The Waterboys – An Appointment with Mr Yeats

Approaching the first listen of An Appointment with Mr Yeats the new album from The Waterboys, one was not sure what to expect and a sense of uncertainty was in the air before a note was played. It was not so much the fact of only having a passing knowledge of the work of William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet and playwright whose poetry the album is a musical companion and interaction with (Poe and Yeats’ ‘enemy’ Aleister Crowley being more of a taste for this palate), nor from having a respect for but no particular like for previous Waterboys musical offerings that a doubt about the album rose. It was more would this just be music behind a reading of WB Yeats works which with no matter how much passion and emotion came with the words, was like a cold shower to the anticipation. Really one should have known better. With the love, passion, and intent from Waterboys vocalist Mike Scott to bring, in a twenty year labour of love, the words of Irelands cultural son into a merger with respectful and understanding music of his own composition, it was always going to be something more than a simple rendition.

Scott had already brought Yeats poetry to music, writing a musical accompaniment for the classic poem ‘The Stolen Child’ for 1988 Waterboys album Fisherman’s Blues and five years later another poem ‘Love and Death was set to music to appear on the Dream Harder album. Over the years as well as doing the same with poems by Burns, James Stephens, Kenneth Grahame, and George MacDonald, Scott slowly added ‘collaborations’ with Yeats to create a wealth of material which remained a secret until the songs premiered at a series of  Appointment With Mr Yeats concerts in Ireland and Britain in 2010 and early 2011. Now fourteen tracks unveiled then have been given a love and attention in the studio to result in a release that if nothing else should be investigated.

Scott painstakingly worked with all the respect and musical skill at his disposal to create an engaging collection of songs. He shifted through poems finding those that would work with his musical ideas and rather than simply reciting the poems vocally he adapted the poems, removed some passages, changed out of use words replacing with ones to inspire the same emotion, and with understanding created songs with their own identity. They connect to Yeats poetry emotionally but stand alone with their own pride.

The songs are varied and extremely well composed and presented, each giving something different, whether with a rock beat, a folk flow or emotively soaring all have a satisfying effect. Opening track ‘The Hosting Of The Shee’ and probably the favourite here, flows on a pulsating beat that is as dramatic as the song is melodic. With immediate effect it takes the hand and sways in the ear marking straight off that the albums journey would be an intriguing and agreeable one.

The core of the band, Scott, bassist Marc Arciero, James Hallawell on keyboards, and drummer Ralph Salmins were joined on various tracks by fiddler Steve Wickham, Flook flautist Sarah Allen, multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John, Catalan trombonist Blaise Margail, and the stunning voice of Irish singer Katie Kim, who is a revelation on the album. Kim’s first appearance comes on ‘Song Of Wandering Aengus making a great track into an excellent one, her voice a force of beauty. The track swoops and lingers siren like, an aural sunshine warming the senses. The one thing that was not expected nor unwelcome was the thoughts of how much this song and other moments as the album progressed sounded like US band Wall Of Voodoo and its frontman Stan Ridgway’s solo work. The uniqueness of that band coincidently resurrected here.

The songs on the album play their own delights openly with the likes of the soulful ‘A Full Moon In March’, the memorable ‘Sweet Dancer’, and the atmospheric rock pulse of ‘The Lake Isle Of Innisfree with a distinctive bass potency that resonates beyond the ear, leaving more than smiles inside.

The consistency over the album is as expected high, though it has to be said at times without the wonderful voice of Kim to always keep the engagement with the album a certain one, maybe one would just dip into the album more often than giving complete listens each time. Saying that though the album is thoroughly enjoyable and far beyond the expectations going into it. One might not be rushing to check out The Waterboys back catalogue because of it but definitely revisits to An Appointment with Mr Years are guaranteed as well as watching out for a certain Katie Kim and her own musical journey.

RingMaster 22/09/2011

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The Lovely Eggs – Panic Plants

Distinct and striking the eclectic sounds of UK grunge-pop band The Lovely Eggs follow no rules they simply do what expresses and feels right to them. Endearing and at times challenging they bring a punk rock ethos to a sound that teases and delights with intrigue and originality.

