The Charm The Fury: The Social Meltdown EP

The debut EP from Dutch metalcore band The Charm The Fury is an immense release that the more you listen the more impressive and satisfying it gets. Initial contact with The Social Meltdown EP is a stirring and aggressive pleasure that awakens the senses but it is with a few more persistent visits that the release fully offers up all its qualities and absorbing strengths. It is an instant treat that is also an increasingly fulfilling experience with each and every subsequent contact. The scary thing is the release easily suggests the band is not close to their creative peak yet to promise even greater and stronger notable moments yet to come.

Formed in 2011, the Amsterdam the quintet has already successfully shared stages with the likes of Textures and While She Sleeps. With a show with Unearth amongst others on the near horizon they have in a short time firmly caught the attention. It is easy to get carried away with debuts and shout out about the future from one release but The Social Meltdown is that impressive without being perfect that it is impossible not to expect and to anticipate some remarkable moments ahead from them. Consisting of vocalist Caroline Westendorp, bassist Lucas Arnoldussen, drummer Mathijs Tieken, and the twin guitars of Mathijs Parent and Rolf Perdok, The Charm The Fury leave one enthralled, breathless, and eager to feel more of their aggressive and creative hard sounds. The band brings a firm understanding and obvious skill in how to combine softer melodic aspects of music to intense and uncompromising sounds without spoiling or depleting either. There are many bands emerging with similar talents and ability but The Charm The Fury offer a striking undefined element as well as one of the more impressive vocalists to excite the ear.

The title track opens up proceedings and with no respect for formalities incites a riot within the ear with raging riffs and rampant rhythms plus the coarse tones of Westendorp blistering the flesh. The song surges with a caustic resonance and antagonistic intent to light up the senses easily. Instantly it is evident that this is metalcore with freshness and vibrancy that is rarely heard, a mesmeric light and dark pulsating swarm upon the person. For all the great sounds from the band behind you cannot move away from the skill and excellent voice of Westendorp, her ability to bring bone scraping venom and intensity in her delivery with a fine clean and radiant alternative is startling. The opener does not fully show her range and diversity concentrating more on her malevolent side but the following songs soon unveil more.

Virtue Of Leadership is a more intricate song with the guitars bringing more involved and diverse directions within its wall whilst still pummelling with commanding drums and a stern bassline. The melodic guitar play is impressive and at times dazzling as it opens up the track even further to make an eager companion rather than alternative to the tumultuous riffs and energy. The fullness of the clean vocals alongside her coarse attack lifts the song further though as with all the songs it is an aspect of and not the overriding thing which is important for its success. Westendorp reminds of Krysta Cameron from Iwrestledabearonce at times though with a stronger control and variation towards the even mix of aggression and smooth delivery.

The rampant Family Values continues the triumphant sounds as the release just gets better and better. The song is outstanding and riles up the emotions further with its intelligent songwriting and intrusive sounds. With the remaining brilliance of Dirty South and Bridges completing the release it is hard not to go overboard in praise but truthfully it is deserved with maybe only a similarity across the surface of the EP despite the inventive diversity beneath, the only thing one could offer up as not quite spot on yet and thus the promise of greater things ahead. Dirty South and Bridges both thrash about like wild stallions, muscular brewing power with a grace and class within that sets the band out from most other metalcore/hardcore bands. Dirty South alongside Family Values is the best track on offer though ask tomorrow and it might be another, The Social Meltdown that even in pleasure.

The Charm The Fury with their debut has announced themselves as a band on a sure rise to becoming a truly notable one. They and the EP are immense and deserve as much attention as they surely will get.

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RingMaster 09/05/2012

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God Destruction: Illuminatus

On the recent compilation Synthetic Rage Volume 1 from label Engraved Ritual, one of the tracks that stood out dominantly amongst many great artists on the very strong release was from Mexican harsh EBM band God Destruction. Anticristo was a raging highlight introducing the band and their lingering and destructive blend of dark electro, black metal, blasphemous intent, and satanic heart. The song festered and incinerated the senses with its intrusive and infectious sound waking up a keen anticipation for more from the band. Iluminatus also through Engraved Ritual is the debut album from God Destruction and not only reinforces all the immensely positive reactions the song nurtured but has gone way beyond to be one of the most impressive and deeply rewarding releases this year.

