Icons – Lifesigns EP

Icons band

Crafting their own very appetising take on metalcore, UK band Icons certainly on the evidence of their latest EP Lifesigns, has a potentially rich and potent future ahead of them. Consisting of four tracks which rage at, coax in, and invigorate the senses, the release is a sizeable introduction to the Leicester hailing metallers. It is fair to say that there is not a major expulsion of genre shaking invention or sounds from band on the release but plenty to suggest that the quintet is capable of such feats in the future as they evolve and hone their songwriting.

Formed in 2011, Icons has earned a strong reputation with their live performances alongside bands such as Bleed From Within, Hacktivist, Martyr Defiled, Continents, Giants and Napoleon. With a collective blend of inspirations from the likes of The Ghost Inside, Architects, Parkway Drive, Periphery, Northlane, Bleed From Within and Heart of a Coward, the five piece conjure up propositions which certainly do not slip past ears and attention easily. Their songs provide a skilfully layered alignment of sounds and textures; hooks and rhythms spearing the creative landscape with equal purpose and passion to the voracious vocals. It is a raw and uncompromising endeavour but one with a wealth of enticements to seduce and transfix the imagination.

Opener Cataclysm strides into view with jack booted rhythms and a caustic sonic haze, its infectious enticing soon permeating ears and Icons Lifesigns EP Covereagers thoughts. Taking a breath to establish its intent, the track then winds its sinewed riffs around the senses as the beats of Alan Forrest punch with a sure antagonistic touch. It is fiery bait which is soon under the squalling vocals attack of Neil Vernon, his coarse roars a scathing incitement within the emergence of sonic enterprise cast by guitarists Nick Toutjiaris and Joe Newman. Clean vocals join the picture next to bring a warm temperance to the still blustery gruff narrative, the union of both within the creative tempest of sound stalked by the great throaty bass provocation of bassist Chris Riley, magnetic in the least and thrilling in its strongest moments. As proven across the whole release though the ‘weakest’ elements are those vocals, both clean and raw deliveries undeniably potent instigators of the lyrical climate but at times landing wide of the levels musically the track elevates to.

Though the next up Fall of Avarice offers a similar scenario, it is not as big an issue as it might suggest with both styles working well enough but a further honing to rest easier within the maelstrom of inventive sound whilst still achieving their intensive aims would seem a wise move. The second track twists and flirts with the senses through intensive riffs, muscular rhythms, and a rigorously designed entanglement of sonic enterprise which holds the imagination capture from its opening play. The cleaner group vocal calls work perfectly it has to be said providing an anthemic pull which further entices the appetite to reconfirm that those vocal nags are minor for the main.

The latest single, Helios steps up next with viciously shaped grooves and melodic shards of adventure, the combination another easily accessible lure to immerse bravely within. The track creates scenery of emotive reserve and ravenous spite, both evocative propositions which merge fluidly together as the sounds expand their resourceful premises. It is not as striking and imposing as the previous songs with the vocals again raising small questions but still a song sparking keen attention and a lingering success for itself and band which is very easy to often return to.

The closing Hitch 22 opens on a rugged storm of strictly invasive riffs, deeply barbed hooks, and a contagious rabidity which instantly secures focus and hunger. Stretching its muscle flexing arms around the ears, the song proceeds to jab and scythe its way into the passions whilst simultaneously lighting the imagination with gentle but evocative short melodies and again superb group vocals, something they should definitely employ much more. The best track on the EP, it is a skilled cantankerous maelstrom which engrosses from start to finish and almost alone reveals all the promise within Icons to indicate that they are a real prospect as an emerging force.

There is plenty more within Icons to come, a continued evolution needed to see the band find a spotlight outside of the crowd but Lifesigns indicates that all the weaponry and craft is there waiting to be bred into something unique as it provides a very satisfying and enjoyable base to start from.

The Lifesigns EP is available now @ http://iconsuk.bandcamp.com/ as a buy now name your price download.

http://www.facebook.com/Iconsmetal

8/10

RingMaster 15/05/2014

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High Hopes – Self Revival

High Hopes photo 2

Building on from their acclaimed self-titled debut EP of last year, UK melodic metalcore band High Hopes unveil their first album, a release which leaves a wealth of promise and thrilling potency within the band the overriding impression. Released via Italian label This Is Core Records as was their EP, the eleven track slab of incendiary and provocative metal leaves a lingering satisfaction and suspicion that the band is destined to many exciting horizons such their intensely passionate and thunderous sound. Self Revival startles and surprises at times and in other moments feeds expectations and avoiding uniqueness, but for the lasting impression it is a vibrant and adventurous encounter which explains the buzz around the band.