    The Lovely Eggs are the duo from Lancaster, UK of Holly Ross and David Blackwell, a band with an instinct to push listener’s boundaries whilst caressing their ears with melodies, discordance and musical tangents. New single Panic Plants released via Cherryade Records is a perfect example, simplistic almost childlike sounds with an addictive incessancy that would not feel out of place on an adult Sesame Street episode.  

The track is the third single from the band’s latest album Cob Dominos which garnered much acclaim and is a follow up to the previous ‘Fuck It’ which was released in May on a Bank Holiday when the shops were closed and because of the title DJ’s could not play, that just about sums up the mindset and glory of The Lovely Eggs. They do it their way and we all benefit immensely.

Panic Plants is a portrayal of living with an obsessive compulsive disorder all brought with the duo’s inimitable touch. It brings a grin to the face as it plays without taking any cheap shots at the subject itself. As mentioned it has a childlike quality and plays like a blend of 80’ bands The Chefs, Daisy Chainsaw and the current Blood Red Shoes.

The single b-side is ‘Creepin’’, a slow building melody piece of joy. With a touch of Throwing Muses to it the song morphs into an electrified scuzz moment behind the harmony lined vocals that again engage the senses openly. Less of a sing-a-long than its sister track, it still has that feel of familiarity about it that has one joining in with enthusiasm. This is what pop music should always be like.

The Lovely Eggs ride into the heart on a blend of art rock, punk rock, indie and riot grrrl pop, ’Panic Plants’ the ideal doorway into the band’s joyfully unique and enjoyable sounds.

The band has shared stages around the UK, USA and Europe with the likes of Half Japanese, Shonen Knife, The Slits, The Television Personalities and Art Brut, impressing with every show and are about to tour the UK in October. With the release of their excellent single now is the time to go and revel in their impressive charms.

http://www.thelovelyeggs.co.uk/

RingMaster 20/09/2011

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Livarkahil – Signs Of Decay

There is forceful intensity in music and then there is Livarkahil. The word going around about the French band was positive but there was no indication for the explosive encounter awaiting the senses as the first track on their new album Signs Of Decay revealed its bestial power. The album is a powder keg of passion, violent emotion, and scorching potency, its crushing riffs and sonically stripping onslaught holding dominion over the ear and every second is total bliss.

Formed in 2007, the Parisian death metal band first came to solid attention with their debut album First Act Of Violence in 2009, receiving a good strong response from fans and media as did their demo No Cure For The Fools before it in 2007. Returning on September the 26th via Listenable Records with the devastation that is Signs Of Decay, they are sure to gain much more attention, acclaim and fans wide and far as they lay waste to all before them with their aural offensive. A concept album based on religious autocracy and mans needs being exploited; the release is a blistering attack in every way possible and leaves its mark intently and indelibly.  

The quintet of vocalist HK, guitarists Kaiin and Traüme, plus Neil and Skvm bass and drums respectively, bring a blackened death metal form to their music but it carries much more; at times there are more metal spices, dark industrial tones, and within the brutality a technical play that is immense. The band is confident in their sound and creates things uniquely, following no formulas or expected directions; this brings a fresh and distinct flavour and overall a defined quality to their music.

The albums best track starts the dark descent for the senses. ‘In Nomine Patris’ is staggering, even with the building intensity moving towards an expected crescendo there is no solid warning of the attack ahead, even with its ominous feel. The track goes for the mental jugular as it hits its stride with an aggression and sound that would make the likes of Devildriver and Suicide Silence wince. It leaves one breathless but it is only the start as the equally impressive and ravaging ‘When Hell Is Near’ proves. Another highly ferocious track it invades with riffs that are primal and predatory, like scavengers of the senses. It may be uncomfortable and might even hurt but Signs Of Decay is satisfyingly formidable and enjoyable.

Showing no weakness the album strides through further triumphant monstrosities of noise, all challenging and all invitingly addictive. It is hard to pick out one track over another but ‘Above All Hatred’, ‘The Flesh Of All Damned’, and ‘Heaven Shall Fall’ all stay just that little longer inside after they depart the ear. The album though as a whole is always the important factor and with it Livarkahil have created a release that will mark them as heavyweights in metal sooner rather than later.

Produced by HK& BST (Aosoth, The Order Of Apollyon) the album allows each element of the sound to breathe and excel. Distinct basslines, strikingly creative and intrusive guitars, blasting rhythms and drums filled with vocals that delve deeply within the deliverers and recipients are the fuel; for a collection of tracks that are instinctive and hit with the impact of a explosion. Signs Of Decay is the album of the month already and possibly of the year, is hard to remember many challengers so far.

