait.

Lack Of Insight marks a new upturn in originality and invention within the album, the guitar twisting with bedlamic adventure to cast the first web over the ears before fusing into a resourceful and magnetic weave of intrusive and spellbinding antagonism. The track is certainly no less hellacious than previous songs but unveils a greater exploration and imagination of textures and invention which prevails through the likes of the blistering First To Fight and the creatively pungent Through The Eyes Of A Dead Man, both tracks with grooves and progressive intrigue to light fires within the imagination. The first half of The Meaning Of Isolation is an intense and formidable offering but is definitely exceeded by the second half and it’s more potent daring.

The Meaning Of Isolation returns the senses and dull peace back to its recipient but only after the barbarous Nemesis Of God, the song an exceptional beast which stalks and gnaws the listener from the inside, and its title track which provides another prowling intimidation prone to inventive sonic lashing outs and ruinous brutality, takes their pound of flesh. They complete an excellent album which from an impressive opening stretch emerges as a sadistically pleasing treat. For all thrash fans especially with those holding darker preferences in their hearts, Verdict has given the year an inventive pestilence which leaves no one disappointed or in one piece.


RingMaster 12/12/2013

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Human Improvement Process – Deafening Dissonant Millennium


A musical carnivore with no respect and mercy for the senses, Deafening Dissonant Millennium the debut album from Italian death metallers Human Improvement Process, easily reveals why the brewing hype surrounding its creators. The eleven track predator is a striking and unrelenting assault of technical death metal with the fury of hardcore and a wash of melodic metal to its antagonism. It is at times a breath-taking confrontation and always a riveting expanse of sonic intrusiveness which debatably is not re-inventing anything but certainly merging existing imaginative armoury into a fresh and potent corruption.

Hailing from Modena, the quintet formed in 2010 soon creating a string following locally. Their first EP S.T.A.R.S. of 2011 was well-received in the Italian underground scene and made a good impression in a year where the band toured Ukraine and Russia with Italian band Dufresne. From there Human Improvement Process recorded the second EP In Cristalline Worlds Beyond which was supported by a couple of videos that drew more than 70’000 views on YouTube. Signing with Memorial Records earlier this year, the band now set loose their beast of an album, a brutal pleasure you can only imagine taking the band to a much wider recognition.

Deafening Dissonant Millennium opens with the atmospheric haunting of Jenova, the brief instrumental introduction a cavernous lurea2521107223_2 with a yawning ambience. Its sinister call intensifies as it evolves into the hellacious title track, a lethal storm of crippling rhythms and predacious riffs twisted into greater malevolence by the technically sculpted guitar invention of Fabio Carretti and Francesco Pini within the disorienting drum assault of Alessandro Lugari. The harsh unbridled passion and scowling venom of the vocals prey on the wounds caused by the sound, Stefano Sebastio an unrelenting scourge of varied spite spearing the continuing to move and evolve sounds. It is an explosive start which slightly loses its potency nearing its climax of melodic seduction but only because of the immense suasion it brought itself in with.

The following Erase increases the threat and strength of the album right away, the ravenous guitar riffs and enterprise finding greater maliciousness whilst the bass of Marcello Tavernari provides a primal provocation which leaves you cowering and wanting more. The hardcore aspect of the band’s invention rages from the chorus and through the accompanying vocal scowling but surrounding it the death metal pestilence is concussive and riveting in creativity, skill, and contagion. Making an early play for best track on the album it is soon challenged by Empty Eyes and even more so by Our Last Pieces Of Sanity. The first of the pair parades an industrial causticness within the brewing extreme breath and intent of the track. It is an intriguing lure which deepens with the equally fascinating vocal suggestiveness, a hint of something unpredictable though ultimately for the main, the song sticks to its ferocity in that department until the excellent clean harmony drenched flames provided by Tavernari. An imposing treat its successor sears an even mightier intensive and compelling storm upon the senses with no remorse and unrestrained voracity, the guitars chipping away and then gnawing upon ears and imagination before soothing wounds with some excellent sonic colour and skill.