The music and creativity which pervades the senses is as distinct and far reaching as the venomous blackened intensity that pours in a torrent from every track on the release. Illuminatus is the soundtrack to the rise and return of the horned one, an aural perversion of the finest craft to mark and manipulate the emotions to his wishes and intent. Most of all it is one stunning album of music that manipulates the senses and body like a maniacal hell spawn puppeteer, it refuses to be ignored, makes it impossible to resist, and sets in motion the deepest and most fulfilling union between it and those falling within its corruption.

The album is one of the most highly consistent to be heard in a long time, and though some tracks emerge as favourites each and every one vies for top honours on each and every satisfying immersion into its sweltering vibrant mass. The opening Lvzbel enters on a defined electro mission with samples as striking as the energised yet patient synths that spread around them. The mid paced stomp across the ear resonates with each mighty beat demanding and pulling an immediate subservience to its intense uncompromising sounds. The duo of Charles Black and Satan Imperor crush, tantalise and mesmerise with equal effect from the start with sounds that envelope and search out every corner of the senses opening them up for the rasping serpentine vocals that wonderfully scorch and scrape every surface they touch.

The unrelenting imagination and intrusive electro violations continue unabated and in open diversity on the album, the likes of Become Death and the rapture/ contagion that oozes at every varied twist and turn, the aforementioned scathing aural colossus Antichristo, and the two church corruptions In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanas and Prometheus just a quartet of the striking invention unleashed.  The second of these last two is a rampant and unrepentant provocation that strikes at the heart of he who will become second best.

     Illuminatus ends its eleven original tracks on a blistering high with the trio of songs Armageddon, Son of Satan, and Across the Light. The first is a metal infused destructive and malevolent crawl over the senses, its caustic surface dazzling with crystal melodies as sharp and intrusive as the always wonderfully abrasive vocals and the withering ingenuity brought by the incisive synths and acidic melodies. Son of Satan is another agitated and malicious assault on the senses, its evil grin dripping adrenaline and vindictiveness. The song is the most violent and intrusive on the album, its fingers going places that were unknown even to its recipients. Across the Light finishes off the trio with an expansive and hypnotic mesh of atmospheric grandeur, dawning light, and creeping consuming disease. It is a perfect bringing together of beauty and pit borne malice that brings a finality to the album perfectly.

The album also comes with remixes from Stahlnebel & Black Selket, Mas-Si-Osare and Reaxion Guerrilla to add an extra pleasure to a mighty album. Every aspect of Illuminatus is intense and of the highest quality musically, vocally and in invention. It niggles, persists and never leaves one alone throughout its ninety minute purge of the senses and is an enthralling pleasure for every second. The album is mastered by Mario Carrasco from Sin D.N.A. with his fine expressive and receptive mix bringing an obvious understanding and additional expertise to the thoughts and ideas of the band.

There have been a few very impressive and unique harsh EBM/dark electro tracks and releases over the past few months but Illuminatus sits at the top easily and with sure strength. God Destruction has opened the door to hell, they its fanfare and companion and ensuring more from them will be eagerly awaited.

RingMaster 09/05/2012

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Never to Arise: Hacked to Perfection

Hacked to Perfection the debut album from US death metallers Never to Arise is an ugly, twisted, and misshapen brute of a release and rather special because of it. Spiteful, violent, and openly brutal the album is also a fine example of musicianship and inventive thought within the core death metal sound which many bands have seemingly turned away from. There is a purity to it that brings forth the grounding seeds of the genre infused with a skill and enterprise that makes it all the more intimidating and consuming.

Florida band Never to Arise comprises of duo Gordon Denhart (vocals, guitar, drum programming) and Michael Kilborn (guitar, bass). Together they have created an album which festers and menaces somewhere between melodic death metal and the original genre sound. It is a rampaging and venomous release which leaves one without an escape route as its crushing and invasive sounds swarm through the ear and over the senses. Released may 15th via Colorado label badGod Music the album is a definite to fire up those who prefer the pure genre sound but with some innovation and imagination.

The opening track The Femicidal Impulse barges through the ear with repetitive beats and eager riffs behind a striking guitar surge. The song soon settles down into a pattern as Denhart brings guttural spewing as black and venomous as heard anywhere. The track slowly turns and winds tighter around the ear with harsh melodic probing and a bestial stalking bass behind. As a warmish groove lights up the corners of the song it evolves further into a sprawling yet controlled assault. It is unpredictable, persistently intriguing and a great start to the release.

The following Hyperbaric Torture Chamber and Sloppy Surgery continue the crumbling of defences with their compulsive but violent intensity, the first a thrash lined invasion and the second a maelstrom of ruptured melodies and vindictive riffs. Though still a raging destructive track Sloppy Surgery is a constantly twisting song which is as agitated as it is vehement.