RingMaster 19/09/2011

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Hemoptysis – Misanthropic Slaughter

Earlier in the year US metalers Hemoptysis released what is not only the best thrash album this year but maybe arguably of the decade in Misanthropic Slaughter. Because of its distinct and essential quality a late review of it was warranted. To call it thrash though is a very limiting tag in regard to this album, as the band from Phoenix, Arizona simply take thrash as a base and infuse it with essences of heavy metal, death and black metal to create an intelligent, vibrant and thoroughly inspiring sound. One does not have to be a follower of thrash metal to be touched by the sounds created as there is so much more to the music of Hemoptysis to ensure that everyone is more than satisfyingly catered for. This is a metal album, and does not truly sit neatly in any box and that makes it so refreshing.

From the first beckoning seconds of the opening title track the album grabs an eager attention.  Throbbing rampaging variant riffs, incessant clutching rhythms and the grisly growls of vocalist/guitarist Masaki Murashita all play firmly and eagerly. Within the first minute one knows this is not going to be a one dimensional thrash album that satisfies but leaves the palate without anything new to savour. Well written, intelligent and with appetising variations in sound and directions within the song it ripples with and oozes quality. This is an indication of things to come for the album and thoroughly rewarding it is too.  

The basslines on the opener from Sunao Arai pulse with energy but on the second track ‘Hopeless’ he lets loose with an even deep resonance that is hypnotic and seductive. Like a deep vein his riffs fuel the track as the guitars of Murashita and lead guitarist Ryan Miller dance on the ear with certain skill and creativity. As everywhere on the album, the track surprises and delights with excursions into new diversions within the tracks forceful flow, drummer Travis Thune leading the way with his controlled energy and craft.

There are no standout tracks on Misanthropic Slaughter because every song is at an equal high level of expertise, thoughtful and intelligent songwriting and ultimately the realisation. There are moments that give a little more blood pumping pleasure than others like the Metallica spiced opening to ‘Impending Doom’, the delicious solos that cruise excitedly in ‘M.O.D.’, and the perpetual riff attack and drum intensity of ‘The Cycle’, but overall the tracks all start and end on an even level of the loftiest plateau. One never gets bored or loses focus with the diverse and continual changes and the engaging imagination within every song.

The album is definitely not the most brutal onslaught to see the light this year but its power comes from the inventiveness and if it had become simply a continual burst of aggression the adept quality and originality of the song writing would have been seriously diminished.   The band’s previous EP Who Needs A Sheppard? found much critical acclaim and it is no surprise that Misanthropic Slaughter has received the same response and then some. Hemoptysis has created a masterpiece which deserves all the accolades it receives.

Produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ryan Greene (Megadeth, Authority Zero, NOFX)it is clear he and the band were on the same wavelength regarding their sound and the result is a crisp and clean sound that is natural and not over polished. The music breathes and flows with an organic feel; in every aspect the album is a joy. Misanthropic Slaughter should be on the playlist of every true metal fan and in time surely Hemoptysis will be on most of their lips.

RingMaster 19/09/2011

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The Super Happy Fun Club – Go Fun Yourself

If upon listening to Go Fun Yourself the new album from Chicago pop rockers The Super Happy Fun Club you are not smiling broadly at some point you are either deaf or dead. Whatever your musical flavourings and poison the infectious feel good sounds of the sextet is irresistible, defying you not to tap your toes, widen those lips and even raise your own vocals tones.  There is no escaping the fact that this release is FUN and in response to the title one finds it impossible not to be an involved part of its joyful play in some degree.

The members of The Super Happy Fun Club before being a band are friends spanning fifteen years and it goes a long way to show why there is such ease and fluency across the album. Of course musical proficiency and songwriting skills are important in eth making of notable music, but to have that confident and deeply comfortable understanding between band members is a big factor in making great music, and on the evidence of the eight songs within Go Fun Yourself this band are flowing with it all. The band has plenty of experience in its ranks too with members learning their craft in an array of bands including Lucky Boys Confusion, Treaty of Paris, The Waiting Game, Logan Square, and One Life. It all combines to make The Super Happy Fun Club with their power pop/pop punk blend one hard to ignore band.

