Enabler: All Hail The Void

Stripped bare, relentlessly violated, and left a gibbering wreck on the floor, no not a scene from an entry within the Hostel movies franchise but the course and aftermath of the annihilatory bliss that is All Hail The Void from the Milwaukee-based extreme metallers Enabler. To call it an assault is to underplay its ferociousness and merciless intensity but within the violent hurricane of sound there is a creative brew of imagination which without attention can almost go unseen. Given focus the release emerges as one of the more exhilarating albums to corrupt the ear this year.

All Hail The Void is not an easy listen but nor is it so harsh that it offers nothing for those with more melodic veins to their tastes. Enabler unleash a storm of hardcore, punk, crust and varied flavours of extreme metal  but spearing it all are some of the most delicious and addictive grooves and hooks you could wish for. Ok they come with a caustic rub for the senses as intrusive as the aggression but they are as sweet as the cruellest pain and equally addictive.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber (Harlots, Eyes Upon Separation, Trap Them, Today is the Day, Shai Hulud), Enabler persistently has drawn increasing attention with their powerful sound. Consisting of guitarist Greg Thomas (Misery Signals, Shai Hulud, The Risk Taken), bassist Amanda Daniels, and Andy Hurley (Racetraitor, Kill the Slavemaster, Fallout Boy, The Damned Things, Earth Crisis)on drums alongside Lohrber, the band through the release of splits with the likes of Drainland and Ambassador Gun, and their EP’s Eden Sank To Grief and War Begins With You (both re-released together on the album Year One CD), have twisted metal inside out, gathering extreme flavours into their own fury of creativity. All Hail The Void is a mighty continuation of their staggering sound and a real treat.

Released July 16th via Southern Lord, the album captures the imagination from the start, the emotive strokes of a lone guitar at the beginning of F.A.T.H. an irresistible invitation for the ear even with the brewing intensity lurking behind it. A gentle start full of drama the song soon explodes into a knee buckling force of aural vengeance as riffs bruise the ear and sonic melodic scythes blister every surface they come in contact with. Like being trampled underfoot by a raging bull in the tight streets of rural Spain the track leaves one breathless and drained, senses grabbing for some kind of security though the chances of safety are destroyed as the following song The Heathens soon crushes any bones and sinews left intact. An equally vindictive piece of songwriting and its eager realisation the track contorts synapses with vicious melodic scrapings and a rampant groove intent on submission. With drums pummelling and laying bruise upon existing bruise whilst guitars flay the air mercilessly Lohrber spews unrestrained anger and spite with the strongest accuracy, the combination of all like in the opener quite glorious.

The excellent Speechless with its hypnotic dirty sonic groove and prowling bass from Daniels which intimidates with every note continues the impressive start. It is a riot of insatiable energy and twisted riffs which ignites every favourable spark within. More punk than hardcore it is another of many possibly destined to be classics on the release.

Though the album barely exceeds the thirty minute mark it feels much bigger and certainly has a titanic effect on the body. Tracks like the title track with its stalking riffs and taunting groove, the unpredictable They Live, We Sleep with its sonic blinding of the senses and haunting sanity twisting melodies, and especially Save Yourself, are all mesmeric violations which rupture and fire up every part of their recipients. The latter of the three is the best song on the album, a nasty stomping brute of a song with destructive grooves so addictive they leave one with permanent whiplash.

All Hail The Void initially came over as an impressive album but its persistence on the ear and our increasing insatiable desire to keep returning to it saw it evolve into one of the hungriest and fully satisfying intrusions of the year, and Enabler a band which should be in the ear of everyone.

RingMaster 10/07/2012

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Interview with Allan Tvedebrink of The Kandidate

A mere few weeks into 2012 and already there has been some excellent albums released and none more exhilarating than Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death from Danish metalers The Kandidate. Aggressive, dynamic and mercilessly provoking with rampaging violent sounds the album places The Kandidate as one of the most impressive and formidable metal bands around. We had the pleasure of having guitarist Allan Tvedebrink give us some insight into the album, band and the musicians that make up The Kandidate.

Hello and welcome to The RingMaster Review, many thanks for taking time to talk to us.

For those new to the band could you give us some back ground to the members and The Kandidate?

We’ve all been playing in several bands before we joined forces in The Kandidate. Our singer Jacobs (Jacob Bredahl )most important bands were Hatesphere and is Last Mile where he plays guitar. He also owns his own recording studio where we recorded Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death. Bassist KB’s (KB Larsen)  been in Withering Surface and Thorium and 600 other bands. I’ve also played in Withering Surface and Thorium and KB and I are also playing together in a band called Parasight. NP’s (Niels Peter) been in several bands too, but I believe this is his first release.

