The essence of greatness: an interview with Franky De Smet Van Damme of Channel Zero

CZ Franky

The recent release of Kill All Kings, the new album from Channel Zero, comes after one of the most tragic and devastating times a band or anyone can experience. The death of drummer Phil Baheux left not only the Brussels band but metal itself distraught. After time to recover the band decided to continue and to record the album Phil was set to record with them. What emerged is an encounter which makes for a thoroughly enterprising engagement and makes a fitting tribute to their friend. We had the pleasure to talk with vocalist Franky De Smet Van Damme who kindly shared memories of Phil, as well as telling us about the impact of his sad passing, the new album, approaches to recording and much more…

Hello Franky and thanks so much for sharing your time with us.

You have just released your new album, the irresistibly enjoyable Kill All Kings; it must be an exciting yet also a sad moment for the bad with the album the first release since the loss of colleague and friend Phil Baheux. What are the feelings as the album makes its first steps into the world?

Well it’s a hard step … when you see how much pos vibes we have for that new album … Phil should have been here with us … sometimes it’s hard to get what life brings you … happiness and sadness can be so close together …

 

Phil

Phil

Can we briefly talk about Phil before concentrating on the album. He was a well-loved and rigorously respected musician and man by fans and the metal world, and of course a brother to you guys. Could you give us some insight into the man and his craft?

Well first of all he was a tall man …6 foot …a giant with a heart of gold … when he had it for you… he would have died for you … he had that comic thing in him … he was an 24/7 entertainer … when he was around us we were always hearing him goof around with everybody … it’s so quiet now in studio and on shows … we really miss him so much as a friend, there was no way you missed him when he was there … it’s still hard to get …

It must have been touch and go whether the band continued after his passing. What gave you the strength to continue and push the band on again, which we all know is what he would have wanted?

Well at first it was a hard time, we were so much in shock because he was really in such good shape … and then the next moment you can hardly believe what’s going on … his son of 5 years was always there with us … so much drama. I was out of options … we were about to record the new album 2 days later and as most of you know … that always starts with drums … so we were devastated. One month later we still didn’t know what now … we were still in that hanging phase where we didn’t really knew what, when or where … meanwhile we had had a message through a Belgian fan that met Lars Ulrich who made his condolences to us … and he also said … what happened was so tragic but please move on … Phil would have never want you to stop here … and pretty soon after that we also got that reaching hand from Roy Mayorga (Mikey’s good friend from in Soulfly ) who said if you want to make the album in memory of Phil I want to help you guys out, I’d be happy to do this for you …so we decided to make the album and see from there on, since there was no intention at all that Roy would play drums in Channel Zero. That’s how we got back on the rails.

As mentioned you have just released Kill All Kings, a fiery contagion of thrash and groove infested melodic metal. For us the album sits somewhere between modern thrash and its origins whilst adding its own individual twists. How would you describe its potency?

I think it’s got that look back and respect for the metal machine build-up of riffs and power and at the same time I’m always the guy that looks forward … that combination of Mikey and my pulling forward in ideas works well. It’s the second album now and we start to make things really work together … the music match is also very strong between Mikey and me, so it’s all about vibe and hard work.

I’m always concerned about … what is now … what should be the vibe now … 2014/2015 … I’m not the kind of person who looks back to much …

It is a fair old time since the band’s formation in 1990 of course, a time which included a decade or so long break, so how would you say your sound has most powerfully evolved since those early times and Kill All Kings? Channel Zero - Kill All Kings

That new impact comes from Mikey … he was highly needed in pos vibe and power to make this happen … so I found a music soul mate and a brother at the same time, destiny I think … sometimes things happen without a reason … this had to happen … I call it Channel Zero 2.0 ;-)

Did you have reservations going into the album’s writing let alone recording because there was no Phil to drive the rhythmic provocation?

Well this album was already there before Phil passed away so the songs were created with Phil’s impact … in demo writing we use drum computers to write since we don’t have budgets to record whole demos in studio. What happens is that when songs come together, Phil always kinda followed the drum tracks so we were sure it was something he could go for … it would have been crazy to try to program things that we could not play later on live. So here we were totally there, all songs were chosen to record with Phil …

There was a deeper personal element to songs, lyrically and musically, than ever before on a release this time for you?

Well the impact of Heart Stopped, the song that was kinda of rewritten in „ Angel „ acoustic, was a hard one … Brothers Keeper too … these songs now refer so hard to what happened so that’s really emotional … on the other side I have always written lyrics that have a deep impact or feeling to me …

I have that thing where I want to wake up people’s conscious … always been my intention in writing lyrics.

The recording must have been very hard especially but it sounds on songs that emotion rife in the studio went into a stirring and anthemic passion which soaks the release. Do you feel that too?

Well we want to make songs that kind of stick to the brain … we wrote about 40 of them and when you write more songs you always have more good ones in the end … that’s a thing that probably made all the ones on the album have a certain strength … which they should have.

Impact and dedication … lyric wise and song wise …

Tell us about the songs on the album, Phil’s involvement if at all, and the inspiration for the majority of their themes.

All songs are written by Mikey musically and then I come into the game with feelings … vocal lines … and that is where it moves on … sometimes it falls really fast together, sometimes it goes slow in writing. When things start to pop up at the surface it means it sticks to the brain … so we learned to take time …

We must admit we expected to feel or hear something missing in the rhythmic part of the album, no disrespect to Roy Mayorga who joined you in the studio, but the man nailed it in a different way to Phil but as potently…

I think that’s normal … Roy really listened hard to the demos and he wanted to put his heart and soul into it but off course Phil and Roy have both different playing styles We tried to find that sweet spot with Roy in the studio … to make it work in such a way that Phil would have loved it … we really worked hard in that vibe or direction and it was not easy for Roy to step into someone else’s shoes but he really did such amazing job and impact … all in the memory of Phil … we can’t thank him enough for that …

Having been one of the most notable driving forces of European thrash in the nineties have you felt the need to twist your sound to bring it ‘up to date’ with modern sounds within the genre or has it organically simply evolved for the new album and its predecessor Feed ‘Em with a Brick?

