Zoltar Speaks: Treatment EP

To be honest whilst reviewing releases consistently it is not an irregular thing to be impressed by a band, album or particular song. It is much rarer though to be openly surprised and virtually awe struck by something. The debut EP from UK metallers Zoltar Speaks is one such rarity, a distinctly appetising and very pleasing treat. The Treatment EP is a mighty piece of metallic power and striking imagination which leads the senses through a fury of belligerent riffs, crushing rhythms, and classic guitar invention as well as introducing one of the best emerging vocalists in UK metal.

The quintet from Somerset first emerged in 2009 immediately grabbing attention and a devout following throughout the South of England and Wales with their impressive live show and the sharing of stages with bands like Malefice and Sworn to Oath. Their sound brings an irresistible blend of metal and rock into intensified adrenaline fuelled energy and senses igniting invention. With angry riffs and scorching mesmeric melodic play from guitarists Ollie Smith and Jason Coles, threatening lines from bassist Shane Yard, plus brutal rhythms from drummer Ben Dean smashing the ear into willing submission, their music explodes with strikingly  impressive craft and ideas. On top of the stirring invention of the band the vocals of Louise Body grab the already submissive emotions and willing heart, lighting them up with a stunning ability and captivating power. Altogether the band remind a little of Skunk Anansie it is arguable if that band offer the complete and devastating unique pleasure that Zoltar Speaks offer on their EP, with no disrespect to Skin and co.

Released June 11th, the EP opens on A Metaphor and immediately floors the ear with towering melodic strikes and vicious riffs. It is a towering entrance but once the voice of Brody soars the air the song erupts to even loftier heights. Behind her hard to tear the ear from vocals, the music creates a brewing storm of muscular intent and formidable energy though it never truly explodes into the suggested devastation it teases up throughout.

That is soon addressed with the excellent How Could You Blame? The drums of Dean thump with a lingering resonance whilst the riffs carry a ravenous appetite to their venomous aggression. At times the song releases an unrelenting attack which is as infectious as you could wish and once the song hits the same insatiable addictive vein as Senser did in their early days with tracks like No Comply there is no losing the infection that has set in. The song persistently snarls and bites with a strong jaw and bestial tenacity for the fullest satisfaction.

The Best Revenge and Treatment complete the release with equal strength and quality. The first strokes with a melodic guitar beckoning before corrupting with bludgeoning riffs and stinging melodic ingenuity. Like the song before it the track takes bites out of the senses with sharp rampaging clusters of heavy riffs whilst triggering fires with its blistering white hot guitar conjurations. The closing title track reveals the other equally immense side of the band with a song flowing on a crest of melodic enterprise and poised craft, the band at ease and skilful at punishing or flooding the senses with intelligent and inventive melodic warmth. Not that the track is a soft touch, it still sears the flesh with harsh venomous backing vocals and twisted dark hearted riffs.

The Treatment EP is easily one of the best debuts heard this year and the first step in what one suspects will be the steep rise of Zoltar Speaks, surely a band that will eventually leave a long lasting and deeply impressive mark on metal.

www.facebook.com/zoltarspeaks

RingMaster 05/06/2012

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Reform The Resistance : The Truth Is Dangerous

 

Sometimes when a band creates a truly eclectic album the collection of songs can become an entangled but unconnected aural web which leaves as much confusion as pleasure. US melodic rock band Reform The Resistance with their debut album The Truth Is Dangerous is a fine example of how it can work and though at rare times the album does venture towards that uncertainty the Nashville based trio overall has created a release which cleanly impacts on the ear, emotions, and thoughts.

The band emerged from the ashes of Phoenix band Justifide which contained Reform The Resistance vocalist/guitarist Jason Moncivaiz and bassist Sambo Moncivaiz. Within two years of the demise of the their former band the duo returned with Reform The Resistance in 2007 with the skills of drummer Ryan Dugger brought in to complete their new vision. There was no rush to the creativity, the evolution of their ideas and sound allowed an organic pace and emergence. The following year saw the band release the …And It Begins EP followed by tours throughout Europe and shows in the US. Once touring finished the threesome began working on The Truth Is Dangerous, completing it in October 2010. Produced by Jason Moncivaiz and recorded in his own studio, the album found its way into the attention of Wuli Records through Doug McBride of Gravity Studios where the album was mastered. This led to the release of the album last year to seemingly constant acclaim from all who discover its charms. With the quality and fine invention of all  eleven songs contained within its walls it is no surprise the amount of positive and eager responses it has been receiving, the album being fresh, unpredictable, and most of all openly satisfying.

As mentioned The Truth is Dangerous is brazenly varied bringing to mind the likes of Deftones, Radiohead, Mutemath, Snow Patrol and more. The sound though is distinctive to Reform The Resistance and despite the multiple flavours heard their invention ensures there is never a moment the album truly sounds like someone else and whilst musically they employ various shades of rock from electronica, R&B, punk rock and hip hop to name a few of the spices permeating the whole album everything is a seamless blend.

