Engraved Ritual – Synthetic Rage Volume 1 – Various Artists

If you are looking for the best new bands and sounds of a dark electro/industrial/harsh EBM flavouring then your first port of call is without doubt Engraved Ritual. The Colorado based record label has dedicated itself to searching for and bringing forth outstanding bands to the ears of the world, taking a defined emphasis towards the talent within America and the Latin America.

Synthetic Rage Volume 1 is the label’s first compilation album mixing artists on their label with other raw and extremely promising bands on the verge of making very distinctive marks. The release sums up Engraved Ritual’s aim and intent in unveiling and helping underground artists and sounds find new homes in the ears of the masses, its sixteen tracks and bands a vibrant kaleidoscope of striking and future essential sounds.

The first impressive thing about the album as a whole is the high consistency of quality across its pulsating electro breadth. Though there is always going to be through personal tastes tracks that step out from the line-up with extra distinction it has to be stated that every track here offers something energising and invigorating to the ears. Most compilations have a weak link or two in its aural chain but Synthetic Rage is an impressive brute with a unflinching strength from the blistering sonic creations of all the artists within.

Four of the opening tracks come from bands signed to the label starting with Andro-Dioxin. From Mexico the industrial/ harsh EBM project of Everth Dioxin offers up ‘Suicidal’ its striking sounds permeating and twisting through ear and head from the album’s opening seconds. From this impressive start the album, manipulates and stretches the senses through varied and often defiantly intrusive intensity. The opener’s label mates, Chile’s Say No Words with ‘The Perfect Killer (Andro-Dioxin Rmx)’ and the excellent Angels of Suicide and ‘Dark Lust (Hex’d Mix)’ soon get the pulse rate sprinting with their mesmeric sounds and the second of the two with its incessant siren veined nerve pinching beats and grooves refuses to accept anything than mental, emotional and physical surrender.

The emotions stomping ear invasive sounds of God Destruction and their track ‘Anticristo’ are the first major sonic highlight amongst all the irresistible tunes on display, with dark and perverting black metal vocal scathing and mind tripping unrelenting electro probing. The track bursts and burns like an aural flare and stands as one of the brightest beacons for the album, the label itself and what Engraved Ritual do.

Before one can take a breath after the last note of the track another sonic explosion thrashes the senses in the intense shape of Brazilians Nahtaivel and ‘The Storm is Coming’. The track is like a teasing metallic predator provoking and taunting the ear and beyond. Wonderfully diverse its industrial muscles are wrapped and coated in varied tones of wanton electro insidiousness. Synthetic Rage has already proven its worth and value, and we are only six tracks into its depths.

Surrounding these stunning tracks bands like Wire Vein, Sodomy Down the Cross, Mas-Si-Osare and from Portugal Aktivehate keep the harsh and fascinating sounds at full on satisfaction mode. The consuming dark nightmarish and slightly invidious sounds of Bind.Torture.Kill with ‘A Madman’s Lullaby’ attached itself deeply within the senses next it’s imposing almost resentful venomous tendrils merciless in their captivating and violating power. This excellent track’s intensity is openly contrasted by the following ‘Suicide Girl’ from Miami based trio Cyanide Regime. To be honest this was the one track that took some extra work to bring into the fold, its light pop like weaves sounding like a harsher industrial mutated offspring of Aqua. It soon proves to be a grower though and soon shows it is a worthy part of the release.

Two more tracks to rival God Destruction and Nahtaivel for best track come in the majestic ‘Spirits of the Night’ from Antemortem and Cold Sequence with ‘This is Not’. The first brings a gothic flavoured theatrical presence bringing a feel of Bauhaus, Marilyn Mansion and symphonic metal veined with electro urgency and creativity. It is grand, mischievous and irresistible. The second of the two is another relentless sonic intrusion, its hypnotic beats and grooves punctured with original industrial crashes, drilling and vibrant starkness. Both tracks are completely different but united in satisfying and pleasing dark hearts.

Anamadim, the one man instrumental electronic music project from Yugao (Javier M.N.) with Synthetic Salvation (featuring Fredrik Croona of Project Rotten), Alienoxir and Euphorbia complete the massive and thoroughly enjoyable line-up. They all keep the level so high it is almost a shock that a compilation of this size can be so strong but that shows how effective and highly selective Engraved Ritual is, if you seen their name on something it is without doubt worth checking out.

Mixed by DSBP’s Tommy T Rapisardi (Diverje) Synthetic Rage Volume 1 is an essential release for anyone looking for great industrial/EBM sounds. If you cannot find anything to please within its muscular corridors then you are in the wrong genre. Engraved Ritual have with this album introduced us to some of our new best friends musically here’s to Volume 2 it has a lot to live up to but as its Engraved Ritual it is unlikely to disappoint either.