Formed in August of 2012, the quintet of vocalist Nick Brooks, guitarists Nathan Pryor and Krishan Pujara, bassist Shaun Flanagan, and drummer Daryl Pryor took little time in finding themselves sharing stages with the likes of Your Demise, Palm Reader, Giants, and Oh Sleeper and making an inroad into Europe with their live performances. Their EP only accelerated the reputation of the Reading band; their powerful sound bred from the inspirations of The Ghost Inside, Parkway Drive, and Killswitch Engage upon their own invention, accelerating a rapidly rising fanbase around them. Entering the studio this past April with producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Evile, Sikth, Wildhearts), High Hopes has created a savage assault of a release, one as rife with hardcore animosity as it is metalcore destruction but an album that blends in a melodic weave and contagious enterprise which sparks an eager appetite.

It takes merely the first breath of opening track Seize The Chance to unleash the full intensity and effect of band and release. The guitars High Hopes artworkare soon shaping a sonic colouring to the rhythmic frame and intensity brought by the cracking swipes of Pryor and darkly shaped menacing prowls of Flanagan. It is an intimidating yet inviting lure into the song, the melodic venture bait for the imagination and the aggressive core a temper to thoughts intending to immerse in a light hued world, not that it is possible anyway when Brooks is unrelentingly squalling with his gruff animosity at the ear. With a generally singular style of delivery admittedly given good variety by group roars at times, his presence which from the start suits and pleases the songs is one that over the tracks does lose its strength of appeal due to the lack of diversity. It is a knack and ability which the likes of frontmen from bands such as Gacys Threads and Lantern For A Gale achieve even if not with open visibility, and one hopefully Brooks will acquire over time as his presence certainly enhances songs.

Through the likes of the intensive Seeking Truth with its gripping musical and emotional rabidity, the riveting 1953, and Strength To Strength, the album continues to enslave attention and appetite, the middle of the three especially exhilarating and a pinnacle of the release. It initially makes its acquaintance with a presence closely linked to its predecessor Renew Reform, but is soon carving out new walls and heights for Self Revival with twists and turns that leave the senses and thoughts invigorated and hungry for more.

Further major highlights on the album emerge with firstly the staggering climactic assault of The Balance, a song which for its first half is a formidable opponent until it whips out voracious swipes of rhythms and guitar venom to take it up many levels, and the blistering Endurance, another tempest of malevolence and creative entrapment which is impossible to resist, especially the scarring riffs and technically honed sonic lashing of excellence. The other songs on the album are all pleasing threats and captivating violations but lacking the spark or distinctive presence to make them stand out on the album. As the rampaging Days Fade To Grey closes up the brawl though, you sense that individuality as a band is not that far away, the song a scintillating slice of instinctive passion and enthralling imagination and easily the best track on the album with the biggest well of promise to spark confidence in the future of High Hopes.

    Self Revival leaves as mentioned thoughts and assumptions soaked in positivity over the band even if it maybe does not quite live up to the strengths of its peaks enough times across what are all enjoyable slices of metalcore adventure. For a debut full-length though it makes for a potent base for the band to launch from and you suspect that High Hopes surely will.

http://ihavehighhopes.com/

7/10

RingMaster 02/10/2013

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Shai Hulud: Reach Beyond the Sun

pic nathanielshannon

pic nathanielshannon

There is a full tank of positives you can place upon hardcore punk metallers Shai Hulud but the richest element they have is their passion, the fuel to their songwriting, creativity, and performance. It has always driven their sound and set the band above most similarly gaited bands, the furnace which fires and defines their distinctive and provocative confrontations. Returning after five years with new and fourth album Reach Beyond the Sun, the band and sound has lost none of its intensity, in fact it sees the band even more confronting and ferocious than ever. Released via Metal Blade Records, the album sees the band brewing their recognised sound into another raw and abrasively inciting tempest. It is less metal lined than previous release Misanthropy Pure and arguably a step back to earlier releases in sculpted intent but a storm from the band which is better than ever.