The album’s most accessible and track, though every song is so easy to become one with, ‘My Life’s A Mess (Yeah Yeah Yeah)’ starts the party atmosphere flowing. Big gang choruses, thumping riffs, glorious discordant intrusions, and copious lashes of hooks with a Fall Out Boy edge, the song is simply aural manna. Sometimes opening an album with the strongest and best song can back fire as from there on in it feels like there is a marked drop in levels. Not on Go Fun Yourself, each and every varied subsequent track delivers the goods in their different ways. A strong aspect of the album is that there is a distinct variety amongst the tracks under a pop rock umbrella. Some tracks veer into rock others towards punk but every time they grab the ear with an engaging enthusiasm that is impossible to not welcome.

The line-up of vocalist Stubhy Pandav, guitarists Brad Chagdes and Phil Kosch, bassist Jeremy Galanes, Pat Gilroy on keys, and drummer Chris Mason pull out all the stops on the release to entertain and give the listener no choice but to let their sounds in. The never feel the need to resort to cheap tricks and obvious lures to make their music stand out, instead trusting their own inspired melodies and hooks to grab attention which they invariably do and numerous times within each track. ‘Victim’ with its proud strolling bassline and great group harmonies on simple effective rock guitars keeps the essential listening going. From the following ‘London’ with a Sick Puppies flavouring, through the more emotive ‘Generation’ with a taste of Living End about it, to the vibrant and beckoning harmonious ‘Partners In Crime’ sounding how we all wish Bowling For Soup did, all tease and pleasure the ear with care and attention.

The remaining tracks complete an extremely satisfying and impressive release with a mention of ‘Billy The Entertainer’ a must. It is an immense piece of bliss combining a Living End/Undertones hypnotic lure across a length of track The Dickies would be proud of. Short and punchy it is pop punk at its best.

The Super Happy Fun Club with Go Fun Yourself has lit up music and the year with its sounds. With touches of Plain White T’s and Billy Talent to be added to the spices of previously mention bands the release has something for everyone within its own very original and unique sounds. When it receives its release on 7th November via THROOP Records make it your first adventure of the day.

http://www.thesuperhappyfunclub.com

RingMaster 18/09/2011

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Cryptborn – Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead

Finnish band Cryptborn began its dark ascent into music in 2010 and soon after recorded their debut EP Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead. Having seen a release in cassette form via Detest Records a few short months ago the EP has just received its full appearance via Dark Descent Records, the label the band recently joined.  Consisting of seven slabs of old school death metal the release is an eager to consume, grotesque, ungodly beast bringing forth metal of the oldest and honest kind.

The members of Cryptborn had a strong pedigree and experience before the band with American vocalist ChristButcher, bassist Jani Nupponen, and guitarist Ville Markkanen part of blackened death band Maveth together, and with the addition of second guitarist K.L. and drummer AtomosM the already instilled understanding and unity has helped in the band’s fully apparent tightness and fluidity.

    Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead brings forth many sounds and flavours that recall the likes of Grave, Entombed, and Dismember and though not exactly oozing originality, its powerful intent and dirty fetid sound will satisfy all who allow their senses to be eagerly consumed by the intrusive pernicious fingers of old school death metal. 

The EP opens with the predatory crawl of ‘A Feast for the Grave (intro)’, a suffocating and oppressive dirge that is as invasive as it is challenging. The track invitingly sets up the senses for more of the same throughout the release but with a fiercer and more aggressive power and energy causing even more damage on the remaining tracks. The likes of the decomposition of ‘Gift of Rotten Flesh’ and the devastating Swedish death metal sourced attack of the title track run riot over the ear, all testing, probing and invading with full efficiency. Despite their full out onslaughts and slightly healthier riffs and tempos, there is always the prowl of an intense sludge crawl on each track as first indicated on the opener, its bile like venom ready to pounce.

Vocalist ChristButcher is just as toxic too with his guttural delivery and rant like attack, his demonic tones hand in hand with the demonised sounds the band produce. The relentlessly driving guitars strip layers away sonically as they invade the ear and the pummelling and ever probing harsh massive riffs and hellish rhythms all combine with ChristButcher to create abrasive scathing sounds that are as much a treat as they are a violently intrusive.