For more on the CD and label go to http://engravedritual.com or http://engravedritual-digital.com

RingMaster 23/01/2012

Track listing:

1. Andro-Dioxin- Suicidal

2. Wire Vein- We Burn

3. Angels of Suicide- Dark Lust (Hex’d Mix)

4. Say Just Words- The Perfect Killer (Andro-Dioxin Rmx)

5. God Destruction- Anticristo

6. Nahtaivel-The Storm is Coming

7. Sodomy Down the Cross- Angra Mainyu

8. Aktivehate- The Walking Dead

9. Mas-Si-Osare- [C.M.S.]

10. Bind.Torture.Kill- A Madman’s Lullaby

11. Cyanide Regime- Suicide Girl

12. Antemortem- Spirits of the Night

13. Cold Sequence- This is Not…

14. Anamadim (featuring Fredrik Croona) – Synthetic Salvation

15. Alienoxir-Anikilation

16. Euphorbia- Achromatopsia

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4 Arm – Submission For Liberty


Bristling with defiance and attitude the third album from Australian thrashers 4 Arm pounces upon the ear to equally punish and satisfy with an excitable collection of muscular tracks that deliver no frills hard edged thrash. Submission For Liberty may not be the most original album but it fuels up the senses with pulsating riffs and eager melodies as well as excellent instrumentation to make it one of the most enjoyable albums in recent months.

Formed in 2004 4 Arm hit the ground hard and fast without taking a backward step ever since. Debut album 13 Scars laid waste to an ever increasing fan base and acclaim, the album leading to the band gaining a nomination in the top 5 Metal Bands at the 2006 Music Oz Awards. Their second album The Empires Of Death in 2009 saw the band’s rise continue, the evolution in their sound showing them to be stronger more accomplished songwriters. Off of the release the following year saw the band headline the ‘Crush the Empire Tour’ across Australia and support Testament on the Australian leg of their ‘Damnation Tour’.

4 Arm entered the studio in 2011 to work on the third album Submission For Liberty, bringing in Matt Hyde (Machine Head, Slipknot, Trivium) to mix the album. The resulting beast released via Rising Records February 6th without digressing far from the sounds they emerged with on previous album, is a full blown assault on the senses and declares that the band has stepped up a few notches yet again. Across the ten tremendous tracks it is fair to say one will not find many groundbreaking elements for the genre or band but 4 Arm have progressed into an even stronger and well rounded intimidating band. The edges are sharper and even more intense and aggressive making the album one that will surely find a regular place at the top of any rock playlist.

Submission For Liberty opens with a brief but powerful piece containing sampled extracts of the speech from ‘The Dictator’ backed by haunting piano music. The track is the perfect announcement of the intent and message from band and album, the words from what is acclaimed as one of the greatest speeches ever made, perpetually apt in this world. Immediately with barely a breath to absorb the words before, the album erupts into ‘While I lay Awake’ and the beginning of the relentlessly intense and enjoyable rampage ahead. Punishing riffs, ear badgering grinds and excellent melodies all consume the senses wonderfully. The guitars of vocalist Danny Tomb and Johnny Glovasa are mesmerising from their sonic bombardment of the ear to the invention and glorious solos from Glovasa. Tomb’s vocals though heavily influenced from James Hetfield and probably Tom Araya somewhat, are impressive with their balanced mix of smooth and harsh tones to compliment the energised sounds flooding form the tracks.

The album is ferocious and even when it brings in more expressive melodic touches it still is thrusting deeply and firmly into thought and heart. It is a giant call to arms and battle cry with tracks like the outstanding ‘Raise A Fist’ and the chest beating ‘I Will Not Bow’ defiant rallies for the senses. Every track is impressive and an eager heavy feast to enjoy but the band raise their own existing high bar with the violent explosive ‘Taken Down’ with drummer Michael Vafiotis and bassist Andy Hinterreiter unleashing their already impressive skills vigorously and the closing and stunning track ‘Blood Of The Martyrs’. This latter song finds the band stretching their creativity and sound more than on the rest of the album, bringing an invigorating meld of thoughtful melodies and invention alongside riveting and breath taking power.

Submission For Liberty just to be picky does offer many Metallica flavoured instances and riffs that are recognisable to make the album unique but against the immense enjoyment the album brings it is not an issue. 4 Arm are ready to set the world alight with their insatiable thrash sounds, this album the initial exhilarating fuse.

RingMaster 23/01/2012

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