Memories Of A Dead Man – Ashes Of Joy

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There is always something appetising about releases which make you work and really listen to their intensive offering before truly reaping the rewards their exploits offer. Ashes Of Joy the new album from French metallers Memories Of A Dead Man is one such impressive encounter. An exhausting venture into thick emotive climates and exhaustive imposing soundscapes, the twelve track journey challenges and intrudes upon senses and imagination respectively for a continually emerging and enriching experience. Certainly a release which needs extensive time to devour fully, though it makes a more than compelling first impression, Ashes Of Joy is a masterful confrontation which gets better and better across its length and to even greater effect over each traverse of its riveting body.

Formed in 2006, Memories Of A Dead Man has evolved their sound over time into a thoroughly absorbing and enveloping persuasion, their albums Beyond the Legend and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. drawing strong and acclaimed responses, but with Ashes of Joy the band has reached a new height in songwriting maturity, provocative presence, and intensive imagination. The melancholic breath which envelops from within the dark shadows and imposing structures of the songs borders on suffocation at times but only in their soaking of every twist and shift of the narratives, musically and lyrically, within the demanding and inciting provocation which in turn intensifies the oppressive intensity and emotive atmospheres brought to bear. Crafted by a new line-up which has been in place from 2012, Ashes Of Joy is an exacting and simultaneously compelling adventure, not one for the faint hearted but certainly one for all those who like to sink their teeth into an incendiary slab of extreme invention and passion.

The opening Prélude (Solemn Requiem) immediately encases ears in a fiery sonic embrace, the guitars of Ben Debrun and Tony Garcia memoriesofadeadman_covercasting a scorching initial smoulder of melodic enticement which calls on the imagination with its evocative lure straight away. Heavier stalking riffs follow thumping beats in joining the molten coaxing as the track increases its intensity and stature; all the time the irresistible grizzled tones of the bass and bear like vocals intimidating and taking thoughts into the  darkest menacing corners in preparation for the impending drama.

That dramatic experience is soon upon ears and emotions with the following Aurora, the track a tempestuous testing of the senses with rampaging rhythms from drummer Jef Ertle powerfully badgering the senses as the guitars squall imposingly around them as vocalist Pierre Duneau ravages syllables and air. With the bass of Herve Osmont similarly enslaving attention, the song evolves in gait and attack throughout, the demanding onslaught at the start drifting into an emotive and thickly atmospheric consumption driven by a more hardcore rapaciousness from Duneau. The twists never relent in their potent and aggressive immersion of the imagination, every second and note a new adventure to fear and equally devour. This variation and that of the vocals is a thrilling and increasingly addictive proposition in what is already a thoroughly intensive and demanding but excitingly rewarding entrance.

The following The Fall Of doG – Maelstrom Involution swoops in on a tide of voracious riffery and sonic enterprise around firm rhythms to instantly seduce the appetite. The again diverse and expressive vocals add to the already captivating and savage sounds throwing their creative and passionate weight against ears. It is a more immediate track than its predecessor but no less involving and steeled in startling textures, and with once more that hardcore causticity to the two toned vocal delivery, it simply ignites senses and passions. The turbulent antagonism and contagiously enterprising confrontation of the track makes way for the shadow grasping emotional beauty of Melancholia. The song floats in on a dark poetic breeze of melodies and a shimmering resonance which drifts from the classically structured and emotively sculpted canvas of the encounter. Two minutes in and the song erupts with a fire of passion and angst coated hunger which drives both music and vocals across the senses like a ferociously lapping tide. Not far short of ten minutes in length, the track is a tumultuous toxin raging and surging through the veins of itself and the thoughts of it’s intended.

The raw and assertively vociferous Touched With Pensiveness steps in next to inflame the passions, inventiveness and unpredictable rabidity to the evolving intent of the track exhilarating. The track did not impress as others first time around but as with the whole album given plenty of time and attention emerges as one intriguing and impossibly enthralling pleasure, the soaring sirenesque female vocal lures just some of the clawing rocks to get willingly snagged upon. Its rich glory though is small in comparison to the triumph of Wounded Knee, a blistering tsunami of crippling rhythms and bestial riffs led by the animalistic predation of the bass. If that was not enough to fire up the passions, a virulently seducing groove ensures the track catches every passing thought and emotion, taking them on a towering severe ride to which ardour is the willingly given price. It is hard to pick out any predominate specifics which make the songs so successful across the album, but certainly here the mix of vocals, the barbarous stride of the rhythms, and that ever belligerent bass sound stirs up a lustful attention.

The short evocative instrumental From Mud To Heaven leads into the acidically flavoured and sonically crusading La Nausée, its breathless emotional pressure and dramatically powered presence holding a strong essence of bands such as Tool and Porcupine Tree to its throbbing breast. The track is a transfixing furnace of emotion and oppressive strength which enthrals with its adventure and ideation, the same that can be said of the distinctly different yet similarly sculpted Draft Of The Second and Going Out With The Whore’s Saliva. Though the first never manages to reach the heights of those before, its grunge/Nirvana like impassioned fervour and coarse imaginative temptation still leaves a greedy appetite in place to be fed by its outstanding successor. Leaden stomping rhythms and scarring riffs steer the menacing intensity and vocal demands of the track whilst caustic flames of melodic abrasiveness and scathing vocals incite thoughts and emotions for another continually gripping peak within the album.