If we can briefly talk about the band’s former guise The Downward Candidate how did it differ to you now and what was the spark that set the band into a new beginning as The Kandidate?

The biggest difference is that we are an actual band now. We all take an active part in writing and we see us selves as a unit. Before it was more like a project and we changed drummers and singers quite a few times. But after we recorded the debut album, Jacob joined and we started the search for a new drummer too. It felt as a new beginning for us, and we needed to mark that in some way. The obvious choice was changing the name but still keep a reference to how it all started (even though no one outside Denmark knew about The Downward Candidate).

You are generally called a thrash metal band but there is so much more in your sound, what are the biggest influences that have shaped your musical tastes and direction?

Yeah, you are right. We don’t think of us as a thrash band at all. When I think of thrash bands, they are pretty far from what we are doing and reading reviews, I’m kinda surprised to see comparisons to Pantera and Municipal Waste, I just don’t get it. But of course thrash is present and I guess it’s kinda hard for people to label us, and then it’s easy to stick to whatever you are presented with in a bio. We all come from different backgrounds and tastes in music, but we all share a certain base in metal, and I think that that common denominator is how we sound. It’s also hard to label yourself, everybody knows that, but we also have elements of punk, death metal, hardcore, crust and the likes in the loop. But we don’t think too much about it, but it would be a lot easier to answer this if we were a pure thrash metal band.

Your new album Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death has just been released and a stunning beast it is, how have you as a band evolved since your debut Until We Are Outnumbered in 2009?

Thanks a lot! We have been playing a lot live, and that has strengthened our relationship as musicians. When we released UWAO, only KB and I had been playing live together before, which I think is kinda strange for a band when I think about it. But we are all addicted to playing live, and we all believe that music is supposed to be played live, so it’s been really easy to get under each other’s skin, and what you hear on FTIPOD is music that we have arranged and written for this band with each other’s playing styles and forces in mind.

You wrote many songs during the downtime between shows when touring with the likes of Entombed, Trap Them, and Volbeat in 2010, I believe, using the live shows to test them? One imagines finishing the song, a few practices in sound checks then unveiling them, but what was the reality of this?

Actually that was what we planned, and we brought equipment to record ideas, trying to do what we always do when writing material at home. But after the 6 weeks of touring with Volbeat and Entombed, we realised that even that we tried, we didn’t come up with one single riff that made it to the album. So we dropped that idea. On the tour with Rotten Sound and Trap Them in the spring of 2011, I bought a little VOX thingy that you just jack into the guitar and connect with headphones, and I found myself riffing around like the good old days when computers and drum machines was not in my musical sphere. A really cool thing and I just figured that if I didn’t remember a riff, it wasn’t worth using… but we did try out the tunes we had written before the tours and some stuff was actually changed. It’s very cool to try it out live before recording it. 

How did and by how much did these songs develop and evolve through this way of perfecting and testing them from live performances?

Some of them were just altered very little, some of them had a whole different arrangement or a longer or shorter middle piece and one of them were even scrapped. It’s not just about how they sound; it’s also about how it feels performing it in front of an audience. The moment you present your work to other people, your own perception of it often change, at least it does for me.

How do you generally approach your songwriting?

KB and sit down with a computer with Logic and EZ drummer. Usually we haven’t prepared anything, we just agree on a beat, a riff, a certain tempo and see what happens. We’d just doodle around for a while and pick whatever is going in the direction we like. Then we program some drum, making it’s easier to get a flow going and the rest of the stuff kinda just writes itself. Sometimes it takes a few hours to complete a song and sometimes it takes weeks. When we feel we are close to being done with something we present it to the guys via email and they’ll come up with good ideas and we arrange and finalise it together when we meet.
KB and I live in Copenhagen, about 300 km away from Jacob and NP, so we only rehearse occasionally and of course it then needs to be pretty efficient when we are together.

For the album you have brought a raw live sound to the music giving the release an effective fluidity and intensity, how did you manage to succeed where so many fail?