As mentioned there is enough familiarity and similarity to elements of tracks to not feel like the tempest is an unknown malefaction but as the likes of Artificial Savior and Architecture Of a Dying Sun, split by the absorbing melody bred guitar painted instrumental Materioscura, unfurl their toxicity and invention it is a undoubted refreshing fascination that is devouring body and soul.

The final trio of tracks deliver their own unique inciting fires, The Process beginning the closing fearsome and ruinous avalanche of hostility though it also teases the wounds with an evocative melodic metal enticement surrounding an excellent clean vocal wash and classic rock sinew built charm from within the tempestuous ferocity. It is an impressively designed journey which is equalled by the ravaging might of Ethereal, the track a severe challenging coating of sonic acidity over the ever furious and exciting rhythmic violence.

The Deepest Oblivion brings the defilement to a close with one last treacherous expanse of lethal passion and invention. Experimental and superbly sculpted Deafening Dissonant Millennium continually feeds to the full the hunger it triggers from its opening presence if not to the same max the appetite for complete uniqueness. Nevertheless Human Improvement Process has placed themselves to the front row of adventurous extreme metal as well as one suspects, into a wider world recognition.


RingMaster 02/10/2013

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Pteroglyph – The Great Unseen EP

Pteroglyph Online Promo picture

The excellent Found EP of last year made a striking introduction and formidable base for UK metal project Pteroglyph to stretch its evolution of invention and power from, which it surely has with The Great Unseen EP. The new release is a riveting expanse of technical art, fervour fuelled imagination, and finely crafted textures which go from chewing upon to seducing the senses within the time a breath takes to release its hunger, and back again continually. It is a masterful giant soundscape, a three part emotive adventure merged into one long rewarding excursion through shadows and blazing light wrapped in an evocative potency.

Pteroglyph is the one man project of multi-instrumentalist Jimmy MacGregor, once of one of the UK’s finest bands Mishkin. Setting out on his own to explore his unique musical premises and sculpt multi-layered technical structures within a torrent of sonic incitement, MacGregor chiselled a debut in the Found EP which was as emotionally colourful as it was metallically confrontational. Pulling acclaim from the underground media and offering a track to a cover mounted Metal Hammer CD, the release set up strong anticipation for future compositions from the man, an appetite fully satisfied by The Great Unseen.

Part One of The Great Unseen instantly unleashes a concentration of stabbing riffs with swarming sonic persistence as its companion, thePteroglyph Cover Artwork immediately riveting introduction soon joined by the hoarse growls of MacGregor and an acidic melodic wash. An intensive brew of rapier like jagged guitar spite and perpetually shifting vocal and enterprising invention, the track brings a suspicious and intimidating landscape to engage the listener whilst setting it ablaze with the excellent skill and progressively layered cutting sonic narrative. The promo accompanying the release suggests the EP is for fans of the likes of Devin Townsend, Sylosis, and Gojira, an impossible to argue with statement which can be stretched to include The First, Tesseract, and similarly inspired artists on evidence of this stretch of creativity alone.

The second part merges from an evocative mist to bring a singular guitar coaxing against the brewing storm with vocal harmonies flanking its suasion. Soon though the track has sinews and teeth coveting and assaulting the ear with pure rapaciousness whilst the vocal croon of MacGregor glides through the attack at times breaking into a rabid delivery to match the carnivorous side of the piece as melodic and atmospheric layers weave a concurrent evocative and resourceful flame to shape further tantalising depths within the track.

With the third part of the EP a tender and gentle plain of melodic and emotionally charged reflective imagination, The Great Unseen leaves thoughts and feelings soaring as high as the skies the final part ventures with its warm and evocative charms, though the outstanding heavy tones of the bass provides a dark anchor ensuring the piece of music never loses its shadowed footing as it brings an impressive release to a potent close.

