Krampus – Kronos’ Heritage

Italian eight piece band Krampus are intent on making a mark with their infectious folk/melodic death metal sounds ripe with belligerent aggression and melodic Celtic influences. The band formed in 2009 but it is this year where things seem to have gathered momentum for Krampus with the release of their debut EP Shadows of Our Times in March, playing major festivals in Europe, and now the release of their new EP  Kronos’ Heritage. With a sound as vibrant as it is forthright there is a firm sense that things are taking a rapid move forward now for the band.

Kronos’ Heritage brings forth three tracks of direct and thrusting death metal like combativeness infused and layered with enthused melodic folk sounds brought through the use of traditional instruments like flutes, whistles, violins, and the Irish Bouzouki. Lyrically too they are as forceful as their sounds, the theme and content to their songs focusing on the ever changing state of humanity, environmental awareness, and social issues, their views and feeling openly clear.

The title track ‘Kronos’ Heritage’ opens up the EP with the harsh growls of vocalist Filippo Gianotti carrying a metal core sensibility to them, driving the track on as potent riffs and incisive power from the guitars hit hard. The song is the most accessible and melodic of the three, combining an impressive blend of both extremes of aggression and harmonies musically and vocally alongside the dark intent of Gianotti. The keyboards of Tommaso Adriano, the soulful violins from Marika Geremia, and the flutes amongst the array of sounds that Matteo Sisti brings, are an intriguing and arresting contrast to the powerful and noise led attack leaving the ear spellbound.  

Aftermath’ is a full on wonderful assault where again intensely driven riffs and wanton blasts fly hand in hand with soaring and fresh melodies. The drum sticks of Carlo Andrian even in the quieter moments drop like shells as he attacks with relish. Alessandro Gallera and Leonardo strike firmly as well as bringing some fine melodic plays and solos to the song, as they do on all tracks, and to be honest the more one listens to the release the further away from death metal it sounds. Truthfully it bridges a few genres and is distinct to most other harder edged folk metal bands giving Krampus an exciting advantage many cannot match.

My Siege’ completes the trio of outstanding tracks and is probably the best, certainly the most ferocious as it batters the same senses its melodic ingenuity caresses. Bassist Davide Zampato lays down a delicious bass throbbing sound that resonates throughout the track complimenting both the mighty power and harmonious weaves that play wonderfully in the aggressive creases of the track. With the electro keyboard sound it plays more like a distant folk cousin to The Browning than to the likes of Scar Symmetry or Hypocrisy.

Kronos’ Heritage is simply excellent and will easily increase the anticipation of a full length from the band in the future though as their two EP’s are self released a wait may be in order. Certainly this and its predecessor shows that Krampus have their future and an unique creativity in their own hands as well as so much more pleasure to give to its growing mass of fervent fans.

www.krampusfolk.com

RingMaster 13/09/2011

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Down The Machine – Know Your Place

 

More than any of their previous releases the single ‘Losing Faith’ was probably the one that opened up the UK rock band Down The Machine to many more willing and eager recipients to their sounds. With an enterprising and satisfying album, their recent EP Let You In, the aforementioned single, and an impressive live reputation, the Leeds quartet have rapidly been making the steps that should lead them to bigger and grander things. With the release of their extremely impressive and engaging new single ‘Know Your Place’ the acceleration to their rise should increase alongside their ever growing fan base.

Down The Machine have been honing their craft and songwriting skills since 2009 and each release has given evidence of an emerging efficient and exciting songwriting ability within the band. ‘Know Your Place’ is no exception and in a relatively short time since their album there is again another distinct step forward in their creativity and skill in creating and realising their musical ideas. The new single is dramatic, charismatic, and a forceful track not needing to pummel the senses to make its mark and point.  

Musically ‘Know Your Place’ is certainly the bands most potent and accomplished, the guitar of Dan Millikin leads the track down new avenues to inspire and thrill the ear whilst the pulsating bass riffs of Neil Short backed by the caged drums of Mark Greenwood give a sustained and heavy intensity to the song. One senses Greenwood is champing at the bit to explode but with skilled controlled aggression he backs up the powerful beckoning bass of Short and the surging guitar sounds perfectly.

There is again a slight grunge feel to the track, reminding of the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and especially in places the Deftones. As much as the flavour comes from the vibrant and driving music the earnest and emotive vocals of Steve Wilson bring forth the sense too, his passionate delivery offering up lyrics that feel at times personal and easy to relate to.

Fresh from headlining one of the days on the successful and immense Leeds Metal Fest in August, with Short heavily involved and inspirational in the planning and realisation of the event, ‘Know Your Place’ is an excellent way to round off a successful year for the band. Powerful and stirring it is another indication that Down The Machine is one of the best UK rock bands around right now and the single itself one of the musical highlights of the year.

Know Your Place’ is set for release on 10th Oct 2011 via Ambicon Records for more information check out http://www.downthemachine.com and http://www.ambiconrecords.co.uk/

RingMaster 13/09/2011

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7 Horns 7 Eyes – Convalescence

With their three track digital EP Convalescence, Seattle based technical progressive death metalers 7 Horns 7 Eyes have not only shown themselves to be a strongly expressive and powerful band but also given an indication of what their eagerly anticipated forthcoming debut album Throes of Absolution has in store.