Thank you very much, it means a lot as we’ve aimed for that. As you can probably sense, it’s important for us that the music is real, that it’s played by humans on real instruments and not by a computer through some editing and programming applications. We are a live band and we want to sound like a live band. I don’t know about other bands failing, I’m not going to point fingers at how people want to present their music. But to me it sounds like the modern approach to recording music is all about beat detective, trigging the drums and recording riffs note by note and edit it so that you are certain that everyone can hear every single note or hit. To me that’s not music and I hate to hear a band like that, especially when I see them live, and they sound like a totally different band, having half of the music playing on a back track. I know some horrible stories about that kind of recording techniques, but hopefully it’s not many bands doing that. But I also believe that Jacob has a lot to do with how we sound. He’s very talented when it comes to this kind of thinking and he’d prefer to record all bands live in his studio on analogue tape and rather do six more takes than editing stuff in ProTools.

As you just referred to Jacob as also on your debut,  took the reins of production apart from on his vocals, was this just a given with his understanding of the music and previous success?

Yeah, I guess so… We like to be in control, and it’s a perfect situation when someone in the band knows how to do the job, and do it well, of course. On the first album, we entered Jacobs’s studio because we thought he would be the right guy for the job and nothing has changed since then. We talked about doing something else, like recording with someone else and let Jacob mix it or the other way around. When we were done with the recording, we talked about it again, cause it’s really hard for him to write the music, write the lyrics, record and mix the whole thing and then go in alone and arrange and record his own vocals while mixing at the same time. On top of that, he also mastered the album. All of this was also the reason why he recorded the majority of the vocals at Tues place, he simply got enough. So we might try whole different studio and see where it takes us. You know, we gotta evolve and do new things to make it all a little more exciting for us.

Did the album come out as envisaged entering the studio or did it hold some surprises for you ?

At first it sounded like it was supposed to, but no one had heard exactly what Jacob was doing since we had only heard him yell on half of the songs and suddenly song names changed and mysterious things happened, like phone calls with “how would you like it, if I sang in Danish”. So piece by piece the album was glued together with his work and the whole dark and depressing feeling got another dimension and grew stronger. It was almost weird.

Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death features new drummer Niels Peter, what has he brought to the band and what impact has he made on the songs with his dynamic style?

He’s a drummer who knows his place. Like me he does what is good for the music, the song. If you have to show off, it’s gonna have a reason, not just do all kinds of funky crap that is just thought of to boost your ego. NP is really focused and steady, meaning that we could say goodbye to the good old click track. That gives you tons of possibilities regarding dynamics and the whole structure of the songs. He’s also got his feet buried deep in the rock tradition of drumming which were kinda the direction we’d been looking for all the time. Of course this has brought some novelty to the sound, but we have also had his playing style and capabilities in mind while writing the material. On top of that, we were used to a drummer who more or less stuck to the before mentioned drum patterns from our programming in the writing phase. NP went in and challenged that, which was highly appreciated. Of course the drumming should be developed by the drummer and not some half ass string slinger with some dots on a computer screen, haha.

You have seen members change especially in the earlier version of the band do you find each time it is a situation of two steps forward one step back for the band?

We felt so, yeah. It’s like starting all over again and again. To me, having to adapt to a new member just takes away me focus on everything else. But in writing and in having a good time playing live. But now it’s just forward. I hope that this is going to be a long lasting relationship and that we can finally have a steady line-up. It all seems right.

What are you most proud about with Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death?

I think that atmosphere I was talking about earlier and the fact that the four of us have been able to create that, having not talked about it directly. That means a lot to me. If I may be so bold and state that the majority of releases don’t have a certain atmosphere, not among the albums I’ve listened to. Lots and lots of albums contain great music, but I think this is something special, not just tunes to tap your feet to. And through all the years and releases I’ve been involved with, this is the first time I’ve experienced that. 

Could you give some incite to the theme the songs take as their basis? Is there any personal reference that inspired them too?

It’s all about what goes on inside Jacobs head. I don’t know what inspired him to write them, but it was in a period of his life where everything was not so hunky dory, and if you read into or listen to them, you can tell that it’s some depressing shit. We haven’t talked too much about it, it’s very personal for him, but that is indeed the vibe I get.

Please tell us about the striking album art and Uncle Allan its creator.

I don’t know how much you’ve seen, but it’s all hand made by Uncle Allan, who is a tattoo artist and old time friend of ours. We were talking to him about doing an all analogue concept with no digital enhancement, photography, effects and so on. He’s an old school guy that does brilliant stuff with his hand drawn art and analogue photography and he was really into the idea. So he and Jacob came up with the idea for the cover and he had free hands for the rest of the booklet. We wanted a continuation of the artwork from the debut album, hence the coffin references. Everything else is kinda revolving around the title, the prospects of death and the band playing the music. Not more else to say about that, I’m afraid… It means a lot to us that the concept of the artwork walked hand in hand with our approach to playing music, no bullshit, just pure art, haha!