Released through Red Tower Records The Great Unseen is a formidable step forward for Pteroglyph yet still suggesting there are more layers and depths to explore, which is one very exciting proposition.


RingMaster 24/08/2013

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Mycelia – Nova

Mycelia Online Promo Shot

Though at times it is uncertain what to make of some elements of Nova, the new album from Swiss metallers Mycelia, the ultimate outcome is a release which leaves the senses alive and thoughts through to passions empowered by the riveting and superbly crafted confrontation. A fusion of progressive and technical metal, the nine track album takes the listener on an enthralling and impressive escapade through sonically carved ventures fuelled by uncompromising melodic and djent invention.

Founded in 2010 by guitarist Mike Schmid and drummer Marc Trummer in the idyllic Swiss mountain town of Le Croix, Mycelia using inspirations from the likes of The Human Abstract, Meshuggah, and The Dillinger Escape Plan was soon creating potent songs. The line-up expanded soon after with the addition of vocalist Marc Fürer, second guitarist Patrick Küng, and bassist Roy Sonderegger. Two digital EPs and shows supporting bands such as Carnifex, Veil of Maya, Suffokate, and Maroon followed as the band built an impressive reputation in the metal scene of their homeland. Debut album Isolator arrived in 2012 to greater acclaim and reception though not long after Küng departed the band. Remaining as a quartet the band worked on writing their second album which they started recording in the latter part of the year with Clawfinger guitarist Jocke Skog at the controls. Seemingly investigating the depths and expanse between bands from The Human Abstract, The Faceless, and Meshuggah to those like Between the Buried and Me, Nova emerges as a riveting exploration which though not flawless leaves a very hungry appetite for the band behind.

The album opens with the towering Shmashmortion, the track immediately standing tall and wide before the ear with crushingMycelia Cover Artwork kinetic rhythms, grievous throaty bass snarls, and ravaging riffs with sonic grooving twisted around their sinews. With great and varied guttural growls squalling over the whole thing as well, it is an intimidating invitation which leaps with expulsions of raptorial intensity directly on to the senses, chewing them feverishly as the guitars dance tight melodic flames over all surfaces. Leaving breath an absentee in the lungs, the song is a scintillating fury to set passions off in tandem with the absorbing corrosive assault.

The following Ectoparasite exercises the same brew of maelstrom bred rhythmic attack and sonic tantalising but in a distinctly different gait and stance. The bass and riffs prowl and provoke a menacing narrative to the venture but that eventually evolves into a mesmeric sultry weave of melodic grandeur and emotive manipulation before returning in union with the acidic beauty. Though not as instantly dramatic as the first song it worms its charms into the heart and emerges as one of the many highlights of the release.

After the brief and refreshing instrumental Dopamine, the track a rhythmic dance within a heated sway of melodic ambience which allows its sinews to also add their potent textures, Nova takes another of numerous twists with C.O.R.P. and its invention. Ridden by less successful clean vocals which admittedly took time to adjust to, the track teases with some psyched grooves and devouring  rhythms veining another devious web of sonic enterprise which seduces the ear and emotions with ease, the technical flare beguiling without being flamboyant. Intriguing and descriptive in its aural narrative, the song leads thoughts into the visual arms of a sultry and dangerous landscape leaving behind a lingering satisfaction.

The Timemasheen is odd, well in its appearance on the release. A mix of dubstep and trance metal it is a decent enough piece which grips limbs to do its bidding without igniting any real fire in the belly but is utterly out of place on the otherwise impressively creative album. Its touch is soon forgotten though as firstly the excellent instrumental Event Horizon with its predacious intensity and carnivorous rhythmically provoked riffing makes its appearance followed by the three part expanse of The Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio – Prologue opens with a glorious kiss of classical keys and symphonic whispers before climatic drums and growing energy adds extra passion to each aspect. Bone gnawing riffs and flesh scorching grooves emerge to consume without completely dispersing the beauty as the piece pulls the listener into the heart of the sonic travelogue. The Golden Ratio – Interlude takes a moment to re-establish its classic lined grandeur before opening a torrid heat of rapacious malevolence to take the seduction to deeper depths, the pervading union realised to its fullest potency with The Golden Ratio – Epilogue.