Reach Beyond the Sun is produced by New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert who was the vocalist upon Shai Hulud’s 1997 debut album Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion. He also performs vocal duties upon the new album bringing extra fire and visceral angst to the riveting release matching the imposing hardcore punk venomous sound. The album also features guest vocals from the likes of Jay Pepito (Reign Supreme, Blacklisted), John Vigil (The Ghost Inside), and Louis Hernandez (Alpha & Omega) among many, as well as former Hulud vocalists Matt Mazalli, Damien Moyal, and Geert van der Velde, all on the track Medicine to the Dead. Lyrically the band evokes and incites emotions as powerfully as ever, inviting and challenging the listener to delve deeper into feelings and thoughts personally and in regard to society and the world. Sonically and verbally the release scorches the senses and emotions to provide a canvas and aural caustic paint box to picture the scourge and wonder that is the human condition.

The release immediately and potently squalls within the ear with opener The Mean Spirits, Breathing, the vocals of Gilbert 11183_JKTcoursing through the senses with fire in their blood to match the scything rhythms of drummer Matt Covey and scarring sonic riffing from guitarist Matt Fox, all stalked and matched by bassist Matt Fletcher. With a melodic acid as rich and vigorously fruitful as the aggressive changeable stance of the song, the track is a powerful blaze of inventive and direct confrontation which energises and intimidates with impressive force.

     I, Saturnine with its corrosive breath and anthemic animosity and the irresistible title track both continue the impressive start to the release, the second of the pair one of the biggest pinnacles of the release. Through its heart driven intensity and intriguing shifts of energy and pace there is a torrential rain of sonic punk confrontation in sound and word which ignites deep inside. Through the likes of the towering A Human Failing, a track which stares you straight in the eyes and demands attention and thought, and the sensational Man Into Demon: And Their Faces Are Twisted With the Pain of Living the band just enrich and devour the senses and emotions further and deeper. The latter of the pair is a delicious unpredictable maelstrom of anger, imagination, and intensity which shifts its pose and structure relentlessly to simply magnetise and thrill.

The already impressive album gives its biggest triumph in the stunning To Suffer Fools, a brawl of punk, hardcore, and antagonism sculpted into a virulent contagion of malevolent sonics and breath-taking ingenuity which infests, infects, and seduces the passions. The track is the band at its most powerful with energy to splinter bone, a spite to wither defences, and a skilled prowess from all to leave most other bands inventively and inspirationally in their wake.

With songs like Monumental Graves and At Least a Plausible Case for Pessimism leaving further elevated heights within the outstanding Reach Beyond the Sun, Shai Hulud show no let-up in their ability to inspire and set bench marks for other hardcore/metalcore bands to aspire to.

http://www.hulud.com

9/10

RingMaster 22/02/2013

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Giants: These Are The Days

British punks Giants have just raised the intensity of their already ascending rise to the fore of UK rock music with their new mini album These Are The Days. Raw and abrasive yet melodically smouldering and as expected fully anthemic, the release is a thumping explosion of melodic, skate and hardcore punk which elevates an already impressed view of the band.

The Essex quintet still approaching two years into its life, first grabbed wider attention with their debut self released EP, as well as their storming sets alongside the likes of The Bled, This Distance, The Ghost Inside, This is Hell, For The Fallen Dreams, More Than Life, Azriel, and Haste The Day, each show and step creating a honed sound and an irresistible energised experience for a growing following. The new release is set to accelerate the rate of their ascent to what one can only see is national recognition.

These Are The Days opens on the thumping clash of sound and energy which is Did It Mean So Much To You, the track a fiery riot of muscular riffs, coarse vocals and scarring melodies. It is a hungry and forceful assault brought with craft and unbridled passion, the guitars leaving a smoking trail whilst the bass is simply a deliciously heavy dark predator throughout. It is a mighty start to the release and already shows a deeper strength and maturity to the sound of Giants which the following songs all endorse.

The following song When It Comes Down To It is a continuation of the aggression, its raw breath a scraping rub upon the ear smartly soothed by heated harmonies from excellent clean vocals amongst caustic shouts and sharp incendiary melodies. The track bristles and swaggers throughout before launching into one of the best finales in a song for a long time, its united shouts and driving thrust irresistible.