    Ashes Of Joy is concluded by stoner fleshed uncompromising intimidation of The Fall of doG – Erase My Eyes and the extensive explosive landscape of The Swan’s March, both tracks employing scything melodic swipes within primal turbulent atmospheres and permeating ambient causticity respectively. They are both immense provocations to match the exhausting and scintillating weighty persuasion of the album. Ashes Of Joy takes no prisoners but feeds them with the most scintillating and potently demanding emotional investigations. As said Memories Of A Dead Man make you work with their album but pays you back with one of the best encounters this year so far.

Ashes of Joy is out on April 14 via Send The Wood Music/Season Of Mist

http://www.facebook.com/memoriesofadeadman

9/10

RingMaster 13/04/2014

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In Progress – North Atlantic Echoes

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Bracing, seductive, and thoroughly captivating, the sound of US progressive/experimental rock band In Progress is an absorbing evocation which works on the imagination just as potently as ears and emotions. It is a proposition impossible to pin down but easy to embrace as proven by the band’s sophomore album North Atlantic Echoes. Consisting of seven tracks which combine cinematic adventures with emotively driven moods and sultry climactic landscapes, the band’s new release leads senses and thoughts into evocative embraces, enveloping them in atmospheric caresses and imposing yet welcoming ambiences. The closest comparison which comes to mind is Scottish band North Atlantic Oscillation, an encounter the title of the album points at whether intentionally or by coincidence, though ultimately In progress crafts a presence which is distinct to them.

The New York/Los Angeles based band consists of John Dillon (vocals, guitar, bass, programming, and additional keyboards) and Jake Rosenberg (keyboards and additional programming), who take inspirations from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Devin Townsend, Faith No More, Thrice, Ulver, Chroma Key, and OSI into their inventive explorations. Their debut album Signal Failure of 2011, which featured drummer Mark Zonder (Warlord, Fates Warning, Slavior), drew good responses from fans and media which with its release a couple of weeks ago, North Atlantic Echoes andits own special guests, most notably keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, co-founder of OSI, Chroma Key) and even more experimental and expressive designs has already started emulating.

The warm touch of Tones From a Twisting Verse opens up the immersive embrace of the album, its poetic musical tones immediately caressing senses and thoughts. Keys cast a reflective ambience around the ears, their orchestral grace and smouldering shadows an emotive colour enhanced by the vocal harmonies in flight within. Its scenery unveils within a piano narrative soon joined by the slightly monotone yet warm and melodic delivery of Dillon. The song envelops and leads the imagination into a melancholic and enchanting evocation darkly coloured by the emotional prowess of the duo and their mesmeric sound.

The following Thunderstorms is similarly dark in feel and shadows with a bright bewitching core which glows like a beacon of hope with reflective flames; it a look back to inspirational moments seemingly lost in the drifts of time. As maudlin as its predecessor in many ways, it is also a livelier lucent hug for the imagination; the excellent mellower vocals as transfixing as the inciting words it delivers and the shimmering sounds around them. The song merges dark and light with poise and glorious temptation, becoming a richer potent persuasion with each taking of its provocative account.

The intriguing nintendo-esque rhythmic coaxing of next up Chasing Ghosts, which opens up the track and persists with its kinetic smile throughout, pleasingly leaves expectations lost for words. The track is an evolving drama but an inventively reserved premise for vocals and lyrics to colour with stimulating endeavour. As its predecessors and the album as a whole, the song again grows melancholic seeds into a sonically luminous blossom, its shading and smouldering fire stoked by the additional craft of Moore, the song the first of the trio he joins the band on. Cloudburst straight after is the second. The track has a portentous air to its emergence, epically throated electro expulsions clouding the sky with imposing textures as keys flit through its mass with shards of light and mystery. Dillon is joined vocally by the sirenesque voice of Hwei Ling Ng, their vocal extremes a compelling enticement within an equally captivating climate of sound. With an additional mystique to its melodic waltz and emotional fascination, the track absorbs senses and passions with rhapsodic beauty, its presence urging thoughts at times of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry in their very early synth pop days.

Both North Atlantic and Thorn Yard engulf body and mind in glistering textures and melodic kisses, the first initially glancing across the senses with glimpses of the soon to evolve ambient pop enterprise. It is a firm first touch but feeling more of a caress as the heavier yet and equally celestial embrace of the song takes hold. Graced by the angelic harmonies of Lauren Edwards above and around Dillon and a potent sense of loss which soaks sound and lyrics, this theme common across the release in many personal and easy to relate to guises, the song is another enchantment to drift from reality within. Its climactic build to a somber last hug draws in thoughts and memories ready for its successor whose opening piano and vocal union with a rosy dramatic air to their union sparks thoughts of eighties artists Black, and though its fails to rise to the same heights of earlier songs, the unpredictable flames of effects and fiery crescendos simply enthral.

North Atlantic Echoes is an album which certainly makes a strong suasion in its first encounter but grows into something immensely epic and irresistible over time, final song Graveyard Snowfall with guest touches from again Moore and Edwards, bringing evocative hues to an already spellbinding romance of shadows and lost loves, closing up the tremendous adventure potently. As mentioned the album needs as much time as you can give to reveal the extent of its passions infecting potency but rewards with creative experimentation and emotive emprise which is quite beautiful.