Strong on riffs, emotive melodies, and incessant power the release shows a creative band that is not afraid to push boundaries and play upon and with the senses. Opening track ‘Vindicator’ carries a two prong attack, its intrusive riffs and sonically cutting sounds playing alongside opposing diverse and flowing melodic elegance in musical transactions, exchanging pieces of the songs in a seamless blend. It is harsh and at times brutal especially under the direction of the pummelling drums of Ryan Wood and Brandon Smith’s deep bass, whilst vocalist JJ “Shiv” Polachek IV delivers a heavy and deep rasping vocal soaked in menace and guttural intent adding to the dark intensity of the track. Countering this though is the scorching and melodic guitar play from Aaron Smith and Sean Alf and some excellent vocal harmonies that effortlessly flow behind the aggression. Traditionally evil carries a hypnotic beauty to lure the victims in and this track and the music of 7 Horns 7 Eyes is the same, menacing and dangerous but almost hypnotically impossible to ignore.

The title track centres the release rebalancing the senses before the final onslaught. Carrying a haunting atmosphere ‘Convalescence’ is a relatively brief instrumental, its grand arrangement plays like a mournful reflection of darker places tinged with a resemblance of hope still unconvinced of its own validity. A dramatic and thoughtful track that leaves the ear far too soon though its ‘premature’ end does mark the arrival of the final impressive track.  

The Winnowing’ is a tense formidable track laying on an increasingly building ominous feeling. It’s mid tempo crawl never sinks into a sludge/doom dirge like predatory assault but it still keeps the consuming invasion moving on a like minded slow and even pace. Dark and as foreboding as the song is at times, the wonderful progressive guitar work from Smith and Alf lift it into varied and masterful fresh directions that engage and satisfy evenly.

Convalescence is a strong and pleasing release that increases anticipation for the band’s debut. It at times does suffer a lack of really striking and unique heart stopping moments that really surprise and set the band way ahead of contemporaries but it also suggests that final step in their development might just be around the corner, maybe on Throes of Absolution. The EP shows 7 Horns 7 Eyes is a skilled and talented band that deserves attention and with Convalescence are more likely than not to receive it.

http://www.facebook.com/7horns7eyes

RingMaster 13/09/2011

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Circles – The Compass

On a few rare occasions upon hearing a band for the very first time there is an instant understanding and emotional sustenance of one’s musical needs and desires and the sense of music that is on a much higher and unexpected level from the start. Australian metalers Circles are such a band, their immense and impressive debut mini album The Compass instantly setting them apart from the majority of other bands and at the forth front of not just progressive and technical metal, but metal/rock itself. The six stunning tracks on their release reveal a quintet of musicians and song writers impactful in ability, creativity and technical skill as a unit, and music that oozes belief, confidence and a sure handed combination of melodies and ruptured structures that excite and ignite the senses.

Melbourne’s Circles are a relatively new band having formed in 2010 but hit a chord with an immediate mass of fans with their Prelude demo in the same year. Live shows cemented and increased awareness amid a rising fervour for their sound in their homeland whilst gathering attention beyond its shores. February of this year saw the band sign to UK label Basick Records and work on tracks to become what is The Compass quickly followed. With the mini album now released and the glory of their djent based tangent littered progressive metal ingenuity there for all to hear, it is no surprise they have rapidly garnered such acclaim and intense enthusiasm their way. 

Frontline’ opens up the release with electronic and synth pulses that beckon in a throbbing beast of a bass riff soon joined by the striking guitars of Ted Furuhashi and Matty Clarke. The track winds its way through its attention seeking length to great effect. To be honest the track does not pull down trees and really only intrigues but does ensure continued attention with its more than satisfying and enjoyable blends of harmonies, melodies, and driving power, though the further it progresses the bolder and more challenging it gets with a dramatic climax to envy. The song does instantly show the sheer power and impressive range of vocalist Perry Kakridas, his seamless and effortless mix of soaring smooth vocals and growling and scathing aggressive bursts outshining most other vocalists currently.

The second track ‘Clouds Are Gathering’ takes over and from this point the atmosphere is sparked into a blistering and searing intensity that never stops until the albums fading last notes. The track has everything and some, all elements that are needed to make a song sure to be immortalised in the heart. Titanic unpredictable driving riffs and constructs with a technical sharpness that never dulls in their incisive energy and attack merge into flowing harmonious melodies that sweep throughout, framing the jaw dropping and wonderful vocals of Kakridas. By the close of The Compass it is clear in time he will be classed up there with the likes of Mike Patton, of which it is apparent the Australian has been influenced by as it is that Faith No More have the band. For what will not be the only time on the release the track brings the elements that made FNM the inspirational leaders of so many fused into their own eclectic writing skills and sounds.

Not allowing the listener to take a breath the third and best track follows and ‘Act 3’ is a brute of a power soaked forceful song. Even in its mellower inserts and harmonious swells it is as intimidating but in an engaging way. The drums of Dave Hunter as on all tracks drive the song without breaking its emotive essence whilst bassist Drew Patton once more gives a compulsive resonating spine to the track. The three remaining tracks are just as powerful and fulfilling on the album, ‘Eyes Embedded’ with a sound that has a God Forbid/FNM like flavour, the tight and technically intelligent momentum of ‘The Design’, and the closing atmospheric clear and stormy merges within the enthralling ‘Ruins’, all continue the absorbing and wonderful quality already shown.

It is basically simple, The Compass is easily one of the very best releases so far this year and Circles will be one of the most respected bands of all time in what could be on this evidence, the very near future.

http://circlesband.com

http://www.basickrecords.com/

RingMaster 13/09/2011

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