The production on Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead is not the best at times it has to be said with often the drums and bass being almost lost within the wall of sound their skill and individual contributions too indistinct even though a major part of the aggressive onslaught. The clarity to really appreciate their contribution is lost in the oppressive waves of noise but despite that the EP is still very satisfying and for skill and intent it ranks highly.

Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead is a very strong release and deserves to be given solid attention by death metal fans and beyond. With the EP Cryptborn has shown they are a band to watch out for in the future as they surely make their mark on metal.

RingMaster 16/09/2011

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Rose Funeral – Gates Of Punishment

Malevolent and black heartened the new album from Cincinnati death metalers Rose Funeral is one of those releases that will do much more than get a good response upon its release. Strongly impressive, strikingly creative, and unnervingly powerful it is an immense cacophony of dark intent and violence of demonic proportions. Its destiny is to recruit new masses of followers from the shadows and to place Rose Funeral at the head of the new breed of death metal bands.

   Gates Of Punishment is the follow up to the band’s highly acclaimed Metal Blade Records debut The Resting Sonata from 2009, the eleven pulsating demonian tracks within building on its predecessor and pushing the band’s music to new heights and devastation. In the press release vocalist Ryan Gardner commented “We had the greatest time recording Gates of Punishment. It is definitely a HUGE step for Rose Funeral. I can honestly say this album just crushes any release we have done. We are looking to turn heads and drop jaws with this album. Gates of Punishment is filled with intense blasts, fast paced solos, melodic harmonies, dark chords, harsh vocals, and pissed off breakdowns. This is the sound I have been searching for with Rose Funeral, and I couldn’t be happier. All I can say is that with the guys I have in the band, it will be a huge climb in sound every album from now on.”  Going by the quality and strength of Gates Of Punishment there is one hell of a death ride ahead for us all.  

The album starts off with an instrumental intro to opening track ‘Legions Of Ruination’, as bells toll it is a portent of things to come with its ominous tones through a rain soaked effect. Once it has laid its emotive atmosphere down the track explodes into a pummelling exercise of power. The vocals of Gardner drip venom as the drums attack machine gun style, whilst the guitar of Kevin Snook drives like a cranial drill into the skull, incessantly and deeply. His melodic and sonically powerful additions though aid the intensity rather than alleviate it and it brings the whole experience up multiple notches of pleasure.

Grotesque Mutilation’ increases the damage and levels immediately after, intrusive sonically and rhythmically it is primal and evil. Bassist Julian Kersey brings riffs that stomp menacingly and though understated at times more than helps create the over whelming oppressive feel. A big factor to Rose Funeral’s is the distinct variation within tracks, riffs, tempos, crushing breakdowns  are all delivered with thoughtful attention and ability, making each turn within a track a new unexpected but invariably a very satisfying adventure, ‘Beyond The Entombed’ a prime example. Coming over initially like a Cradle of Filth influenced track it soon moves to new realms yet undiscovered by the UK band. With tense piano insertions, seek and destroy riffs and guttural vocals to grace any grave, the track is a lurking beast.

Across the album each and every track delivers originality and intense terror to please any dark soul. Varied and loaded with the darkest riffs and wickedest intentions musically and lyrically at every turn, there is nothing but contentment to be found. From the crumbling incessancy of ‘False Divine’ featuring vocals from ex Morbid Angel frontman Steve Tucker, through the clutching grasp of ‘Malignant Amour’ with another guest in the form of opera singer Kate Alexander bringing her glorious melodic voice to work against and with the direct aggression, to the albums best track ‘The Desolate Form’. The song ripples with pernicious urgency and fierce energy, if one has to go this is the kind of track to leave this realm with.

Gates Of Punishment is an epic, not in the size of the release or even the sound but in the intensity, creativity, and total enjoyment it gives. With a year of very good and strong releases in the death metal genre Rose Funeral has just raised the bar for them all.

http://www.metalblade.com/rosefuneral

http://www.facebook.com/rosefuneralmusic

RingMaster 16/09/2011

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The Wild Mercury Sound – Miss Frost

Age, ability and confidence of sound really do not have to be linked and one should not be that surprised when a young band sounds just as good as any veterans of experience. After saying that though there is something about The Wild Mercury Sound that, because of none of its members being beyond 19 years old, brings a small sense of awe and wonder of just how good this band could become upon hearing their debut single ‘Miss Frost’. The single is a stylish and powerful track accompanied by the equally impressive b-side ‘Itchy Skin’, two songs that do not just sound great but emotionally touch more than just the ears.