The change was obvious … we had a new guitarist and automatically we moved on to something different but the impact we wanted to give was still a metal impact and sound so Mikey was a dream scenario, even if we didn’t have many things in mind when he joined. The new album has evolved to better songs and also we thought about it way more that F W A Brick … I think that’s an evolution you owe to your fans and yourself also…

There seems to be two camps in regard to modern thrash and its varied flavoursome design, old school fans who hate it and those who devour it eagerly. How have you found responses with a sound which embraces both aspects?

Well as I said before, Mikey embraces that old school metal vibe which he understands really well as a metal guitarist … and on the other side I’m always open for new things …and the mix was important too, I made some decisions that had to be done and I think we made a move that kinda made it work … I mean by work it gets accepted really well so I hope we can surprise people with our 2014 album ….

Channel Zero - Band Photo 2014 #3 - Photo Credit Tim TronckoeWith plenty of albums under your belt, have expectations over the way you approach recording new records changed over time?

Yes it has … bands have less and less budget and ways to record without making any comments on the downloading thing …

With no income anymore for most bands out of the fact their music gets copied … it gets more and more complicated to bring it on.

I always say … if you have 3 months time or 3 weeks time to build a house … which house will be the most finished? Working on music still brings in the fact it will probably be stronger as a song …

I still believe that producers make a big difference also, their knowledge is inevitable but who can still pay a decent producer and pre-producer so all these things matter. The band has to have a certain strength but on the other side the people that work on your music also have their talents and qualities so I still believe in the strength of working together … not in making an album in your living room and selling it on your own. A couple of exceptions out of the world-wide market maybe make it work like that but 98% of the majority of the bands they only work like that …

Do you still get the same buzz?

Well if you write good songs you hopefully get good reviews etc. … if the music talks the rest walks, I still believe in that…

You released Electronic Cocaine as the first single from the album, strong bait to the album for sure; tell us about its background and creation.

Its lyrical content is about the addiction we all have on the social media and internet … it’s a American term for people being hooked on internet and the fact that our brain needs the dopamine of getting tickled, when we receive less messages our brain is disappointed … it’s a typical human reaction but we can’t live anymore without the net and that’s where that lyric goes all about, about the fact we all are hooked without realizing it anymore. For me the song has that strong verse pre-chorus chorus impact … I really love that song personally, it is a favorite for me …

Roy Mayorga was only involved in the recording of the album, so what is ahead in the rhythm department for the band?

We are not going to replace Phil … we will play with drummers that will take his seat; we are not ready to have a fixed drummer on Phil’s seat. It’s too emotional ….same for band pictures with someone new … it’s a bit more complicated than you should think

And for the band as a whole, live shows?

Well in the meantime … Seven Antonopoulos plays drums live and he is making a great job helping us out. He is a great drummer and awesome person, we are so grateful he is there for the moment. We hope we can get on tour any time soon with Kill All Kings; we get really great reviews everywhere so when we are getting the possibility to tour … we will get on that bus…

Thanks again so much for chatting with us, any last thought you would like to add?

Thank you for checking us out and thank you for taking a spin on our new album … and if we convince you, come to a show to see Channel Zero live … and thank you for all your messages of respect for Phil .

Looking back at the writing and making of Kill All Kings, is there one overriding aspect or emotion which marks its moment in time for you?

Phil’s passing should not have been there … life is precious … keep that in mind, live your life to the fullest because it can be over before your realize. Happily Phil lived his life at 200 M/Hour … I’m happy he did, he was a great person and awesome brother.

Read the review of Kill All Kings @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/channel-zero-kill-all-kings/

www.channel-zero.be

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/07/2014

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Architect Of Seth – The Persistence Of Scars

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The Persistence Of Scars is an album which leaves you bruised and disorientated, mentally exhausted and at times bewildered, but mostly the debut album from French Progressive death metallers Architect Of Seth, leaves you transfixed and aggressively keen for its unrelenting unpredictability and technical magnetism. It is a demanding release which definitely needs a concentrated time to unravel its creative maelstrom, something which arguably is never wholly achieved even after a tide of visits, but it is a ‘chore’ always welcome and rewarding.

Architect Of Seth was forged in 2006 as a solo project by guitarist/vocalist Paul Rousseaux who released a pair of demos, Eldorado that same year and Pax-Labor in 2007. Subsequently guitarist Yohann Kochel linked up with the Caen project, expanding a sound and depth which takes inspirations from the likes of Death, Theory in Practice, Coroner, Pestilence, Nocturnus, Bathory, Emperor, Martyr, and Necrophagist into its technical and ravenous invention. The Persistence Of Scars is the pair’s debut album, a creative tempest exploring themes of hate, science, religion, and nature within a ferocious furnace of imagination and hostility which whether venomously cascading or rabidly savaging the senses unleashes a spellbinding intrigue. The album is often mentally corrosive and physically punishing, rarely an easy listen but always offering a lure which locks in the imagination and appetite.

The Persistence Of Scars opens up with LFDY and its gentle stroking of evocative melodies. It sets a peaceful and warm scene, the guitars casting colourful bait and coaxing skies before a lumbering rhythmic intimidation and darker shadows to all facets, cloud over the landscape. It is a portentous breath now igniting the imagination, the foreplay to a thrash driven onslaught of rapaciously intensive riffs, animosity clad rhythms, and the hoarse scowls of Rousseaux. It is a relatively straight forward assault, though already teasing as sonic and unpredictable designs begin to unveil their tenacity. Now settled into its tempestuous purpose, the guitars of the two protagonists twist and cast a maze of persistently testing enterprise through the song. It is the beginnings of a spiralling technically striking ingenuity which at times makes perfect sense and in others just loses thoughts and understanding, which is where repeat plays is essential with an album like this. There is cohesiveness and fluidity to it all though which never falters in its hold of an increasingly hungry appetite for what is developing and never derails the malevolent toxicity and ravenous brutality at the song’s core.