The tempest of attitude which is Snakes with its snarling bass intro next leaves one breathless and sets things up powerfully for the first of two tracks which are easily the best on the release. Won’t Be Told is an immediate anthem for voice and heart with group chants and metallic intrusive riffs riling up the senses. The following melodic vocals amongst further squalls of spite and knee buckling rhythms  as the song moves forward, are sparking and rabid making for a storm of total pleasure. Violent and merciless it lights up the air with fine craft and imagination.

Another Day, Another Year (Wasted) is similar in structure to its predecessor and alongside it steals the honours on this impressive release. Once more the bass is a real highlight, its tones a bestial and immense presence within another metal driven slab of punk rock. The band fusing multi genres with great skill without losing their core drive of sound.

With the brief instrumental Bottled Up leading in to the tempestuous closer Boneless, the EP is an energising and fully pleasing release which deserves every good word and acclaim it is destined to receive. These Are The Days shows that British punk rock is back at a forceful high with Giants right to the fore.

https://www.facebook.com/giantsuk

RingMaster 16/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Beyond Betrayal: Money Can’t Save You Now EP

Barbaric and venomously twisting the new Money Can’t Save You Now EP from UK melodic metalcore band Beyond Betrayal is a stirring and impressive brute which leaves one bulging with satisfaction and anticipating even greater things ahead. There have been plenty of emerging metalcore bands over recent months, many offering a melodic element, but the quintet from Barrow in Furness easily stand at the fore. Arguably the band has still to define and unleash their own uniquely distinctive breath but they already sound apart from and head most of the new bands which makes the future for them and us very exciting.

Formed in 2009, the band has worked hard to shape and evolve their heavy inciteful sound through live shows, relentless practice and their well received self titled debut EP a year later. 2011 saw the band with a line-up change and arguably a new focus and strength to their sound, the metalcore heart energised with elements of death and progressive metal brought with a sure and keen touch. To this there is a sharp melodic enterprise which wraps around the intensity with intelligence whilst the grooves which rear up at times are borne from the wanton side of infectious. Released August 27th, Money Can’t Save You Now is the thrilling evidence of the depth and power which has emerged within the music of Beyond Betrayal, the release a mighty step on their accelerated ascent. As mentioned one feels their sound is still in progress towards its full identity but still leaves one deeply impressed whilst setting a level for others to aim for.

The Shane Frisby (Bury Your Dead, The Ghost Inside) mastered release opens up with the November, a track which goes for the jugular with aggression and fine craft. Within moments riffs are stripping and scarring flesh with expert sonic artistry whilst the vocals of Vinnie Dickinson seize ears to take them through a storm of guttural spite and sprawling serpentine malice. Driven by a sadistically manipulative groove the track is a maelstrom of energies and rhythms which only ignites the fullest fires. The guitars of Tom Fisher and Scott Shields are perpetually shifting the presence of the song, assaulting the senses with tight vindictive riffs or taunting them with insatiable and golden melodies. The song is an outstanding start elevated into something extra special by the seamless and unexpected progressive aside. Dropping into a tingling caustic whisper the track gives one time to step back and take it all in before surging back with intent and power for a towering climax.

With a distant drum n bass kiss to herald its presence the following Scott’s Got A Time Machine (He Told Me Tomorrow) crawls all over the senses and licking its lips over the onslaught and violation to be delivered. As with the opener the beats of drummer Jake Newton are crippling at the very least whilst bassist Arron Twinney drools rhythms like a ravenous not to be denied predator. As the track expands its grip and flexes muscles it whips up niggling persistent grooves to swarm around the corrupting tempest of undulating riffs and consistently shifting dynamics. The track is outstanding and asks for many returns to take in all on offer, though that can be applied to most of the five songs.

The following Tear Me Apart has a progressive soundscape and offers an air of Bullet For My Valentine to its sound whilst its successor What Lies Inside strikes with a violent purpose and incendiary melodic imagination. The second of the pair scampers all over the senses with intricate craft and disorientating intensity to again leave one unprepared and satisfied at the multi directional turns of the track. Neither song quite lives up to the first two tracks but still leave a deep and welcome mark in their wake, their sounds a sure pleasure for an fans of bands like I Killed The Prom Queen or Bring Me The Horizon.