You can stream the album or name your own price for the download at the following link: http://inprogressofficial.bandcamp.com/

 

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9/10

RingMaster 03/04/2014

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The Milton Incident – Innocence Lost

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French alternative metal band The Milton Incident has built a strong following and reputation in their homeland with their resourcefully potent and rigorously impacting sound whilst also making initial inroads further afield and with the release of their debut album Innocence Lost, it is not too adventurous to suspect that they will be making a similar mark on the attention and passions of the rest of the melodic metal world. Consisting of eleven tracks which are as dramatically contagious as they are skilfully crafted with a fusion of groove and alternative metal with plenty more spicery involved, the album is a thrillingly imaginative proposition. It is not exactly ground-breaking, songs holding a familiarity at times to previously trodden exploits, but with an incendiary passion and distinctly inventive sculpting to the individual premises, it is a release to capture emotions and spark greedy appetites.

Hailing from Paris, The Milton Incident since forming in 2010 has laid down a more than solid presence with a similar strong fanbase through their sound and live performances. Shows with the likes of Kreator, Moonspell, Dagoba, Vulcain, Mass Hysteria, KlogR, and Eyes Set To Kill has only increased the spotlight upon them whilst their music has been played on numerous radio shows worldwide. Recorded with Steeves Hostin (Beyond the Dust) and mixed/mastered by Shawn Zuzek (Daughters of Mara), the Dooweet Records released Innocence Lost makes a stirring full introduction to the band, one destined to leave a lingering mark on the widest attention.

From the opening title track, a short disturbing intro of intimidating sound clips and melodic intrigue, the album launches into a fiery and Covermuscular persuasion with Deadset. Its initial coaxing is a menacing almost predatory incitement but it is not long before strong vocal harmonies and melodic entwining wraps engagingly around the ears. That heavier threat is never far from the surface though; expelling bursts of cantankerous grooves and rhythmic antagonism throughout, stalking and gnawing the senses alternatively with the melody rich embrace of the track. It is a striking encounter soon exceeded by the riveting Torn Down, grooves and rhythms again bordering on carnivorous but the perfect complement to the expressive vocals and sonic endeavour which soaks the imagination as rewardingly as the melodic flames. There is a Stone Sour essence to the track in many ways though the song ventures in areas which could be compared to others like Three Days Grace and Tool as well as later Mudvayne too, yet the result is definitely particular to The Milton Incident.

The snarling Deus Ex Machina featuring Shawn Zuzek, rampages across the senses next, again the band merging dark rapacious elements within its elegant and exploratory melodic adventure. It is a magnetic slice of metal which evolves and explores before the ear, an invigorating provocation as contagious as it is intense. Its fluid drama is succeeded by the absorbing Dearest Enemy. From a cyber, almost starkly harsh ambience, the song immerses thoughts in an emotive reflection musically and lyrically whilst aligning them with more cryptically savage elements to its suasion. Like its successor Split Second, the song does not ignite the same heat of passion as other tracks but still leaves thoughts impressed and hungry for more, both tracks skilfully crafted and enjoyably presented with the second of the two holding a Poets Of The Fall like potency before its incendiary climax.

The thrills are turned right up yet again with Dopamine, a virulently infectious confrontation of bruising rhythms, rigidly barbed riffing, and passion drenched vocals. It is a masterful storm of uncompromising aggression and respectful melodic enticement ensnared and driven by ridiculously addictive grooves and unbridled enterprise. A major moment on the continuing to impress release, it is soon matched after the enjoyable emotive breather Irukandji, by Pyromaniac, another growl of senses stripping riffs and inflammatory rhythms courted by a deliciously acidic and caustic groove. With a range and depth of vocals to match the fire and intensity of its intent, the song prowls and sways with primal seduction and thoughtfully lit rapaciousness; like the sinewed assault of an American Head Charge fused with the emotional melodic waltz of an Alter Bridge.

The lofty heights are continued with the outstanding and voracious Conspiracy of Silence, the track an almost pestilential provocation with synapse spearing riffery and sonically drenched bait which infects ears through to passions. Its tremendous outpouring leaves a slight shadow over the following Memento, though the song only adds further coals to the pleasing fire and power of the album, whilst the closing 10-56 provides a classically seeded canvas for the imagination, one coloured by thick melodic hues and epically dramatic emotion. It is an imposing and compelling encounter from The Milton Incident concluding an equally bruising and irrepressibly seducing experience.

    Innocence Lost is an excellent full debut from a band you can expect to be hearing much more of. The Milton Incident has the potential to be a major instigator in melodic metal as their sound explores its brewing individuality for greater uniqueness and impact, something to eagerly anticipate.

http://themiltonincident.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 26/03/2014

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MIRE – Inward/Outward

MIRE - Press Photo 4 - Credit - Carl Lessard

Photo – Carl Lessard

    Embracing the constant comparison to Tool placed around them and infusing it into their own imaginative canvas of progressive metal, Canadian band MIRE unleash their debut album Inward/Outward upon the world, a release you can easily assume will thrust the band into the higher echelons of their genre. Ten tracks of expressive and highly resourceful enticement, the release is a potently magnetic and elegantly enthralling proposition but one unafraid to flare up and dish out confronting muscular provocation. It is not exactly an encounter which instantly sets the world ablaze but certainly one which lingers and seduces for the same kind of result, a declaration of one potentially major and insistently creative band.