It is a stunning three track conclusion declaring and investigating the rich lengths and textures of the songwriting and its immensely crafted interpretation. Nova even with its surprising and less successful moment is an album of the highest pleasure.  Mycelia will be a major force in the future, whether this album is the accelerator is debatable but it gives the confidence to say it will happen at some point.


RingMaster 10/07/2013

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Damned Spring Fragrantia – Divergences


There are many adjectives you can place upon Divergences, the debut album from Italian metallers Damned Spring Fragrantia, but the most accurate one is without doubt, savage. The album is primal predator, relentless, creatively skilled in the hunt and kill, and completely fearless in the lengths it will go to devour and annihilate. The ten track album is a brutal exponent of progressive metalcore/technical violence and irresistibly compelling, even as it corrupts every atom and synapse with carnivorous ingenuity.

Formed in 2006, the Parma quintet initially was a metalcore/deathcore confrontation. Line-ups changes helped shape and guide the band to the sound they were looking for and destructively lays awaiting within the album. With an invigorating technical animosity and progressive imagination to the still ravaging metalcore intent their sound is a monstrous capture of the imagination and now unleashed to consume on the world via Basick Records, Divergences takes what was started on the previous self-titled EP of 2010 on to another level. If you wanted to know what standing in the way of a tornado was like than slap this album on at the highest decibel, the only difference between the pair of viciously twisting maelstroms is that there is no merciful eye of the storm within the album.

As you can probably guess listening to Divergences is not exactly an easy or pain free experience but the damage and discomfort bred by the inventive sounds and deeply malevolent corrosion is simply delicious. For many listening to tracks singularly might be more to their liking but daring to endure the whole release in one full consumption with the songs rolling without a breath into the next brings the biggest and devastatingly impacting rewards.

Damned Spring Fragrantia, and with a name like that you have to ask if the band are hay fever sufferers as that would explain their DSF_Divergences_Covermassive musical irritability, go straight for the throat with brief opener Still Alive. Once fully unleashed it unloads towering rhythms and rapacious riffing upon the ear, their eight stringed guitars gnawing away with full voracity and drums cascading down like lead weights, it all prowled by the guttural squalling of vocalist Nicolò Carrara. It is short but impressively potent easily igniting an appetite before making way for the following A Common Tragedy. The opening melodic acid scrub is ok but soon left in the shadow of the tsunami of sonic vengeance from the guitars of Andrea Tinelli and Enrico Picari to follow, their flesh ripping riffs and searing melodic acid as intriguing and skilful as it is voracious and intrusive. Alone this impresses but with the rabidity of the rhythms from drummer Nicolò Ballabeni and the bass of Luca Marchi adding their distinctive and insatiable imagination to the continually twisted and scorching enterprise the song just ignites the fullest passion, and fears.

As the brilliant and lethally addictive The Obsidian Fate, a track with a hornet persistence and sonic sting to its venomous carvings, the excellent oppression that is D.M.Z, and the synapse condemning Pariah, featuring Charlie Holmes the vocalist of Heart In Hand, lay out their inventive and insidious presences and all with devil bred imagination and grooves to steal souls, the album just persistently rises to higher levels of impressive ingenious sonic spitefulness. Admittedly the surface of songs come in a similar hostility which can see tracks merge into one and pass by without notice if given simple mild attention, but add extra intent to your focus then the creativity and craft beneath the sonic squall is open and quite scintillating, it just demands extra work to fully discover.