Easily the best track on the album is Mutilation Supreme, as good as the others are this one probes and pervades every sinew and cell with its inventive thought and catchy lures. The artistry and skill of Denhart and Kilborn thrust their imagination deeper through the ear whilst one eagerly welcomes its impressive groove driven caustic and infectious manipulations. It offers the most satisfying violation on the release to place it ahead of the other very agreeable tracks on Hacked to Perfection such as the likes of the dehabilitating Bereft Of Conscience, the sonically splicing Snuff Film Superstar, and the ravenous Devoured By Wolves which claws at the ear with full-blooded intensity, add a persistent and gratifying provocative and strenuous demand of the senses.

     Hacked to Perfection is a genuinely inspiring release even though it did not truly fire up the emotions as often as one expected from the initial engagement. The main reason is down to the production which on a personal level felt over claustrophobic and weighty never allowing the obvious and striking creativity and imagination within the songs the clearest of views and stifling the veracious quality. The programmed drums too though not a major issue as they worked very well most of the time did give a repetitive element which drew the attention at times. The album is still a very impressive release and sure to find enthused waves of acclaim and deserved attention, as well as instigating an eager anticipation from all for more from Never to Arise.

RingMaster 09/05/2012

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Marauder: Elegy of Blood

Having recently signed with Pitch Black Records, Legendary Greek classic metal band Marauder unleash their fifth album Elegy of Blood on May 15th bringing ten accomplished tracks of well crafted classic heavy metal. The album is a powerful beast with an anthemic heart and adrenaline soaked pulse that is sure to please all heavy metal fans.

Honesty has to be brought forth at this point and state that classic and heavy metal is not a flavour that incites the most eager response here at The RR so excuse the tempered enthusiasm behind the review. That being said it is not hard to see and appreciate the passion and craft behind the boisterous melodic metal that makes up Elegy of Blood. Formed just over 22 years the band has obviously evolved into a mighty and inventive band as the new album alone gives enough evidence for and it is easy to see why they are one of the most respected Greek metal bands for many years now. The album is varied with strong elements of power metal and harsher tones added to the classic blood each track flows with and whether a fan of their style of music or not it is very easy to be swept up in the chest beating and calling to arms that frequent its corridors.

The title track intro opens up the release with a dawning epic atmosphere, a declaration of something far reaching and evocative to emerge. Whilst the following The Great War may not quite live up to that billing it is still a rampant anthemic mix of incisive melodic guitar play, impetuous riffs, and combative rhythms. The vocals of Alexandros Kostarakos spread throughout the track with the expected style and ability of the genre with solid back up elsewhere whilst sharing centre stage with the ear catching melodies and guitar craft from and Andreas Tsaoussis and Giorgos Sofronas but great as they are the highlight here and throughout the album is the excellent prowling and grumbling bass of Thodoris Paralis alongside the formidable drums of Grigoris Vlachos which drive every song with an impressive and stirring control.

Alexander follows with equal satisfaction before handing over to the first of three songs which did ignite some sparks within us. Warriors is a muscular track with a metal spine and a compulsive predatory bass as combative as the cause of the lyrical tale. The track marches through the ear with the surety of weighty power without unleashing an overly aggressive intensity. The other two songs which caught the imagination most deeply also strike in similar vein, brought forth with a military precision and storming pulse.

Crusader is a more expectant and rampaging animal though still without unleashing its unbridled might. The group vocals that form the chorus moments give a band of brothers effect to bring extra energy to the stirring riffs and rhythms. Once more it is the great bass work of Paralis that brings most pleasure though the song has some of the best and most inciting riffs on the album too, the combination making it the best on the release. The third of the songs to make the biggest mark is Black Gold and again it enters on a military breath with drums to rile up the senses and riffs to strike down all before them.  It is probably one of the least creative tracks songwriting wise but it has an energy and life to it that sets it apart.

Every song within Elegy of Blood will bring much pleasure to classic metal fans, from the expressive instrumental Hiroshima, the power ballad Mother, to the closing World War II. It is a very strong album with plenty to feast upon and be inspired by, if you like that kind of thing. Though this genre does not fire us up generally often the opposite,  it has to be said Marauder have come closer than most classic metals band in finding a regular place on our daily playlist. For those with a welcoming for heavy metal Elegy of Blood is a sure thing to be high on their regular selections.

RingMaster 09/05/2012

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