    The follow-up to their well-received, self-titled EP of 2010, the new self-released album has been two years in the making, an album which guitarist Dave Massicotte said of, “We created this with our guts and have dared to explore a less common style of metal where the music is less obvious and sometimes requires the individual to have more than one listen before being able to grasp and really appreciate every musical element.” Recorded and jointly produced with Jean-Philippe Nault, the release takes little time in sparking ears and imagination. Opening track Complex from an intriguing rhythmic beckoning soon expands into a flame of guitars and bass predation. The drums of Stéphane Boileau flex greater sinews before providing an elevated pulsating interpretation of its initial contact as the strong and appealing tones of vocalist Jean-Philippe Lachapelle begins the track’s narrative. It is a riveting persuasion which adds textures and sonic endeavour the further in the song’s heart the band strolls. That gait is soon a forceful incitement as the guitars of Massicotte, who’s backing vocals also add extra temptation, and Bruno Chouinard find a rage to their riffs matching the throaty intensity of beats and the bass intent Doom Croteau. That Tool likeness is an open suggestion quite early on and to that you can add essences of A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, and even Karnivool, though ultimately the track is undeniable distinct to MIRE.

     From the strong and inventive start, the following Tyrannicide immediately raises the quality of bait and temperature, its rub mire-inward-outward-album-coverof jagged riffs aligned to classically hued keys, an early compulsion for the senses. The track takes little time to settle into a masterful seduction of rapacious riffery, vocal adventure, and another excellent rhythmic design from Boileau. There is a greater snarl and melodic acidity compared to its predecessor too which only incites greater hunger in the already in place appetite for the release, whilst its imaginative premise and passion fuelled fire soaks thoughts in an invigorating and imposing embrace which again adds to the drama and weight of the song’s suasion.

     The two parts of Limitless come next, Pt. 1 a gentle melodic seduction with mellowness to voice and sound, though building shadows seem to go hand in hand with the melancholic keys and repetitive nature of the offering. The floating of female vocals alongside those of Lachapelle are a masterful and seductive lure which leads the senses into an emerging web of intensity which is stretched and explored fully in Pt.2. The track is ripe with sonic toxicity and creative contagion, its flight unafraid to twist into unpredictable avenues which keep the listener wrong footed but firmly absorbed in its dramatic and emotive exploration.

    Convolution follows the impressive track, it a short stark piece of cyber intimidation which makes an imposingly suggestive intro for the equally outstanding Beast and The Machine. Riffs with a carnivorous breath alongside commanding rhythms open up the enslavement first before the guitars open their sonic arms to invite and immerse the imagination in a danger coated adventure guided by the constantly impressive tones of Lachapelle. Once again the band lends an almost primal and antagonistic voice to the sound of the song, but one which flirts and engages with the expressive vocals and melodic scenery. As most of the tracks, first contact is exciting and satisfying but the song only becomes more virulently potent and thrilling the longer you immerse into its fiery depths.

    Both Catalan Atlas and Mantra Cymatic lead emotions on a provocative waltz even if neither quite live up to what came before. The first of the two certainly paints an inviting masterful weave of sonic colour and emotive hues whilst its successor as its title suggests, is a meditative almost shamanic slice of sultry and evocative temptation, harmonies and keys casting a sirenesque ambience veined by reflective vocals. Neither song has the same passion igniting spark as earlier songs but both leave satisfaction full before the excellent Open Circle stomps in, bursting into an expulsion of expressive rhythms, volcanic sonic potency, and passion drenched vocals. The track’s melodies shaped by keys and guitar similarly blaze in the encounter, helping make a rousing and incendiary slab of melodic metal. It brings the album to an immense close, though there is still the short instrumental Upheaval left, another corruptive slither of ambience and sound related to that within Convolution, but almost like an afterthought, and epilogue to it all rather than a persuasive venture.

    Inward/Outward is an excellent first full-length declaration from MIRE, one which more than suggests that this is a band ready to rigorously seize the attention and appetite of progressive and melodic metal and hold it for a long time to come. It is hard not to be excited about the future of the band and what they potentially could seduce our emotions with on future horizons.

https://www.facebook.com/miremusic

http://mire.bandcamp.com/album/inward-outward-limitless-preview

Check out the Music Video for Limitless Pt. 2 @ http://youtu.be/kQnqLxFv5oM

8.5/10

RingMaster 18/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater

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     Having richly impressed with a quartet of singles which were as emotively potent as they were compellingly crafted, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black finally release debut album Walking Underwater to complete the seduction and seal the long term capture of the passions. We say finally as it seems like it has been a long time in making, though maybe it is just the greedy anticipation which was bred from the first single that made it seem so. The ten track release is a mouthwatering and enthralling evocation of melodic rock with tinges of metal. At times it simmers and coaxes with lively emotional embers and in other moments blazes with sonic flames and vivacious endeavour, searing the hairs lining the ears. Whichever the character of songs, each one engages and absorbs senses and thoughts with a suggestive spark and provocative texture for a quite mesmeric and thrilling adventure.

     Johnny Wore Black is the solo project of former Hollywood stuntman Johnny Jay (Jay Coen). The former leading force of The Jay Harley Band, the London based songwriter/producer has carved an invigorating and eagerly accepted presence with his refreshing sounds, in the last couple of years especially with the release of exciting singles which sparked a greater acceleration in his rise within the British rock scene. Jay has equally built a strong reputation with his collaborations, one which has specifically been spawned through Johnny Wore Black being a union with David Ellefson from Megadeth. Walking Underwater again brings the writing and musical skills of the pair together, their union ripe with organic power and commanding suasion. Produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill and featuring clips from his Jay’s father’s seminal 1960s documentary The London Nobody Knows, the March 28th released Walking Underwater is Part 1 of a bigger entity, with the second 10 song part scheduled for this coming autumn, each containing two of the four outstanding singles which have already marked out the project for hungry attention.