The likes of Lost Shores, the rancour driven sonic toxin that is Drowned in Cyan, and the ravaging title track continue to bruise and sear the senses welcomingly whilst The Refusal Effect brings another immense highlight with its contagious melodic deception teasing whilst riffs and rhythms chew up and spit out thoughts and emotions with a technical vitriol and discord fuelled intensity. Imagine Meshuggah, Despised Icon, and the recently demised Livarkahil conspiring to leave your body devoid of hope and life and you get a sense of what Damned Spring Fragrantia staggeringly conjure.

With one final staggering inventive vendetta uncaged to close up the assault as the thrilling enmity that is Heritage, Damned Spring Fragrantia has unleashed not only one of the most exhausting and best debuts of the year so far but one of the best albums full stop. Divergences is plain nasty and strikingly intoxicating with its sonic and virulently malicious fumes.


RingMaster 24/06/2013

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PTEROGLYPH unveil ‘The Great Unseen’, out 26th August‏

Pteroglyph Online Promo picture
Pteroglyph is the collective musical and artistic workings of UK maestro ‘Jimmy MacGregor’. Ex Mishkin member MacGregor has poured from all of his vast touring and studio experience to hand-craft a record that has multi-layered technical structures, rampant fretwork and colossal power—all from one talented individual!
After cutting his teeth for over eight years playing with a series of well respected bands, Jimmy decided to strike out on his own, taking it upon himself to build the foundations of a new project that would become Pteroglyph. Under the guise of Pteroglyph, Jimmy has already released his debut EP ‘Found’, which garnered widespread underground support, including having a track from the record selected for the cover mount CD of Metal Hammer (January 2013). The EP has helped to rapidly increase Pteroglyph’ s national profile and fan-base.
Pteroglyph now step up with a brand new record entitled ‘The Great Unseen’.  The new EP boasts an impressive array of styles and swings from Devin Townsend-esque soundscapes to the ferocious beatings of Sylosis and Gojira. Encompassing three merged tracks over fifteen minutes, the record rips open the envelope, pushing fresh boundaries and illustrating Jimmy Mac’s extensive creative talent and craft for producing cutting edge and exhilarating progressive metal.
Pteroglyph Cover Artwork
* Pteroglyph’s new EP ‘The Great Unseen’ is unleashed on Monday 26th August through Red Tower Records and is available through all national outlets and stores.*
TRACKLISTING: 1. The Great Unseen (Part 1-3)
BAND MEMBERS: Jimmy MacGregor – Vocals/Guitars/Programming/Production
FOR FANS OF: Devin Townsend, Sylosis, Gojira


MYCELIA to release their album Nova on Monday 15th July‏

Mycelia Online Promo Shot


With an expansive collection of influences and an intoxicating presence that draws from the progressive and technical metal musings of The Human Abstract, The Faceless, Meshuggah, and Between the Buried and Me, Mycelia have sculptured an engaging sound that will utterly consume you.
Born in the idyllic Swiss mountain town of Le Croix, Mycelia’s fiercely robust blend of hard-edged progressive metal is the perfect example of a band rebelling against their surroundings. Founded in 2010 by Mike Schmid (Guitarist) and Marc Trummer (Drums) who had a strong fondness for the  likes of The Human Abstract, Meshuggah, and The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mike and Marc soon began to lay down their very first tracks, and within a matter of months, the duo managed to assemble a full line-up with Patrick Küng joining on second guitar, Roy Sonderegger on bass, and vocalist Marc Fürer, stepping up to add another layer to the band’s already formidable sound. The Swiss slayers then went on to cultivate an impressive following in their homeland by releasing two digital EPs and by supporting the likes of Carnifex, Veil of Maya, Suffokate, and Maroon, along the way.
Regrettably, just before the release of their 2012 debut album ‘Isolator’, Guitarist Patrick left the band and the quartet spent much of the year regrouping, writing for a record, and playing a series of profile shows in Switzerland and Austria. During the later part of 2012, the rejuvenated foursome hit the studio with Jocke Skog (guitarist of Clawfinger) at the helm and started work on their sophomore album ‘Nova’.
The rambunctious four-piece came out of the studio with an explosive record. The album instantly takes off at breakneck speed with frantic drumming, searing riffs, and deep growls with the opener ‘‘Shmashmortion’, which buries itself deep within your eardrums. The pace continues with the stabbing groove of ‘Ectoparasite’, before the ambient dynamism of ‘Dopamine’ glides you to another dimension. Next up, the twisted texturing of ‘C.O.R.P’ clearly illustrates the band’s diversity and deftness, while the three part attack of ‘The Golden Ratio’ further exhibits the quartet’s indisputable power and guile as they weave and pound your inner cranium to marvellous effect.
Mycelia Cover Artwork