The first track is alone an exhaustive tsunami of predacious imagination, so with six more similarly sculpted propositions to come, a legacy of hard work is inevitable starting with Engender of Confusion. Riffs and grooves are immediate and as intensive as the rhythms alongside them, each worming under and pounding the skin respectively as the caustic spite of Rousseaux scars the air around them. With crystalline shards of keys flirting with ears within the by now merciless torrent of vicious charm and debilitating ideation, whilst orchestral tempting plays with emotions, the track sears flesh and thoughts as it seduces both ears and mind with insatiable inventive rabidity. Arguably easier on the psyche because of its relatively brief length compared to the first, the song also finds a greater clarity to its no less bedlamic ingenuity before making way for Transhumance Astrale. The third track takes little time in firing up the primal instincts with a torrent of thrash/metal suasion before warping it all with breath-taking skills and perplexing yet deliciously gripping, psyche violating creative intercourse. The track, as all, is a storm of technical mastery and constantly evolving revelations to again captivate and fluster, but most of all ruggedly enthral.

By this point already the album is wearing down the senses it has to be said, though not the hunger for more. As mentioned, in many ways it is not certainly physically an easy listen which is compounded as both Embrace of Anguish and Hybrid Consuming Flesh unleash their fiercely creative and intertwining inventory. The first of the pair brings some respite though with a mesmeric classically honed piano enticement to seduce ears and inflames thoughts initially. It is a bewitching piece which eventually drifts away for the impending storm. Thunderous rhythmic clouds and sonic strikes blow across the senses before a malevolent haunting and intensive juggernaut of provocative sound suffocates light and peace. Its instrumentation and aural narrative is mouth-watering, a tight capture of the passions which does lose some of its grip with the entering rage of vocals and manic invention with constantly unsettles in its turns and expulsions. At times the track is irresistible and in other moments pushes its boundaries beyond organic accessibility, yet still it entrances and steals the imagination for a pleasing if unsure success. Its successor is a more bestial provocation with a flank ferociously rippling with again unsettling ideas and creative incitement. It also offers a great emotive persuasion of keys at times, a beacon within the corrosive belly of the savage beast.

The album concludes with firstly the outstanding Tears Empty of Sadness, a track which finds a more balanced blend of extreme metal vindictiveness and technical exploration which is why it takes best track honours. Everything works perfectly, the invention of the band still flaming intensively but finding a more understanding fit with the toxic brutality of the song. Every song on The Persistence Of Scars impresses it is fair to say but this one shows the potential of the band most intensively as they further grow into and hone their undoubted skills and ingenuity. The song’s success is supported enjoyably by Teacher of Nocturna, another track to align the maniacal technical beauty and gut instinct severity of the band for a grievously strong and testing, but smoother to understand and relish creative onslaught.

The Persistence Of Scars is a great and demanding encounter which leaves a satisfied wake whilst suggesting that Architect Of Seth has the potential to create a classic ahead. This album is not it but holds all the pieces and keys to the potential sculpting of one.

The Persistence of Scars is available as a 7 track CD via Great Dane Records @ http://www.greatdanerecs.com/ or a 3 song download @ http://architectofseth.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ArchitectOfSeth

8/10

RingMaster 17/07/2014

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Overpower – Greatness Within

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Casting a groove infested thrash bred temptation of modern metal Greatness Within makes a potent and intriguing introduction to Croatian metallers Overpower. The band’s debut album does not offer ground-breaking rages or startlingly unique tempests but grips attention with accomplished and enterprising twists on a fusion of sound which instinctively sparks a keen appetite for its recipe. It is a roaring and bruising onslaught of rapacious riffs with matching antagonistic rhythms all bound in a web of grooves and melodic acidity which easily ignites the imagination. Primarily it is an entrance which casts Overpower as a formidable protagonist of flavoursome hostile metal.

The band began in 2006, formed by guitarist Daniel Badanjak, bassist David Vukusic, and drummer Frane Velcic. Playing mainly covers from the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Judas Priest, the band searched for their own direction with original songs over the next couple of years. A few frontmen were tried whilst Velcic left the band, his departure seeing the joining of drummer Hrvoje Dizdar. After the leaving of another vocalist, the band contacted Velcic to come in as frontman for a gig they were playing. Such its success he decided to remain in the band as vocalist before the Zagreb quartet set about recording Greatness Within. With an open vein of inspiration from the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Slayer, and Down to the band and sound, the album boils up a skilled and magnetic storm of voracious metal which may not startle but definitely excites

As soon as the opening steely dark throated tones of bass opens up Paid Trip to Nightmare, attention and swiftly after appetite are caught and ready to embrace the opening song. A heavy swipe of guitar brings drama to the sinister air before casting a captivating web of slightly portentous but enthralling colour to the breath of the song. The kick into a thrash fuelled charge is quick and seamless, the track suddenly a savage rage of destructive rhythms and hungry riffs ridden by the raw and rasping growls of Velcic. Exhaustive and thunderously impacting, the track is an explosive start; a searing solo and anthemic tenacity all adding to the compelling bait.

The following Final Laughter makes a purposeful if reined start, riffs and rhythms again hitting hard with an even paced intent whilst the excellent bass suasion of Vukusic is grizzled in bestial voice and presence. More expectations feeding than its predecessor, the imposing brute of an encounter still draws an eager hunger with its muscular rhythmic punches, stalking riffs, and the excellent coarse tones of the frontman. It keeps the album on a richly satisfying course before being put in the shadows by the outstanding Conqueror. Instantly wrapping ears in a melodic enticement, the track has thoughts engrossed, especially when stretching its sinews with predacious riffs and again controlled yet intimidating rhythms. It is a commanding persuasion which steals greater glories with its step into a groove spiced melody inflamed passage of resourceful design led by the excellent switch into clean vocals. It is a masterful and riveting turn which works perfectly with the entwining voracity of sound and intent around it; the song easily the best thing on the release.