     The encounter opens with Different Shades which bursts into the ears after the first of the evocative samples taken from the coveraforementioned film, each splice of cinema making a highly stimulating impact and link between songs. The track initially entices the ears with a single melodic dance on the imagination before further guitar caresses gently add their stroking alongside a velvety dark bassline aligned to firm beats. It is an instantly riveting beckoning which increases its lure as the strong and expressive vocals of Jay weave in with the lyrical narrative. That earlier mentioned smoulder is at work from the start of song and album, its mesmeric touch and seductive breath permeating thoughts and feelings whilst brewing up to a muscular finale with an almost accusing edge to its passion.

    It is a magnetic start to the release soon matched and surpassed by All the Rage. The song is the first of the previous singles from Johnny Wore Black, the debut release which was originally released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. Once again the entrance is restrained and poetically alluring, a sonically crafted melody and evocative atmosphere wrapping the senses before the vocals and fuller breath of the track encloses the ears. As throughout the album there is a melancholic feel to the track but one which never snuffs out the light and hope of the song or its ambience.

    Up in Flames, another previous single follows next, it a slice of rock/metal excellence which still makes the strongest persuasion even after a horde of listens. Riffs and rhythms make a firm and compulsive frame for the contagious draw of excellent vocals which combine with the melodic weave of imagination, glowing feisty bait poised to erupt with its metallic sinews and infection soaked energy across the resourceful and flavoursome stroll of rock ‘n’ roll. Everything from the bordering on sombre initial coaxing to the climactic eruptions is perfection; the track one of the best heavy/melodic rock compositions in recent years.

   Both So Dusted and The Battle continue the impressive temptation, the first an atmospheric reflection of shadows with a warm melodic breeze for company and the second from a shimmering summoning of the imagination, evolves its shadowed heart and sonic portrait into a darker unleashing of fiery passion. The pair though very different in appearance, share mutual melancholy which coats every note and seeps from each syllable offered by the heart bred tones of Jay.

   The acoustically shaped One & the Same steps up next to seduce and spark the listeners thoughts, the gentle sway and gait of the song lapping the imagination like waves on a lonely beach, one left in a shadow draped view with hypnotic aural scenery. Its slow pervading beauty is succeeded by the similarly chilled atmosphere of Cold Water, though as with all the songs there is enough warmth and melody spawned adventure to inspire hope to temper the lyrical dark. Though the pair of songs takes a little longer to secure the lingering ardour bred by other songs, the outcome is just as powerfully the same.

     The intrigue and mystique brought by What I Am entrances next, its noir almost sinister climate a deliciously rich hue to the pictorial mix of vocals and floating melodies. One more the contrast of shadows and light, emotionally and musically, is an open canvas for the listener to reflect and imagine within, the word alchemy applicable to the depth and power in his songs Jay achieves with the blend again gloriously shown in One Love Song. The track seduces from first breath to its last, a catchiness spawning from its chorus complementing and tempering the almost invasive dark eloquence and reserved yet potent drama of the song. It is a beautiful song if not stealing best track honours certainly sharing them.

    The closing Outside Looking In unleashes the sinews which have had to play second fiddle for the most to the scintillating melodies and inciting evocative textures which predominantly breed the album, not that the track lacks any of their fascination either. The song is a galvanic stride of energy and power with sonic captivation and melodic ingenuity. It offers a tremendous end to a scintillating release, one which gives melodic rock a new spellbinding creative fire to embrace. With essences comparable to bands such as A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Tool, and Porcupine Tree but sounding very little like any of them, Walking Underwater and Johnny Wore Black are one of the must investigations of the year now and ahead. Roll on Part 2 is all that is left to say.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Akb’al – …Of Darkness and Light

Akbal Online promo shot

    …Of Darkness and Light is one of those encounters which makes a striking initial impression but over time and subsequent journeys unveils and expands into a constantly rewarding and riveting adventure. The creation of Welsh progressive metallers Akb’al, the seven track album soon shows it is much more than that tag suggests, the band exploring and employing resources across a multitude of styles to produce one thoroughly absorbing and provocative experience. The release is not without minor issues, and they are minor but with craft and hunger to seduce and savage across its formidable presence, the band’s debut is an impressive adventure to grow from.

     The seeds of the band began back in 2006 with Michael Young-Temple (vocals, bass, tablas, djembe, didgeridoo and the kaossilator!) who coming to the end of travelling around the world began fusing his experiences and world percussion instrumentation into a more stoner/prog rock and metal bred songwriting. Linking up with Thoby Davis (vocals, guitar, violins) and Rob Miles (guitar, backing vocals, synths), the trio began evolving and expanding Young-Temple’s early ideas. The band was eventually completed with drummer Michael Hourihan, also of Onslaught, and from 2010 set about building a live presence. The Cardiff quartet took little time in making a mark locally and with shows alongside bands such as Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger, and Fell on Black Days was soon an established and eagerly followed proposition around their region. Next came a venture into the studio to set about working on…Of Darkness and Light; the result a tempest of imagination and invention and one of the more exciting and compelling entrances so far this year.