What comes next for The Kandidate? Some intense touring?

Well, not so intense as one could wish for. We have a small trek through our own country in March, in April we are going to China to play three gigs and then we might have something going on in Russia in May. We are also working on festivals this summer and hopefully we’ll be able to go on a full scale European tour in the fall. We all have jobs and other things to attend to, so it’s hard for us just to drop whatever we have in our hands and go on tour for three months after a release. But I guess it’s the same circumstances for most bands our size.

Thanks so much for sharing time to talk with us. Good luck with the album. Would you like to leave with a comment for our readers The Kandidate style?

I think we’ve covered things pretty well. Thanks for the interview and the cool questions! But check us out or at least look out for a video we’ve planned for in March. And if you are a vinyl freak, FTIPOD will also be released on vinyl in the near future!

Read the Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/the-kandidate-facing-the-imminent-prospect-of-death/

RingMaster 05/02/2012

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The Kandidate – Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death

2012 has not had to wait long to welcome a definite album of the year contender in the muscular shape of the brutally intense Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death from Danish metalers The Kandidate. The release attacks and blasts every sinew whilst whipping away the safety net to leave senses precariously balanced and open to the merciless aggression and rampaging violent sounds blasting their every fibre. Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death is immense and the sternest challenge to everyone else to try and match let alone beat the quality bursting out from its eleven thunderous tracks.

The Kandidate began in 2009 though the band existed under the guise of The Downward Candidate before it from 2005. Band founders guitarist Allan Tvedebrink and bassist KB Larsen had to deal with unsettled line-ups and uncertainty about the bands direction in the previous incarnation but with the joining of vocalist Jacob Bredahl in 2009 the band found itself and with a new focus came a new beginning and name change. The following year saw the band’s debut album Until We Are Outnumbered, come out to much acclaim followed by tours with the likes of  Entombed, Trap Them, Volbeat, and Rotten Sound, where between shows the band worked on and wrote new songs, often trying them out in the live sets for assessment. The year was also highlighted for the band by their return to the legendary Roskilde Festival in the summer of 2010 to great triumph and success.

The following year The Kandidate began working on the follow-up Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death and in addition welcomed new drummer Niels Peter, his impressive power and ability adding a new dynamic to the band’s sound. Produced by vocalist Bredahl, who enlisted Tue Madsen to produce his own vocals, the resulting album to be unleashed January 27th via Napalm Records is a tumultuous glorious fury of punk thrash metal. Fuelled by tightly crushing riffs, irresistible hooks and distorted melodies the confrontational Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death intrudes and lingers on every facet of the senses, its dark lyrical theme inspired by the imminent prospect of death as striking and impactful as the sounds.

Breaking out with the brief blackness of ‘Death’ the album churns up the ear and passions right through to its last nasty note. ‘Beyond the Mind, Sleep You´ll Find’ truly gets the release started. Its scorching riffs and staggering bassline punched through by deeply impressive stick work from Peter immediately leaving one breathless. The sound is raw and coarse brought by the band wanting to bring their live sound to the recording, throwing aside many modern recording techniques to successfully achieve their aim and the album is wonderfully fluid and powerful from it.

There is not one weak moment on the album in strength or quality but certain tracks inflame the passions more than others. ‘One and Alone’ throws up the spite for a life oppressed and dead inside whilst seemingly offering up a fight at the same time, Bredahl’s emotive and impassioned gruff delivery gives real punch to the track. This is matched by the merciless intrusion of ‘Total War’ with caustic riffs that scar the ear as an incisive groove plays the senses like another instrument. Things get even more intrusive and captivating with the punk blistered ‘Modvind’, the frenzied thrash assault of ‘Standing on the Cliffs of Madness’, and the quarrelsome energy of ‘ Fucked in the Search for Life’ recalling older days of punk belligerent attitude , all eager to rile up and incite the senses.

The album leaves the best to last with ‘The Knives Spit’. Catchy and partially anthemic the track bullishly thrusts through the ear with defiant vocals, riffs and rhythms whipping up a fevered rampage within, the perfect ending to a stunning and amazing album. The Kandidate has set  the highest bench mark for all bands with Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death. Not many will come close.

RingMaster 11/01/2012

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