Both Life in a Lie and the title track give it a run for its money though, the first emerging from a haunting atmosphere with a Pantera like swagger to its stroll and savage tone to the bass. Soon aided by bewitching grooves and the continuing to impress vocals, the song lurches like a predator of carnal persuasion across thoughts and imagination, setting a danger bred canvas lit by searing flames of guitar enterprise. As most songs there is a familiarity to its body and heart but nothing to defuse its impact and absorbing call. In a different guise its successor is much the same, brewing up a less than strikingly new proposition but gripping attention with resourceful and imposingly attentive sounds to which the return of clean vocals alongside the dirtier delivery only increases the pleasure.

The grievous bass sound of Roulette again ignites a swift licking of lips to which the furious torrent of crippling rhythms and riff sculpted severity thrust forward by the raucous spit of dual vocals brings a wider grin. The track is a thoroughly agreeable rampage across ears and emotions. Anthemic and hard hitting, as all the songs, the onslaught of predation leaves passions full but ready for much more which Monster soon provides in uncompromising style. With a gentle guitar and vocal croon the song transfixes senses and imagination, its opening tale the fuse to exploratory thoughts which are given another dose of incitement by the heavy crawling bestial weight and intensity straight after. It comes with a net of sonic intrigue and vindictive rabidity, courtesy of the bass, a weave ridiculously gripping and deliciously infecting.

The song is a mighty end to an impressive release though there is the Outro to actually bring the album to a close but it is a decent but nothing piece of music which just sits showing its creative muscles. Greatness Within is a powerful debut which without drenching itself in originality marks out Overpower as a potential clad strikingly enjoyable prospect, with already the skills and sound to make large and potent statements.

Greatness Within is available now via Geenger Records and @ http://overpowerzg.bandcamp.com/album/greatness-within

https://www.facebook.com/overpowerband/

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

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Beneath Dead Waves – Inertia

Beneath Dead Waves Online Promo Picture

There is a storm brewing within UK metal and it comes in the thrilling shape of London based quintet Beneath Dead Waves. The quintet has just unleashed debut album Inertia, a thunderous and magnetically diverse slab of modern antagonism which is one of the most potential soaked exciting introductions to a band in a long time. It is a monster of a release, an encounter mauling and gnawing the senses but equally seducing with a technical craft and striking imagination which ensures swift allegiance to its call. There is also an undefined vein of familiarity to the proposition which brings a kinship to the unpredictable and ruggedly inventive exploits unveiled. Inertia is not the greatest album this year but right on the frontline of the most thrilling.

Beneath Dead Waves was formed in 2007 in Dorset by vocalist Joey Draper, guitarist Doug Cartwright, and drummer Leigh Costanza, the trio bringing the inspirations of band such as Between The Buried And Me and Tool into their creative whirlpool, as well as varied styles from thrash to groove and nu to progressive metal. The result as evidenced by Inertia is a rigorous persuasion which though holding familiar aspects, is still a unique incitement. The band relocated to London spending the next few years writing and recording before finding guitarist Matt Reeves and bassist Chad McCamlie, whose recruitment brought the band a new depth and potency in sound. Last year saw the band igniting stages and playing with the likes of Monuments, Intronaut, and Scale the Summit, and before its end the single Imperfect released to acclaim and eager appetites. Inertia is the next mighty step in the ascent of the band, one impossible to ignore or not find a forceful hunger for as well as what comes next from the five-piece.

The release opens with Nemacyst, the song taking mere moments to intrigue and fire up attention with its initial swirling graze of guitar Beneath Dead Waves Cover Artworkswiftly joined by dramatically textured riffs and demanding rhythms. Setting down its frame, the song erupts into a thrash fuelled rampancy driven by the raw vocal squalls of Draper, his tones an appealing irritant to match the nagging surge and intensity of the guitars. It is a stirring start which only strengthens its lure when Draper switches to clean a delivery, the frontman showing impressive prowess in both his attacks, and a weave of technical resourcefulness from the guitar. Admittedly on first listens the impressively skilled flourishes felt out of place, walking the wrong side of showing off within the rapacious turmoil, but though here it still does not quite convince, across the album the stunning skills and invention only warm a lustful want for more. The song continues to twist and flirt with ears and thoughts as it crosses it’s almost eight minutes of compelling adventure, painting a startling landscape of expressive ingenuity across an aggressive canvas. It is a stunning start straight away backed up by its successor.

Delirium similarly comes out with all guns blazing, riffs and rhythms crowding senses as a sonic toxin coaxes the imagination. Establishing its intent, a step into a slower predatory stalking ensues, guitars and vocals prowling ears whilst bass and drums draw an intimidating bait to further the seduction. As its predecessor the track swerves into unexpected detours and inventive asides, all seamlessly sculpted and each imposing new narratives and textures to contemplate. As all songs those earlier mentioned influences add spice to the maelstrom but equally here and more so through other songs, you can hear slithers of bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Korn, Lamb of God, and Exodus at play, though ultimately it is something individual to Beneath Dead Waves.

Both the compelling Deliriant and the title track grip the tightest hold of attention and appetite, the first a hypnotic mesh of dark seduction and rabid hostility which bewitches and violates simultaneously. It is a glorious and exhaustive tempest of merciless attitude and creative intensity, riffs scything across senses whilst rhythms badger and pummel their walls further. It is a formidable provocation to which the again dual vocal incitement of Draper, alluring shadows, and a searing solo cast rich tempting hues. Its successor soothes the bruising with a gentle opening, guitar and keys a warm caress courted by the darker but no more intrusive tone of the bass. With clean vocals adding their tender touch, the song is an elegant breeze though soon prone to eruptions of expressive causticity and sonic abrasing. Again there is a web of technical resourcefulness holding the imagination, taking the listener deeper into a storm gathering weight and passion within the alluring terrain. Eventually that pressure breaks for an equally tempting flame of thrash bred suasion veined by sonic spires, though one bred with melodic and stoner-esque colouring. It is another forcibly convincing emprise of sound and thoughts, the album growing with every breath and song into a mighty marker for the band.