It opens with the melodic punk fuelled Kill Lies, an eager and formidable track of bristling energy and welcoming anthemic breath. With warm harmonies wrapped around the pulsating muscle of the song the track riles up the ear with a taste of punk to whiffs of hardcore and a rap punk intervention reminding of the likes of the Kennedy Soundtrack. By its end the impressive opener has the ear eager for much more.

Next the band with Tonight We Ride brews up a powerful melodic rock storm. It is restrained in intensity but powerful in emotion and irresistibly captures the imagination with further anthemic strength and compulsion. This is the first twist in the distinct diversity the band brings to the album though it is a nearer companion to its predecessor than later tracks are to their side by side playmates.

Preceded by an expressive instrumental in Depressed But Alive, the enchanting Starlight with a Coldplay like essence and the electronic lined Are You One Of Us Or Are You One Of Them proceed to light up the senses. Both are completely different but both mesmeric and easy to find a connection and rapport with. The latter of the two is an ever shifting piece of invention sweeping from its electro metal like entrance through a melodic release of the heart into a stirring and decisive pleasuring of the ear.

Best song on the album is Mercy In Blood, a song offering an aggressive and striking intensity without losing any melodic and touching harmonic infection. With a distorted finish to energy and sounds the song is a fully engaging and surprising pleasure and is as removed from other tracks as it is their eager companion.

The album brings further good moments as in This Present Darkness and If I Can Survive but it does fail to reach the earlier heights again before it takes its leave. The great variety relinquishing the previously firm connection between the tracks compared to previously. Overall though The Truth Is Dangerous is an impressive album with Reform The Resistance surely on the verge of making a distinct and lingering mark.

http://www.reformtheresistance.com

RingMaster 05/06/2012

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Klone: The Eye Of Needle EP

It is impossible to be anything but impressed and excited by the creative wonder that is The Eye Of Needle EP from French band Klone. With knowledge of the band restricted to basically name only until now, the surprise and deeply registering pleasure gained from this new release is easily one of the most impactful so far this year going hand in hand with wondering how we managed to miss their creativity stunning until this point.

Formed in 1995 the band has not been the most prolific in releasing material with their trio of albums and previous EP coming since 2003. The new release follows the previous acclaimed Klone album Black Days of 2010, which we are informed marked a further open exploratory premise to the creativity of the quintet. Bold and instinctively passionate the release is said to have taken the band into deeper and more groundbreaking areas which the new release continues.

Released through Klonosphere Records and Season of Mist, the three track EP brings soundscapes which are fiery, colourful, and perpetually evolving, each song an aural fire of imagination and ingenuity igniting a similar blaze within emotions and the heart. The songs are an electrified weave of enveloping sounds with splintered veins of unpredictable and perpetually surprising essences. From the opening track The Eye Of Needle Part 1 the senses are lit up with an uncompromising array of ideas and remarkable ingenuity. The song begins with a searching almost menacing guitar beckoning, its energy and presence blurred at the edges with a haunting energy. As hypnotic rhythms join the growing mesmeric sway and ethnic sounds gather around the core of the song, an expansion into unveiled thought and emotions begins. The middle Eastern flavoured sounds which soon pervade the music and the vocals of Yann Ligner remind heavily of bands like Motherjane, their mutual progressive veins as mesmerically flavoursome and evocative.

As the ten minute slightly oppressive and fully sensual epic departs with the guitars of Guillaume Bernard and Michael Moreau ringing in the ears, one grabs a big gasp of breath before the following The Eye Of Needle Part 2 takes over. With the beats of Florent Marcadet commanding and the bass of Jean Etienne Maillard a prowling shadow bringing depth to the song, the piece is a fuller progressive rock explosion within the ear. It merges a more classic slightly folk metal/progressive tone into a rippling maelstrom of riffs, feisty rhythms, and melodic conspiring. More persistent and eager than its predecessor the song plunges the emotions into spiralling sonic tapestries and furious unrestrained passion. Reminding of the likes of Tool and Stone Temple Pilots coated with the atmospheric thick breath of a Nine Inch Nails the track is immense and as is the whole release much more impressive in person than mere words and  compliments can reveal.

The EP is completed by an unleashed song which comes from the sessions which bore previous album Black Days, its presence showing that the two new songs before it are a definite evolution to that album if not a massive leap forward. Monsters has a nastier snarl and more direct intent than its EP companions, the track an insatiable and rampant accessory to the overall pleasuring and riling up of feelings by the release. Again melodically impressive and the trigger to unbridled energetic responses in exchange for the powerful and irresistible invention given, the song is outstanding.

Throughout the three tracks the sax conjurations of Matthieu Metzger are a striking glory which even within the moments the surrounding sounds enclose his imaginative play twists and inspires with stunning effect. For those new to Klone, The Eye of Needle EP will not only excite deeply but inspire a retrospective investigation as well as start an impatient wait for more to come from the band.

Ringmaster 05/06/2012

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