     The band bring influences from the likes of Tool, The Doors, and Porcupine Tree through to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains, and Akbal Cover ArtworkCoheed And Cambria into their sound though again certainly they are spices heard but only a slight flavour of what …Of Darkness and Light feeds the senses within. The title track opens up an imaginative and intimidating flight, the track a venture through the dark side of the release’s theme, an exploration of the darkness and light in human reality and state of the mind. Opening female torment within a cloud of pestilential breath coaxes in a shadow drenched bass and guitar incitement, the former heavy and respectfully imposing and the latter a melodic tender heat wrapped in spoken whispers. It is an intriguing and imagination probing invitation which flows into an aggressive and tempestuous oppression of noise and intensity. Merging mellower caresses with menacing sonic rapaciousness the song weaves and entrances the senses with a blend of progressive, nu, and psyche metal for a potent and riveting start.

     The Ride takes over with the same fluidity and mix of dark and light evocations, voracious and magnetic textures easily lying in each other’s arms as the song develops a melodic metal temptation. Again nothing settles into a singular persuasion or attack, bursts of primal agitation vocally and rhythmically punctuating the transfixing melodic wash of the song and great clean vocals. Sonically the track equally ebbs and flows with intimidation and temptation, both fuel to the open invention and craft consuming the ears.

    From the very strong start the album switches up another creative and impacting gear with Totally Recalled and the following Equilibrium.  A muscular rock essence which at times flirts with a Metallica like tempting guides the heavyweight stoner persuasion of the first song, an exhaustive metallic predation united with an infection clad groove just as irresistible and virulent in its ignition of the passions. As with many of the tracks there is a slight familiarity to certain moments but never anything to deter thoughts and emotions from falling greedily into the scintillating feast of sound and enterprise on offer. The track’s successor and new video single from the band is pure magnetism, simply nine minutes of smouldering wanton seduction from its opening melodic notes. Thumping rhythms and a bass snarl is soon stalking the senses whilst another strong and impressive swarm of clean vocal harmonies soak the ears with the equally pleasing lyrical narrative. The song is an unbridled addiction, unveiling a mouthwatering range of grooves and hooks within a flowing evocative soundscape which never relinquishes its hold and immense stature across its epic expanse. Like a mix of KingBathmat and Tricore with a healthy touch of Mishkin to its ingenuity at times, the song is a masterful triumph and the obvious doorway into Akb’al.

     Restless And Waiting is bred from the same bloom of ideas and inventive sculpting as it predecessor but returning the ears to the scavenging causticity of coarse vocals and sonic predation within the melody rich adventure. The song provides a subtler though no less captivating addictiveness with its squalling charms. It imposingly completes a trio of major peaks in the range of lofty highs with the sultry suasion of Pacha Mama stepping up next to take its share of the imagination. A gentler and progressively crafted soar through melody enriched and expression cast sky, the song is a mesmeric and evocative exploration bringing diversity and further acclaim upon the release.

    …Of Darkness and Light closes on the extensive instrumental Light, a lingering invention driven travelogue of emotional reflection and expressive scenery taking in twelve minutes of tantalising continent travelling endeavour. Admittedly like a couple of songs it is a little too long to keep attention as enraptured as it deserves but as mentioned earlier the issue is a minor quibble against the pleasure and enthrallment surrounding the senses. It completes an outstanding encounter from a band in Akb’al, who you can be sure we will hear much more of and in even greater circumstances ahead.

http://www.akbalband.com/

www.facebook.com/Akbalband

9/10

RingMaster 10/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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We All Die (Laughing) – Thoughtscanning

 

760137614821_TOX030_We-All-Die-(laughing)_Photo

     A long epic track going well into double figures time wise is never the most immediate persuasion here to be honest so it is fair to say that the debut album from We All Die (Laughing) with its single thirty three minute track was not the most instant appetiser and top of the list to cover. The fact that Thoughtscanning was released by Kaotoxin Records, a label which had a glorious year in releasing impressive inventive propositions in 2013, did encourage a dive into the proposition offered, plus the fact that the band consists of multi-talented musician and composer Déhà (C.O.A.G., Maladi) and vocalist Arno Strobl of Carnival In Coal and site favourites 6:33. It will prove to be one of the wisest decisions made this year at The RR and by anyone who immerse within what is an extraordinary experience and towering creative tempest. The album is a masterful enticement and admittedly challenging encounter but one all should bravely embrace.

    Creating a continually expanding landscape of emotionally drenched progressive dark metal, but with so much more to its 760137614821_TOX030_We-All-Die-(laughing)_Artwork_1400x1400-300imaginative adventure, Thoughtscanning is a piece of work which leaves the richest satisfaction and experience in its wake. We All Die (Laughing) first emerged as guest musicians on Eye Of Solitude’s EP The Deceit, their offering now reissued as a bonus track on the band’s recently released excellent album Canto III. Now the French-Bulgarian link-up fully unveils itself as a creative force to be reckoned with and incited by with their debut.

      A long guitar casts the first coaxing, its melodramatic voice and resonance a lone figure in a barren atmosphere but as potently evocative and imagination sparking as you could wish for. It has an essence of early-The Cure to its call which is enhanced with a wash of minimalistic melodic enticement and great earthy throaty tones from the bass. It is a deliciously magnetic entrance which is so powerful that when flames of skilfully sculpted guitar light the air a tinge of disappointment washes over emotions just for a second or two.