Next up You Were Nothing pushes into a heavier rock fired premise, the vocals of Draper clean but equipped with a great growl which easily slips into his caustic side whilst the guitars groove and court the passions with a smoothly evolving and changing intent. Not the strongest song on the release compared to its companions, the track still pleasingly shows the potent and richly pleasing diversity of the band in songwriting and sound as it makes way for the outstanding Imperfect. It is easy to see why the single lit fires in so many people and the media. From its first Korn like bait, the track just grows and towers over ears with a bitterness soaked antagonism and harsh smothering of riffs. As always it is just a moment in a constantly moving onslaught, clean vocals and melodic crooning worming in on the persuasion as technical enterprise fires up its invention. It is a scintillating encounter, the band merging styles and flavours with creative alchemy so that the song alone sparks determined interest in its creators whilst within the context of the album it shines like an anthemic beacon within a raging fire.

Inertia is completed by firstly the virulent and emotive hurricane of A Life Worth Taking and lastly the excellent fiercely yet seductively impacting Suppressional. The track brings hints of Josh Homme inventiveness into a melodic rock embrace which itself is encased in an agonizing swamp of metallic and vehement kissed voracity. It is a stunning end to a striking release, a last showing of the already impressive and sure to grow to greater heights, craft and invention of the band. They and their sound can only get better which is a thrilling thought, one you suspect a new army of fans will also have for Beneath Dead Waves from now on.

Inertia is available now via Nemacystem Records through all stores.

http://www.beneathdeadwaves.com/   

https://www.facebook.com/beneathdeadwaves

9/10

RingMaster 30/06/2014

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Valdrin – Beyond the Forest

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There are two sides to Beyond the Forest, the debut album from US black metallers Valdrin; one a flowing landscape of poetic imagination basking in colossal emotive melodies and enveloping atmospheres and the other a pestilential savaging infesting senses and thoughts. Both are irrepressibly compelling and entwined into a masterful captivation of ruinous intent. Brewing an enthralling toxin of black metal with twists of thrash and death metal bred voracity, Valdrin is an attention grabbing and exciting new protagonist, and their album a demanding and intensive experience which makes you work for its rewards but offers them impressively.

Hailing from Cincinnati, the trio of Carter Hicks (guitar/synth guitar/vocals), James Lewis (bass), and Ryan Maurmeier (drums) have drawn comparisons to the likes of Emperor, Bathory, and Dissection with their uncompromisingly creative scourges masquerading as songs. Their music is not just ravages of the senses though as the trio’s ability to cast weaves of orchestral and intimate beauty woven with riveting melodic design within angrily tempestuous climates and assaults is bewitching. As mentioned it is not an easy accessibility offered by band and album but one which fills and ignites every spark of a synapse, thought, and emotion.

Beyond the Forest emerges through instrumental A Drain in the River, it a heavily portentous and disturbing scenery of dark menace valdrin-beyondtheforestand emotional suffocation leading into a world of danger and tormented souls. The journey of the album is menacingly afoot and soon thrust into the malicious jaws of the title track. Riffs and rhythms rampage with a pack like rabidity from its first breath, never reining in its voracity even as insidiously serpentine vocals and warped sonic grooves spread out from within the maelstrom. The track is a savage aggressor but one with sleek invention and sonic poise to not temper the hostility but certainly shed a magnetic light over its violence. The narrative of the ten minute adventure is venomously expressed by the acidic vocals, their presence another aspect to acclimatise to but embraced heartily before the track is in its final throes of animosity. With a terrain which is persistently evolving and shifting the band immediately shows the depth and invention to their songwriting and imagination. With classical guitar and melodic reflection as absorbing as the ferocity burning elsewhere, Beyond the Forest is a masterful and gripping continuation of the entrance into the heart of the album.

The individual skills of the band is a constant open source of pleasure, the following Rusalka Succubus right away continuing the almost progressive flair each member explores within the vicious turbulence and spiteful malevolence bursting from each track. Again the song is an intensive oppression on the senses at its core, a thick abrasion which alone would be hard to penetrate or arguably endure; it is scored and laced with irresistible melodic grandeur and ingenuity though which simply seduces ears through to emotions as a ghostly elegance calls with sirenesque persistence from within the beauty.

   Serpent Willow launches at the senses next with a flailing barrage of rhythms and ravenous riffs, a thrash seeded bitterness driving the thrust of the song. It is a tremendous violation of ears, a savage bestial ferocity which digs deep and long with its rabid hooks and insatiable grooves before making way for Impaled Visions Breed Within the Vines. This is another track where the thrash instincts of its primal intent steers the rage but where its predecessor is single minded in its attack, this thick wind of sound and emotion breathes with a celestial grace and melodic appetite within a rapacious animus. As with most tracks the song needs time to unveil all of its dark crevices and evocative structures but the bait right away is merciless and an ever increasing lure as the track reveals its glory.

Both Calling to the Canidae Hordes with its refreshing but malicious flume of bad blood around a spellbinding enticement from the guitars and the epic flight of Through the Catacombs enslave attention and imagination next. The first is a galloping call to arms, an almost festive swagger and glee to its web of sonic endeavour shining from within an open rancor whilst the second of the two songs is similarly buoyant in its suasion but darker and more intimidating in its shadows and clawing rhythmic nagging. As with all breath-taking melodic sculpting and evocation brought by Hicks it comes under an exacting examination of not only drums and bass but his vocal enmity, but always succeeds in making an impacting persuasion. It is a masterful mixing by the band under a great production which whilst clouding and accelerating the dark cavernous pressure of songs allows clarity for the caressing intricacies and inciting melodies of songs. The brilliant and exhausting race against time fuelled torrent of riffs and rhythms at the tracks climax is mouthwatering, igniting a greedy appetite for the demonic beckoning and pillaging of the senses from Come Forth. Thrash riffs and tenacity again infiltrates and swamps the passions, the track a blistering and scintillating onslaught with thrilling guitar toxicity.

Through the nefarious yet enchanting call of Darkness as Black as Evil and the infernal climate of Battles in the Medieval Sky, band and album cast new and constantly twisting provocations whilst an expansive submergence into In the Vortex of Time / Relinquish Flesh is as breath-taking as it is disorientating, the heart of the blackest soul wrapping its damned elegance tightly around the senses. As all songs on the release, the tracks are never a clear or straight forward picture as inspired ideation and creative bravery contrasts and complements the heart of songs.