System Annihilated: Furor


    Swedish metallers System Annihilated have announced themselves through debut album Furor, as a band capable of already providing a formidable and thrilling encounter but also one rippling with an undeniable promise of even greater things ahead. Their first release is remarkably impressive considering the age of the band and one destined to place them immediately many rungs up the extreme metal ladder of recognition.

The band from Umeå was formed in 2009 when its members were only 13/14. The subsequent four years has seen the band establish themselves as one of the most powerful in sound and invention emerging bands in Sweden with the further reaches of the globe about to have their first rewarding taste of the aggressive corrosive riches of System Annihilated. Their sound is a senses stripping fire of death metal and hardcore equipped with progressive flames and ill-tempered technical metal, a blend which is exhausting and invigorating in equal measure.

Released via Discouraged Records and recorded with legendary metal producer Ronnie Björnström (Aeon, Zonaria, Ghamorean), coverFuror immediately scars the synapses with opener This Apocalypse, its entrance a fire of ravenous squalls from vocalist Christoffer Jonsson within thumping rhythms from drummer Joel Widengren Lundström and the caustic riffs of guitarists Petter Adsten and Kalle Kjellberg. It is a startling fury completed by the predatory rumblings of bassist Viktor Kröger, the combination a furnace of unbridled intensity and grievous aggression. Instantly the passion and energy of the band and album pounces on the senses whilst their musicianship leaves the listener transfixed as firmly as the expansive violating sounds. There are loud whispers of the likes of Meshuggah, Periphery, and Gojira alongside winds of Sybreed and Cryptopsy to stretch further the undoubted invention and accomplish craft of the band.

The first track is an immense start soon left in the wake of the title track and further songs like The Bitter End and Let The Rain Tear It Down. The first of these is a tsunami of rabid grooves and senses depleting riffs again driven by rhythms which venomously splinter bone. It is a brutal and intense affair which ravages with primal energy and skilled malevolence brought through the striking and impactful musicianship of the band. The second of the trio pushes further the open diversity within the songs on the album though all crush resistance with a similar intent and creative template. With an initial persuasion coming through a piercing resonating sonic embrace and nastily jabbing beats, the track is a bruising treat of exploitive irresistible grooves and heinously debilitating rhythms, and one very irresistible violator whilst Let The Rain Tear It Down slowly absorbs and seeps within the body through a seductively insidious sonic wrap and voracious riffs once more caged by unrelenting barbarous rhythms.

Alongside The Bitter End the biggest triumph on the album comes through the virulent spite of Seven, a track speared by an antagonistic groove and a malicious craving to consume and fracture the senses. It is a delicious assault of perfectly structured aural spite and unbridled inflamed rapacious passion.

Furor ends as mightily as it began with the twin chewing of the ear from Parasite and We Stand Alone, another two songs which confirm System Annihilated as a potently powerful band with a maturity and potential to become much more. It is almost frightening how good this band could become based on their first release and we as we suspect every other person to stand before their skilled tempest will agree, cannot wait.


RingMaster 20/02/2013

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