     From here on in the song slowly but clearly expands with its every second, the ever appealing vocals of Strobl adding another provocative aspect to the already compelling persuasion. Stretching further into its dark shadow drenched heart, the clean melodically built vocals merge with sanity bruising squalls whilst an intensity coats and increases the urgency of the sounds even when they find new avenues to slowly and elegantly investigate within the at times bordering on psychotic expulsion of emotional toxicity. It is impossible to clearly represent all that is going on and unleashed within Thoughtscanning but sure to say musically the track evolves through webs and mixtures of progressive and black metal, avant-garde and melodic death metal, doom and jazz metal with more besides, every minute a new recipe and provocation impossible to tear away from.

    As suggested earlier vocally the track also is a vibrantly shifting temptation, smooth melodic tones moving into guttural torrents with ease and in other moments creating a dark shadow through intensive deliveries which simply shape the syllables into an impacting and thought provoking narrative. Not for the first time in his career Strobl brings moments which are pure Mike Patton like to the persistently evocative adventure and in union with Déhà creates a maelstrom of seduction and venom which is as thrilling and compelling as the music surrounding their bait.

     The down side to the album?…well it is so long that it will definitely not suit all but it would be amiss not to say that there is never a moment where it is predictable and does not have senses and attention on alert for more breath-taking insurgences by the album into emotions and to be honest the track simply flies by, never feeling as long as it obviously is. Thoughtscanning is a thoroughly enthralling and impressive release which is a must investigation for all fans of anyone from Faith No More to Opeth, Periphery to Dark Tranquility, Tool to of course 6:33, in fact every metal fan as We All Die (Laughing) has something for all within their opus. With a limited-edition first pressing also containing a cover of Amy Winehouse track Back to Black, this is a must.

www.facebook.com/wealldielaughing

9.5/10

RingMaster 14/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Dzyen – Self-Titled EP

 

Photo Debbie Todd

Photo Debbie Todd

Providing impressive food for thought, UK progressive metallers Dzyen unleash their debut EP to instantly thrust themselves on the genre radar but equally with a rich blend of flavouring to their potent sound it has plenty to draw in a wider expanse of metal fans from groove through to alternative.  The five track encounter is a feisty and inventive riot of sound and energy suggesting that the Stanley, County Durham hailing band is a proposition to keep a close and eager eye upon. Their self-titled EP is striking without being startling, imaginative without being ground-breaking but certainly is one thickly flavoursome and captivating release which sparks imagination and emotions.

     Made up of vocalist/guitarist Scot Goodrum, bassist Bryan Tulip, and drummer Niel Linney and formed in 2011, the band takes influences from the likes of Tool, Periphery, Sikth, and Trivium into their thoughtful and enjoyably crafted adventure. With 15 years of experience behind them from roots which began in death metal, the trio has evolved into a progressive/melodic metal persuasion which has been earning good attention and acclaim from fans and other artists such as members of Tesseract, Monuments, Novallo and Skyharbor, some of whom appear on the EP funnily enough. The release of first single Digital Senseless last December sparked an eagerness and appetite to find out more about the band which their EP feeds whilst confirming all the promise previously suggested.

    The single opens up the EP and features guest vocals from Daniel Tompkins (Skyharbor, White Moth Black Butterfly) as well as a0975414611_2Novallo guitarist Gino Bambino.  A collaboration written by band and guests, Digital Senseless is an instant forceful rub on the ear with a contagious bait of djent seeded riffery and an intensive rhythmic scouring of the air to open up its presence. The mix of vocals between Tompkins and Goodrum is a fiery mix of clean and raw which works a treat and one which at times the sounds struggle to keep up with in impact. Nevertheless the pleasing track strides confidently and powerfully with a compelling veining of melodic enterprise through its bulging muscular body as well as a thoroughly infectious chorus.

     From the strong start things only get tighter and more contagious, Beneath The Surface stepping forward next with progressive nostrils flaring and grooves writing within the instantly appealing temptation. From opening scratchy guitar strokes the track expels a heavy commanding breath, again djent sculpted riffs and crisp sinew driven rhythms plus a great throaty bass sound leading the way into the heart of the song. With a melodic and mellow caress accompanying the chorus within a still rigorous metallic pressuring, the song sparks thoughts of Mudvayne and American Head Charge. It is a healthy mix which the band explores and filters into their individual expressive endeavour for a deeply satisfying and thrilling portrait of sound and enterprise which easily twists the emotions around its infectious enticement.

      Neurosis next keeps the lofty heights going. The best track on the release, it is a voracious impact with thumping rhythms and carnivorous riffs driving its intent whilst the vocals of Goodrum create a fluid blend of raw surfaced attacks and ever agreeable melodic clean tones primed to seduce. The song like most always seem to stomp midway between clean and aggressive, never leaning too far into either despite often hinting a preference but always finding an impressive union which never fails the band. In saying that there is no doubt that this is the most combative track on the EP and shows with ease that the band can create corrosive rampages quite easily and skilfully if they want.

    The good times keep coming as Dzyen offers up an accomplished and thoroughly satisfying cover of Just So You Know, the aforementioned American Head Charge classic. It is fair to say that the band does not stretch or reinvent it in any dramatic way instead providing a faithful and ravenous version which easily hits the spot and with the song already a favourite it just cannot fail to add another big positive to the EP.

   The closing Dualism Part 1 took longer than other songs to fully convince with numerous plays unveiling its rich depths and thrilling textures in their complete persuasion. Featuring and written with Sam Gitiban, the vocalist of US progressive metallers Novallo, the track is an eight minute expanse of gritty rhythms, twisted grooves, and melodic tempting which has a Slipknot feel in their mellower moments. It also comes with an unexpected and unpredictable want to turn in on itself with additional styles and progressively bred imagination evolving into a resourceful provocation which alone shows the richness and expanse of the songwriting and adventure within the band.