Closing with the impressive drama and rich melodic colour of Forgotten Souls and its final dark invasive premise, Beyond the Forest is a fascinating and richly exciting introduction to Valdrin. Do not expect to understand and discover everything about the band and what they have to offer quickly or easily but that just makes their album a long-term investment for the imagination and passions. Valdrin has the potential to be very special; they are half way there already with their deeply striking debut.

Beyond the Forest is available through Blasthead Records now @ http://blastheadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-forest

https://www.facebook.com/valdrinausadjur

8.5/10

RingMaster 04/06/2014

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On Top – Top To Bottom

on top

The Top To Bottom EP is the return of US rockers On Top and it is fair to say that they are not only back in full riotous form but coming equipped with a tastier potent sound than ever before. Three years ago the band released their attention grabbing debut album Top Heavy, an acclaimed and thoroughly enjoyable release marking the hard rock scene’s cards. It was not an encounter which lit blazing fires in our personal hunger but certainly kept a keen appetite on standby. The new release is another matter which though it still does not push the Philadelphia trio into being an essential part of our heavy rock menu, is destined to become a regular aperitif.

Formed in 2008 by vocalist/bassist Jaron Gulino(ex-Trasher, BSOM, Capitalist Death Machine, and Midnite Hellion), On Top soon had a demo recorded with session musicians Brian Davis (guitar) and John Norcorss (drums), Another Night of Sleaze swiftly pleasing newly recruited fans. The band’s first official line-up followed soon after and saw the addition of drummer Danny Piselli (Fisthammer, ex-Vulcan, ex-Coffin Dust) into the personnel. The following year saw a line-up shift occur before the quartet recorded the self-titled six-track EP in 2010. Further line-up disruptions caused the band to take a brief hiatus before mid-2011 Gulino and Piselli returned with of guitarist Alex Kulick (ex-Striker) alongside. Top Heavy was uncaged in the November of that year via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, its release thrusting the band into a new spotlight as well as shows and tours which reinforced their energetic reputation on stage. Now with guitarist Brian Davis linking up with Gulino and Piselli, On Top come forth again to reveal a new maturity and endeavour to the songwriting and sound, as well as a stronger punk rock essence adding to the bands richer and captivatingly contagious bait.

Mixed and mastered by Chris “The Wizard” Collier (KXM, Lynch Mob), Top To Bottom swaggers into focus on a deliciously toxic bassline, frontcovera wantonness right away teasing ears from No Shame which is taken up to greater effect by the fiery strides of guitars and crisp beats. Into full stride the song is instantly anthemic to which the Zack de la Rocha like tones of Gulino brings a raw and appealing antagonistic edge. Davis is just as swift in impressing with his sonic and melodic endeavour, riffs and grooves all rich in colour and creative energy, as are the swiping rhythms of Piselli and the continually grouchy bass of Gulino. The song is certainly not pushing into new fields for hard rock but undoubtedly giving it a new infection of energy and enterprise which hits the right spot.

The following Cold And Blue is equally a familiar but refreshing protagonist, riffs grazing with pleasing causticity and vocals bringing again a great punk rawness to the contagious presence of the song. A relaxation of energy mid-way loses some of the impetus of the track though it provides a strong canvas for the excellent bass and guitar hues to paint a captivating narrative before the song returns to its feisty and infectious stomp.

Don’t Go makes the best entrance of all the songs, once more the heavy dark resonance and growl of the bass enslaving ears as haunting crystalline scythes of guitar vigorously shimmer across the potent enticement. It is a mere breath though before grooves and melodic flames expel their imaginative fire across the enveloping dramatic landscape of punk and heavy metal with rich strains of blues rock. There is a beefier intensity and ferocity to the song than on the others, a hunger which does not lose any of the virulence drafted on its predecessors as it brings a predation to its attack which fully captivates as it takes best track moment.

The closing Bad Love is a thoughtfully and skilfully crafted offering but lacks something which pushed the previous songs to lofty heights. Certainly the guitar craft and rhythmic demands are as impressive and potent as ever and vocally Gulino takes no prisoners with his appealing delivery, but there is a spark missing. Nevertheless the song proves again the new invention and adventure of On Top is an impressive step forward and leads anticipation of their next full-length to make an appearance.

On Top is a band still moving towards fulfilling their potential but are certainly on course and the right lines as shown by the thoroughly enjoyable Top To Bottom.

The Top To Bottom EP is available via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions now!

http://www.ontoprocks.com

8/10

RingMaster 04/06/2014

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Morbid Slaughter – Wicca

MORBID SLAUGHTER BAND

On the evidence of their new 7” vinyl release, there is something definitely compelling about being examined by the exacting thrash fuelled black metal malevolence of Peruvian metallers Morbid Slaughter. They have a sound which is vociferously raw and rigorously invasive and taking the two tracks within new release Wicca as an introduction, magnetically riveting.

Formed in 2009, Morbid Slaughter explores themes of horror, witchcraft, and murder in their encounters, earning a potent reputation in South American metal and apparently in Atlanta. The Lima quartet of vocalist/guitarist AER, bassist TERRA, guitarist IGNIS, and drummer AQVA unleashed their first demo release, Ensayo in 2010 followed two years later by the Torment in the Crypt Demo and last year The Summoning of the Graveyard Ghouls Demo. 2014 has seen already the …Rancid Death Awaits 2014… album released, a compilation of the previous two EPs on Putrid Cult but it is the new Boris Records released Wicca which excites as the band has their first release to be offered to the world.

The title track starts things off and within a breath has ears up against an eager and vibrant scrub of riffs. Crisp punchy rhythms add to the MS_Wicca_7inch_cover_artbrawl which is already squaring up to the senses, their union with the bass a relentless rapacious antagonism. It is unfussy thrash metal roaring in the ears but one seeping blackened malevolence especially in atmosphere and through the serpentine vocal rasps. It is not a perfect proposition, the vocals of AER across both songs simultaneously agreeable yet a little off-putting but to all extent and purposes do convince after numerous forays into the pit of the release, though personal taste still has a little reservation. Also the production is not the best, suffocating the spark of the songs in many ways stopping them from flaring as you feel they should, but to be fair the first song is a festering storm of metal sculpted rock ‘n’ roll which recruits a hungry appetite for its highly satisfying incitement.