The London based band with the single to be released through Hearts & Minds Records on October 10th, have already gathered a strong acclaim for it and themselves that is growing all the time as more ears are graced by the intelligent and eager music. The quartet of Benji Compston (Vocals, Guitar), Ashley Cooper (Drums), Johnny Lillis (Guitar), and Jonny Allan (Bass) infuse the songs with loaded feelings and passion that comes from personal insight and experience that even their young years have felt.

Sitting and cradling the listener as it expels all its powerful emotions, ‘Miss Frost’ brings forth a resourceful flow of sentiment, tactile lyrics, and  freshly crafted  chords enthused within its firmly driven sounds. A song written on Christmas Day about “a bizarre relationship with an ex-girlfriend” of Compston it moves through a slow paced sorrowful start building into a rampant pleading crescendo that is as stirring as it is touching. Compston brings a vocal display tinged with suffering without sinking to pleading, his impressive delivery adding distinctly to and combining with the music to create a sound that plays with the emotions. Sensitive guitars alongside a vibrant bassline erupt into a scuzzy explosive and powerful summit to the song, reminding a little of the The Keys and resulting in a track that is more than satisfying.

Itchy Skin’ is another personal felt and led track composed about a friend who had to go through ‘cold turkey’. It’s soulful and prickly attack has an uncomfortable spine behind the melodic and again slightly distorted tones of the song giving a sense and representation of the physical aspect of the songs source. Raw and potent it strikes home firmly without going too far and bringing unease that might lose the listener. Again the likes of The Keys and The Loud are touched and at times especially with the vocal harmonies Jane’s Addiction also came to mind.

The two tracks are great examples of the skilled songwriting the band has within its abilities. Produced by Peter Miles (The King Blues, We Are The Ocean, Dry The River) the single is a mature example of a band that is destined to go far and will create life touching sounds along the way, right now it is one of the freshest and most enjoyable singles so far this year.

http://www.thewildmercurysound.co.uk
RingMaster 15/09/2011

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Entrails – The Tomb Awaits

With a release of the darkest intent and the relentlessness of a reanimated extinguisher of life, Swedish death metalers Entrails return with their second album hoping to and more than likely succeeding in, laying waste the next multitude of souls to fall before their monstrously intense sound. The Tomb Awaits released via Dark Descent / FDA Rekotz is an aural beast standing proud and tall side by side with the growing multitude of old school Swedish death metal bands and releases that are lurking and emerging from the dankest pits and blackest shadows currently. It shakes its targets to the core whilst gratifying them even more deeply, showing that things influenced by the past do not have to come without a vigour, potency, and an attack that is as harsh as modern times can deliver.

Though formed in 1991 and having in those early times recorded rough and in the end unacceptable demos to band founder Jimmy Lindquist, their debut release did not come until 2010 with the strongly acclaimed Tales from the Morgue album. The massive delay came down to the fact the band split up early on and did not resurrect until 2008, when they then re-recorded many of the early tracks and eventually released them as part of their debut album. Now The Tomb Awaits goes even further in satisfying their fans and the anticipation inspired from the debut as well as undoubtedly gaining an even larger and more fervent following. 

It is worth again reminding ourselves that the band began two decades past, seeing in and participating in the birth of the genre, the original sound influencing and flexing its muscular power within The Tomb Awaits. In some ways comparing them against new bands that try and often just fail in their attempt to reanimate the aspects and sounds that made Swedish death metal so powerful and inspiring is unfair, Entrails are one of the originals now simply infusing current sounds and progress to expand on their own creations and ideas.

The quartet of Jimmy Lindquist (guitars), Joakim Svensson (bass/vocals), Mathias Nilsson (guitars), and Adde Mitroulis (drums) have unleashed twelve angry and devastating tracks  on their album that make the earth tremble as they bring forth an intensity to see off the brave and make mindless wrecks of the weak. The album starts off on the instrumental melodic beauty of ‘The Tomb Awaits’, though brief it attempts to fool the senses with its glamour and siren like strains and almost succeeds until the bedlam cries of the wretched break through at its end revealing that the gates to hell are now open. ‘Unleashed Wrath’ hits hard and low to confirm the fact, the guttural strains of Svensson bringing forth venom to match the driven violence of the music. The album has taken hold and is in no mood to let go as the subsequent tracks prove.