     With a Lee Jackson directed first music video in the immediate future soon followed by a debut album and touring, as well as this inspiring and promising entrance, Dzyen look like making 2014 a breakthrough year to remember for them and us. A definite must check out release of the coming year.

www.facebook.com/dzyenband

http://dzyen.bandcamp.com/album/ep

8.5/10

RingMaster 13/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Toumaï – Sapiens Demens

cover

Creating what they term psyche-fonk metal, French band Toumaï is one of those encounters which send tingles down the spine as it teases and ignites the imagination. Unleashing a majestic psyche twisting bedlam in the tasty shape of debut album Sapiens Demens, the quintet from the south of France bewitch and tantalise with each psychotic note and every maniacal rhythm. Their album is a tempest of ideas and cracked invention presenting an adventure like no other and a pleasure which only turns lustful over time.

What little we can tell you about Toumaï is that the band formed in 2006 and consists of vocalist Antoine Flaven Hude, guitarist Julien Mahoudeau, bassist Christophe Applanat, drummer Clement Mahoudeau, and Célia  on keys and trumpet. That is about it, apart from the fact that their first album is irresistible and uncontrollably insatiable with imagination, mischief, and inventive hunger. The five-piece bring influences from the likes of Psykup, Infectious Groove, Primus, Gojira, Mr. Bungle, Primus Band, Rage Against The Machine, Tool, and Red Hot Chili Peppers into their fusion of funk, rock, and metal, but it is only one shade of the whole picture; the release a musical canvas which only the ears can truly represent not our simple words, though we will give it a go of course.

The opening track is Little Psycho, a title so apt for song and album. From an initial percussive tease the drums lay down a riveting frame around which the bass roams and leans on the senses with a menacing glee whilst the keys dance with energy and mischievousness over the ears as vocals explore their narrative with quality and equally enterprising rascality. The swagger of the song is a delicious bait alone within its ever changing gait and presence of the song whilst bursts of aggression make the perfect suitor to the elegant beauty which coats the keys and their melodic caresses. There is a similarity to fellow Frenchmen Mucho Tapioca at times as the song climbs and soars through its persistently shifting glory but also of System Of A Down in its latter moments and Faith No More across its stirring flanks.

The impressive start is immediately left in the wake of next up Madness in Mind, the best track on the album with ease. Vocal croons wrap the ears right away as the guitar and keys stroke attention to its fullest height, before the song settles into a ska kissed, reggae bred stroll within metallic walls which get their turn to intimidatingly press upon and please the senses. With its funk hips swaying leading to the raucous chorus, the track is like King Prawn meets Korn though when it slips into a beauteous wash of ever engaging keys and vocal harmonies punctuated by another striking bass line and rhythmic probing, the band takes the listener down a more alternative rock avenue. This is only halfway in though and the track only accelerates to greater potency and persuasion once it lifts its knees to romp into an infection soaked waltz of enterprise fusing the loco folk/pop of Mano Negra with the contagious unhinged temptation of Kontrust before thrusting it all through a Skindred bred causticity. It is crazy and completely enthralling, not forgetting simply sensational.

The following Petit Punk en Ut#m is no slouch in tripping the switch to the strongest satisfaction either, its more noise seeded rock and disorientating psyche funk tempting another feast of unpredictability and hunger breeding invention. Scavenging the senses for the weakest spot, the song flares over the opportunity with punk belligerence and metal sculpted antagonism as it works towards its climax, not before having seduced with dazzles of psychotic indie melody seeded teasing. Another highlight, the song is backed in strength by the less crazed Anachron, a track which admittedly does not quite reach those earlier set heights but still magnetises attention and appetite with its funk stepping vibrancy and contagious melodic smile.

Both Bankster and Wiki Puppies keep the listener on their toes physically and mentally, the first and extensive expanse of craft and imagination which lays down a pulsating quickstep of reggae spawned pop. This is then wrung through voracious cantankerous crescendos at certain moments which burst from the song’s wonderfully exhausting enticement which builds towards a dramatically powerful and aurally traumatic brilliant closing declaration. Its successor pounces and leaps over the imagination as if its notes and ideas are crossing hot coals. It is a tempestuous mix of jazz, rock, psyche, and avant-garde devilry placed in a maelstrom which seamlessly forges an addiction spawning triumph from it all, rhythmically, melodically, and vocally.

The two parts of the title track almost come as a shock, the first especially subdued and restrained in its cinematic atmosphere and noir clad shadows and spoken vocals in comparison to the rest of the album, though the second part is soon climbing up the walls with scorching grooves and twisting melodic flames igniting the air around the again excellent vocal presentation. A relatively, and we say that with tongue slightly in cheek, straight forward heavy rock infused slice of metal with those continually entrancing keys of Celia enticing the emotions, the track is a deeply pleasing venture setting up the appetite for the closing mastery of  Prey of Birds.

The final song enjoyably plagues the ears with a kaleidoscope of sounds and challenging invention shuffled to an inch of its cohesive life, but as on all tracks it casts a proposition which is fully coherent and wholly. Sapiens Demens is a thrilling testament to endeavour and outside the box thinking but crafted with a knowledge nestling within Toumaï of how far to go and where to link everything for an innovative and breath-taking whirlpool of sound. Another to add to the must have list.

http://www.toumai-music.net/

10/10

RingMaster 07/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com