The insidious contagion and malicious intent of Wicca is followed by The Nightly Breath of God, another track which reaches from the dank blood sodden earth with a thrash spawned pestilential voice and heart. Riffs and grooves coax the passions with further impressive bait whilst rhythms splinter bone and air with swinging spite as the psyche grasping vocals crawl over thoughts and emotions with toxic syllables and raging rabidity. It is a great track which as its predecessor, survives the obstacle of the production to impress and inflame a real appetite for the band and its sound.

Morbid Slaughter is a thrilling and enthralling encounter, the perfect protagonists and soundtrack providers for a truly vicious adult version of Tales From the Crypt or Night of The living Dead in our view, and a sonic plague easy to recommend extreme metallers and fans of bands such as Sabbat, Carpathian Forest, and Sarcofago allowing to venomously finger their attention.

Wicca is available via Boris Records @ http://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/wicca-7

https://www.facebook.com/MorbidSlaughterOfficial

8/10

RingMaster 31/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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BENEATH DEAD WAVES crash in with ‘Inertia’ on 30th June.‏

Beneath Dead Waves Online Promo Picture

UK NEWCOMERS  BENEATH DEAD WAVES RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM THIS SUMMER!

 

London metal combo ‘Beneath Dead Waves’ drop their debut album ‘Inertia’ on Monday 30th June through all digital outlets.

Originally formed in Dorset back in 2007 by Joey Draper (vocals), Doug Cartwright (guitar) and Leigh Costanza (drums), the band take from a cluster of influences spanning from old guard luminaries such as Tool through to contemporary heavyweights such as Between The Buried And Me. The Southern riff masters blend key elements of thrash, groove and nu-metal with an aggressive attitude and progressive mindset to create a unique and striking signature sound.

 

After relocating to London and spending several years writing and recording, the band finally recruited the right members to fully enhance their sound when Matt Reeves (Guitar) and Chad McCamlie (Bass) stepped into the breach and added further weight and depth to the group. By 2013, the quintet began to hit the road and in passing opened for the likes of Monuments, Intronaut and Scale the Summit. By the end of the year, the metal crew released their new single ‘Imperfect’ which garnered strong praise and helped to boost the band’s growing following.

In 2014, Beneath Dead Waves turned their attention to recording their full length debut album, entitled ‘Inertia’. Spitting out eight tracks of venomous edgy heavy metal, the record is laden with mighty riffs and skewed phrasing all fuelled by real invention and earnest intent. From the guttural attack of ‘Nemacyst’ to the album’s namesake ‘Inertia’, which oozes true groove and innovation with its shifting sections and keen use of dynamics, and onto their recent single ‘Imperfect’ which is a blistering full frontal blast of Thrashcore aided by shrewd craft and another thoughtful arrangement, this record is sure to make its mark. Look out as Beneath Dead Waves hit the road this Summer.

 

-BENEATH DEAD WAVES RELEASE ‘INERTIA’ ON MONDAY 30th JUNE THROUGH ALL STORES-

Beneath Dead Waves Cover Artwork

www.facebook.com/beneathdeadwaves

Yugal – Enter The Madness

yugal

Though the dark intrusive provocation unleashed by French metallers Yugal upon their new EP Enter The Madness may not be carving out a dramatically original bedlam, its raw and uncompromising attitude and skilled enterprise makes it an encounter which rigorously infests the imagination and passions. The five track tempest of sound and aggression is an easily accessible and demandingly intensive affair. It holds no major surprises but rewards attendance with a predatory fusion of thrash, death, and groove metal which captivates imagination and appetite alike with its riveting raw sound and invention.

Hailing from Vannes in Brittany, Yugal formed in 2010 with their first demo From Pain to Pleasure emerging the following year. It was the striking six track EP Illusion of Time in 2013 which drew a certain concentrated attention upon the quintet but it is easy to predict that Enter The Madness will be the most potent trigger in thrusting the band into a greater deserved spotlight. Infused with supposedly oriental spices, though we suggest they are more Middle Eastern seeded, the new EP reveals a band which has impressively matured in songwriting and sound whilst retaining the passion and superbly sculpted hostility which marked its predecessor. Arguably the release lacks the unique character to set itself apart from the busy crowd but you can easily feel the potential of that realisation lying in wait within the extremely pleasing proposition.

The release opens with an instant lure of Spanish bred guitar as Mindless Fool edges into view. It is an enchanting entrance which a3390718700_2immediately has thoughts grouping around its emotive texture. The gentle coaxing is soon submerged in a tempestuous roar of thumping rhythms and intensive riffing, a furious but deliberately shaped storm which tenderises the senses ready for the irresistible grooves which begin veining through the thick fury. Those Eastern kissed grooves come with a mischievous swagger, a relish which also permeates the coarse rapacious vocals at times, both sauntering through ears with a confident contagion and magnetic toxicity. The track is a scintillating incitement, setting the release off on a major pinnacle which truthfully is worried but never matched again.

The following Free Jail though gives it a more than valid go, its opening bluster of causticity through again rampant rhythms and coarsely grazing riffs a formidable invitation into mystique clad grooves and refreshing hooks. Group vocals behind the lead provocation also add to the fullness of sound and narrative as the song evolves into something comparable in many ways to Bloodsimple meets Sepultura with extra fuel from Cryptopsy. The guitars weave an enthralling suggestiveness upon the compelling canvas built by the brutal rhythms and predatory basslines, whilst vocally the band reaches deep into its malevolence and anger to bruise the senses just as voraciously though they equally come with an intrigue and swing which makes addictive bait. It is an absorbing antagonist soon matched by the title track, its entrance upon a barbarous flurry of rhythmic intent another viciously catchy beckoning. That infectiousness continues across the whole track as the guitars once again cast woven grooves and melodic acidity into the annihilatory riffery prowling thoughts alongside the dark hearted bass. The song proceeds to ravage and seduce with increasing success and strength, building to a fiery finale which leaves ears ringing and appetite greedy.