The Tomb Awaits has an impressive intensity across its consuming bulk but the likes of the incessant senses stripping ‘Crawling Death’, the light and shadows of ‘Undead’ thrusting its evil potency and gang vehemence forth with some blazing guitar solos to illuminate the way, and the black hearted declaration of ‘End of All Existence’ with rampaging riffs, seamless tempo changes, and enough intensity to tear flesh from the bone, make the album a force not to be denied.

It is obvious upon hearing The Tomb Awaits the band have not turned over new stones or waded through fresh waters of creativity but that is the point and the appeal of the release and Entrails’ approach. The band began in and is steeped in the genesis of the genre, it is their driving force and musical breath and the reason they sound as they satisfyingly do. They may not be openly original with the likes of Entombed, Grave, and Dismember an obvious comparison, but there are few that make such powerful and striking old school metal better than they do. The Tomb Awaits may not be essential listening but only a fool will not give it a go.

RingMaster 15/09/2011

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Digital Deformation – No Signal

The new album from UK industrial electronic band Digital Deformation is no lightweight when it comes to creating sounds to not only touch the ear but to test and stretch thoughts and senses too. Challenging and dramatic the body and essence of No Signal does not seek to leave uplifted hearts and smiles once it has ravaged its listeners but rather take them on a dark, at times steely cold, and ultimately a very rewarding journey. This music is not for those who want an easy life of electronic pulses and hooks that come with ear candy ease, the experimental expansive industrial soundscapes offered are for those who want to submerge within sounds, to feel them in every pore and synapse.

Formed in January 2010 Essex based Digital Deformation is the one man project of Matt J. Powell. The two previous Digital Deformation releases, System Failure and Powertrips both received acclaim with the latter finding some good radio play and press coverage. No Signal should garner even more attention and enthusiasm as Powell has evolved his earlier sounds into an even more controlled and intensely focused affair. The diverse array of splintered song structures, exacting fusions of sonically testing sounds, and a randomness overall that is rigorous and ear catching, makes each track on the album an inventive and creative maelstrom of edgy and intriguing intrusions.

The eleven songs on No Signal carry views, statements, and warnings, some obvious and some to be interpreted individually adding that little extra to make the music even more rewarding. There is a prophetic coldness and singularity to the emotions brought forth throughout from themes spawned from a hard and bitter mechanical base and others seeping the inner sickness that permeates this world. Powell uses diverse and at times demanding and surprising sounds with skilled ingenuity to bring an atmospheric and emotive smothering that suffuses the release and those whose ears openly digest the offered sounds.  

The tracks attack and display their motives and aural visions consistently across the album, from the scathing and harsh ‘Digital Deformation’, the political and social battering of ‘Discipline Me’ , to the dark emotive ‘Divine’ veiled by distorted harmonies and throbbing pulses. The effect is formidable and demanding without ever leaving the recipient suffering needlessly.

Some tracks stand out more than most on No Signal like the senses slapping stomp of ‘f.uk.c’, summing up the general consensus right now it is a strikingly formidable and impressive burst of magnetized intensity. ‘Resistance Crushed’ a withering bombardment of incisive sounds and heavy beats, and the Nine Inch Nails/Global Citizen tinged commentary of ‘D.E.F.C.O.N’ show impressively strong creative songwriting and usage of layers and distinctly crafted at odds sounds. The closing majesty of ‘Salvation’ using a wonderful sampled female voiced melody to contrast the dark menacing truthful message raises the level most of all, with core felt warnings, false hope, and sparks of positivity for socially blind human moths, the track is verging on perfection and leaves the listener desperate to dive right back into the album upon its completion.

No Signal will not be for everyone though all should give it a moment of time as within its industrial corridors there is something for most waiting to be discovered. It is taxing at times, always challenging, and often aurally numbing, but these are also some of the reasons the album is so good. For those who do dip toes and more into the vast waters of industrial music, Digital Deformation should be high on their investigation list.

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http://digitaldeformation1.bandcamp.com/

RingMaster 14/09/2011

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