The EP ends with the best song, the title track. It is a rampaging hungry bruising of energies which rages like an inferno at times and bewitches with dribbling melodic teases in other moments. It is a tremendous song which unveils the full expressive and inventive scope of the songwriting and accomplished skill of the band whilst triggering the imagination of what the band should and will create as they grow. The Money Can’t Save You Now EP is one of the best metalcore releases to be let loose this year and marks Beyond Betrayal as a band to stretch and take the genre into new and expansive places.

http://www.beyondbetrayalofficial.co.uk/

RingMaster 22/08/2012

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Corroosion: Dirt Awareness

Like the effect of sand in a wind tunnel notched up to the maximum, the new album from Italian deathcore band Corroosion is as abrasive and lethal as their name gives hint to. It is a nasty and destructive piece of work, a sonic blistering without mercy or respect. It is also corruptively magnificent. Dirt Awareness is not the easiest of listens or probably not the most appealing for some at times but stare it right in the eyes and it is becomes one of the more rewarding albums to assault the senses this year and has the makings of an insatiable addiction.

From Turin, Corroosion emerged from the ashes of Hekatomb in 2005. Consisting of vocalist AnD, guitarists Sentenza and Lino, bassist Marco, and Dave on drums, the band made their first mark with their 2008 demo Maze Of Human Deprivation. Relentless gigging followed as well as the six track EP Two Steps Before The Vein, the band all the time creating attention grabbing strokes with their storm of extreme metal leading them to sharing stages with bands such as The Acacia Strain, Deicide, Neaera, Annotations of an Autopsy, Knights of the Abyss, and Slowmotion Apocalypse. Mid 2009 and the band signed with Rising Records and set to work on their debut album Punish The Mind with producer Alan Douches (Killswitch Engage, Emmure, Carnifex, The Acacia Strain, Cannibal Corpse),which was released the following year. 2011 saw the band destroy stages alongside the likes of The Ghost Inside, Bleed From Within, Suffokate, Trigger The Bloodshed, For The Fallen Dreams, before working on their second album. Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (At The Gates, Job For a Cowboy, Bring Me The Horizon, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames) and released again on Rising on July 23rd, the album is a titanic treat of invention, imagination and outright violence.

The album creeps up on the ear with the opening to Awareness as echoes of war emerge from the sinister whispers to be replaced by the intrusive windings of guitar grooves and flesh grating vocals. At full stretch the track badgers the senses with crisp punchy rhythms and bruising riffs through an attack which seems tempered, as if the band is simply teasing and taunting its victims. The intensity though is oppressive throughout and heightened in the climaxing storm of scowled group vocals, rigid beats, and manipulative guitars, and the song itself the intimidating beginning and appetizer for the annihilation ahead.

The crushing and quite brilliant track The Loser Slave flies for the jugular within seconds of its appearance, air flaying riffs and grinding grooves to open up the deepest sores laying siege upon the senses. The song evolves into a raging stomp of sounds and bestial borne vocals with a ravenous hunger not to be denied. It is pure malevolence brought with the surest ferocity but dive beyond the surface and there is a continual evolution of invention and sound going on which makes every rampage a new offering. It is this which has the band standing out over other similar bands and makes Dirt Awareness far more than a great album.

More impressive brutality comes in the form of the greedily consuming and relentlessly raging Crimes Of Fathers Times with its dehabilitating diversity of riffs and rhythms skewered with a cruelly niggling groove and the stunning Polarity, both further scarring on the ear and scrambling of synapses with sharp twisting manipulations. The second of the two is a maelstrom of hellacious energy and sounds which use their notes like kinder to spark an inferno of fury and creative excellence to bring one to their knees.

The release is simply one continual high quality and imaginative brute with just the intensity and the caustic covering uniformal. The songs twist and turn within their skins, tempo disruptions, unexpected breakdowns, and perfect unpredictability raging in the eye of every storm such as in further triumphs like Collective Humiliation, Falena, and Repulsion, though every track deserves a mention such the depth of excellence.

The suspicion is Corroosion is still an unknown most have yet to discover but with Dirt Awareness the days of that secret is numbered with the band surely on the verge of deserved major attention.

https://www.facebook.com/corroosion

RingMaster 11/07/2012

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