Psychotic wraps the ears initially in a reserved sonic ambience though one with a portentous air to its touch; a menacing feeling which soon intensifies with the entrance of intimidating guitar hues and eventually a ravenous assault of drums within similarly rapacious but inviting sonic twists and colour. Though the music does not match its title initially, there is a brewing bedlam behind the driving drums and scarring riffing which without ever truly exploding ensures the track is a constant skittish and evocative antagonist for the psyche. Vocals and guitars again impress with their unpredictable and fluent shifts in attack and designs respectively, whilst the wall of sinews built by drums and the at times bestial tones of the excellent bass work, create an inescapable cage you only want to be confined within.

Another scarring crescendo sees the track make way for the closing Fearless Pride, its appearance also coming upon an intimidating sonic mist which is subsequently speared and stretched by the citric sonic craft and adventure of the guitars. Arguably the most corrosive and raw track on the release, its body a more ‘messy’ and undefined ferocity which only adds to the enjoyment, the song bruises like a wounded bear yet captures the imagination like a gladiatorial warrior. It makes for an intensive and highly satisfying conclusion to the release even without matching earlier successes. With a great and skilled evocative instrumental hidden in its shadows, Enter the Madness feeds ears and passions with a highly accomplished and exciting incitement where to be honest only a major lack of originality is its only issue. You feel listening to the EP that Yugal is still in evolution in sound and distinctiveness but that it is only a matter of time and we for one cannot wait.

The self-released Enter The Madness is available now @ http://yugal.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Yugalofficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 9/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Slain – Before The Inferno

 

slain pic

There is no re-writing the text book of death metal with Before The Inferno, the album certainly re-working but treading down existing violations, but it has to be admitted that the debut album from Polish band Slain is a thoroughly enjoyable and potently contagious provocation. Consisting of eight monstrously aggressive and openly accomplished violations, the release grips from its opening track through to its intrusive last. There is admittedly a certain mix of success within the release but never a moment where band and album leaves satisfaction wanting and pleasure lacking.

The creators of this impacting release were formed in 2005, though the band’s seeds in many ways harken back to the nineties when band founder and guitarist Paul was in Cryptic Stench. Some of Slain’s songs originated from that time with the band reworking and rearranging them to fill the full blooded onslaught of their ferocity. Initially Slain went through a few personnel changes whilst the band continued to earn a strong reputation and fan base with their live performances. A stable line-up emerged though before the album was recorded; Paul joined by second guitarist George, bassist Lucas, drummer Wojtass, and vocalist Marcin. Recorded in 2012, Before The Inferno found its release with The End Of Time Records at the tail of 2013. Since its release, Slain has seen the departure of George and Marcin, the pair being replaced by Hannibal and Balrog respectively. The turn of the year the band has begun working on new songs for their second full-length whilst this, their debut continues to make an impression and mark the radar of a persistently widening attention.

The Bełchatów quintet comes at the ears through a sinister ambience, demonic shadows, and intrusive breath conspiring to infest senses Slain-BeforeTheInfernoand imagination. The niggling start to Confession of the Blind Messiah erupts into a torrent of predatory riffs and punching rhythms whilst vocally vitriol and ravenous intent clad every word. It is a magnetic entrance, the track enslaving with its concentrated confrontation before unleashing a further increase of aggression and malevolence. Speared by skilled sonic flames and a persistently shifting antagonistic stance, the riveting track makes for a mighty start to the album, essences of Behemoth and Decapitated offering their presence.

The following Wings of War strides murderously into view next, clad in a tsunami of destructive rhythms, flailing riffs, and an underlying groove which is two-toned in voice and lethal in effect. Well into its purpose, the grooves mutate into an infectious lacing of the senses whilst the vocals similarly squirm maliciously between textures, the combination rigidly enslaving an already rampant appetite for the release. It is a ferocious onslaught but ripe with contagion and addictive toxins, especially the impressive sonic blaze of guitar which colours the track with its piercing solo. As suggested at the start there is not a great slap of true originality to the encounter but thrills and neck muscle manipulation show no restraint in their persuasions.

There is a thrash sculpted fire to the sound and album, its rabid hunger again insatiably driving the force of Malleus Maleficarum and War Is Coming. The first is a feisty stalking of the senses with an angry spine of bad tempered rhythms within an acidic veining of skilfully crafted sonic incitement. Its successor takes the rapaciousness of the other track to greater immensity, its carnivorous rabidity spurring on prowling rhythms and a pestilence of riffery. The track is voracious savagery but again infuses a swagger and swing to its barbarity which infests the passions. When a song straddles the imagination and treats it to a rodeo of feverish energy and vivacity it is hard to resist even when the wounds left bleed profusely.

Fucking Gods continues the violent and irrepressible suasion of the release, its brutal rampage unrelenting yet pronounced in its precise baiting whilst the following Deadly Midget presents a more restrained attrition but one no less hungry in its predation and manipulative toxicity; grooves and riffs sharing the imposing canvas for their fevered taming and consumption of the senses. There is a touch of Sepultura to the poise and intensive intensity of the track whilst its ravenous incessancy and melodic adventure slips easily under the skin and into the memory.

The album is completed by the raging turmoil of Thorn and the imposing enterprise of Omen, both tracks a tasty horde of vindictive rhythms and scourging riffs spiced by sonic invention, though neither quite match the heights of the earlier songs. Nevertheless the pair brings a great album to a stirring close to leave satisfaction full and emotions eager for more. Before The Inferno may not carve out new inventive avenues for death metal but when it provides a hellacious ruin as exciting and stimulating as it does it is hard to raise a care. Slain has ensured that anticipation for their sophomore album is already gearing up.

Before The Inferno is available via The End of Time Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slain/1395976333996090

8.5/10

RingMaster 22/04/2014

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