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

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An Entire Legion – Where Do You Fit EP

An Entire Legion was born in late 2009 out of a need to play melodic rock that was a construct of lyrics, passion, and songwriting of an epic nature by the members of one of the best creative UK metal bands, Tricore. Still employing the Tricore distinct and uniquely stylish use of riffs and melodies in an inventive soundscape of powerful energy, rhythms, and passions, An Entire Legion is a distinct entity alongside its more urgent and riff crushing sister project.

In 2010 Woking’s An Entire Legion released the Legion EP to instant acclaim and favour amongst fans of Tricore and beyond though that extra step of nationwide recognition just evaded them surprisingly. With the newly released Where Do You Fit EP it is hard to believe it will stay that way, it can only be a brief instance of time before music media, radio shows and the like switch on enthusiastically to the band’s grand flowing sounds.

The trio of Rich Wood (lead guitar), Mark Carstairs (guitar/bass), and Chris Kerley (drums/lead vocals) on Where Do You Fit give four tracks that inspire, satisfy, and eagerly invite the ear and heart into their melody layered and emotionally flavoured aural tapestry. The riffs are strong and decisive but with a calming hand and the rhythms are incisive with a firm and controlled delivery. This frame work allows some stunning melodic guitar work and ideas to form and play whilst the vocals of Kerley as with their other guise are a perfect fit, harsh or smooth his vocals are never less than impressive.

Scurvy Johnson’ starts off the EP, its slow melodic build up moving into a fine wonderfully expressive and expansive sound with guitar play to match, the result is soulful and emotive. The track threatens to explode but stays within a controlled form and even the delicious throbbing bass that entices some excellent metal attack to show its head in the latter part of the track retains a wonderful hold to compliment rather than deflect from what came before.

The next track ‘You Are So Mistaken’ brings a slower paced and mellower rock sound, beginning with a feel that reminds of The Eagles especially in the vocal department and early guitar creations. The track soon beefs up flexing some rock muscle seen in the bands companion project, again though it is a perfect blend with the melodic power keeping the key to the sound.

A prog rock flavour is evident in ‘The Way You Move’, another emotion fuelled slice of beauty. The track is varied, its rock attack balancing a mellow and heavier sound perfectly and entices participation as it spreads its wings around the ear.

The EP’s best track ‘One Dream’ closes up this impressive release. The subtle beginning tinged with a dark feel slowly reveals its glory swaying with addictive melodies and harmonies before erupting into incessant, powerful, and engaging riffs and a chorus that firmly grabs hold. Filled with delightful guitar insertions from Wood and Carstairs across the stirring basslines and Kerley’s drums the song ripples with passion and quality. Already having received solid radio play on the likes of The Reputation Radio Show, along with the opener this is the song that will open more and more doors of attention.

Where Do You Fit is a marvellous result of imaginative and innovative song writing and its realisation, it is also the trademark for the trio and any project they put their talents to no matter if rock or metal. Like the might of Tricore, the EP and An Entire Legion are essential listening, the new EPs from both surpassing most of the formulaic and predictable releases elsewhere, and though they are two totally separate and unique projects both bands deserve to be heard and shouted about.

http://tricoreuk.blogspot.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Entire-Legion/160300280693202

RingMaster 09/08/2011

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Tricore – Follow EP

The two years since the debut album from UK metal band Tricore has been a tortuous long wait for their legion of loyal fans, Less Than Man... More Than Rabbit making an indelible mark upon the metal hearts of so many including The RingMaster Review. Their unique creations of heavy riffs and energetic sounds fused with instinctive melodies and diverse engaging hooks feed and inspire any metal loving heart with immense satisfaction.

Though there has been apparent quiet on the Tricore front until now the quartet have been working on their melodic rock project An Entire Legion, but great as this sister band is there is nothing quite like the hard striking metal of Woking’s Tricore in full flow so the anticipation of more music from the band has been eager, strong, and impatient. The Follow EP ends the suffering showing that the wait was more than worthwhile with four stunning tracks plus an equally impressive free song as a free extra.

From the very first listen to Tricore the noticeable thing other than their immense skill in songwriting and playing is a sound that is theirs alone, it stands in its very own private corner with a distinct and exclusive identity and any bands one mentions in comparison just give mere hints to the band’s music and not a true description.

The EP hits hard from the first note of opener ‘When We Were Kings’, the riffs heavy and urgent feasting on emotions as the ear immediately sucks in the big bursting sounds. The driving guitars and bass riffs of Rich Wood and Mark Carstairs are soaring and direct into the ear. The track has everything, big sounds, delicious hooks, forceful beats from Chris Kerley on drums, and an excellent vocal delivery from him, his smooth powerful tones a perfect link between the melodic elements of the song and its pounding assault.

Mary Sockins’ picks up the baton next and keeps up the high quality, though that also applies to every track on the EP. The band may have taken their time before releasing another assault of songs since their album but they have not lost any of their might and potency in song writing and performance. The crushing riffs tempered by the controlled voice of Kerley and the humour laced lyrics makes perfect companions to please the hardest metal heart, adding the at times delicate atmospheric sounds of Luke Sedman with his synth and sample skills this and each song is extremely well balanced and impressive.

Small World’ has a firmer touch from Sedman, the song carrying a Fear Factory/Static X sensibility as the band once more strikes hard and fast. The break to a slow melodramatic part is seamless and builds to a closing crescendo that gets the pulse racing. ‘This Is Love’ hits like a sledge hammer, the machine gun drums drilling and scarring as guitars play alongside majestically. The track is belligerent, angry and metal at its very best, there are no bands that fly like a missile in the ear with ultimate destruction whilst delivering the best inspired melodies and hooks to intrigue and grab attention with originality.

The bonus song shows the band and their humour in full flow. Inspired by the Star Wars universe ‘Chew We Love’ is an emotional, heartfelt tear jerker……………ok truth is it is simply damn funny and yet another slice of Tricore musical brilliance that completes one of if not the best releases of metal this year so far.

Since the recording of Follow guitarist Rich Wood has left the band and though one would imagine he will be sorely missed the future for Tricore is surely one of impending mass recognition. Their album stirred the fires now Follow should send large sparks out to light up many more lives make yours one of them.

Buy the EP @  http://tricore.bandcamp.com/album/follow-ep-2011 or go to    www.wix.com/tricor1/tricore

RingMaster 08/08/2011

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