Defeat: Outbursts!

Having treated us already this year to the impressive releases from the like of Ghost In The Static and MiXE1, Static Distortion Records now introduce us to electro/industrial duo Defeat through their deeply striking Outbursts! EP. The release offers a quartet of electro/harsh EBM/industrial shaded songs with infectious melodic pop pulsations throughout. The EP mixes all elements into a sometimes crawling, often insatiable, and consistently a welcomingly lingering contagion which leaves its mark long after departure for the fullest satisfaction.

Defeat is Hertfordshire based Anthony Matthews (Voice) and Gary Walker (Synthetics), a pair of school friends who came together to create in the description upon their bio music which is ‘Atmosphere, Angst and Rhythm’ in the mould of Nitzer Ebb, 242, FLA, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and NIN.’ That pretty much sums it up though it only gives some of the full flavour the duo has creates on Outbursts!

Opener and lead song for the release, with a video for it due soon, is Parasite, a track which instinctively accelerates an addiction with electronic hooks which have a beckoning lure and effect like silver to a magpie. The track slowly exhales its musical breath initially with a metallic call before winding up its electro heartbeat with surging pulses of sonic light. Once the almost dour low key vocals of Matthews come in within an almost restrained energy the song immediately reminds of Fad Gadget, Matthews and the shadowed atmosphere created especially reminding of the inspirational work of Frank Tovey. The song gets more excitable with eager energy and catchy electro hooks whilst the enthused surge teasing as it progresses only adds to reinforce the Fad Gadget comparison and ignite a deeper delight, the mesmeric mix of dark and lit shadows irresistible.

The title track makes its presence known next with opening thumping beats and a belligerent bass toned electro spine taunting the ear. Crescendos of frenetic melodic eruptions erupt throughout and fuel the chorus, sparking against the darkened intensity brewing from the core of the song. The track beings a flavouring of Joy Division, NIN, and Depeche Mode to stalk the sound excellently and though not as openly inviting as the opener is equally as irresistible and impressive.

How Pathetic and Bored complete the line-up of what is quite simply an impressively crafted and outstandingly thrilling EP. The first of the pair is a track spilling attitude and contempt from every note, beat, and syllable. Its agitated melodic core energy is niggly and caustically explosive at times especially when speared by the bulging and throbbing intermittent dark surge of sound. Spiteful and twisting gleefully in its own venom the track is anthemic and uncontrollably contagious. The closing track is a more soothing and warm song, well that is the initial impression it gives and though it still retains a discordant beauty and darkened harmonious presence throughout it is just as shadowed and emotionally scarred as those before it. The track soars to great heights of light and heated sonics at times but always there is the distressed undercurrent to bring a hypnotic balance.

Outbursts! is an instant and undeniable proof that electro and industrial music in The UK is on a definite rise with bands like Defeat and others brought by Static Distortion Records as examples, leading the way with quality and inventive imagination. Defeat will become a major player in their genre, Outbursts! the evidence.

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Livarkahil: Wrath Of God

Following on from their staggering in all aspects of the word album Signs Of Decay of last year, French death metallers Livarkahil have returned with an even greater and devastating treat. Wrath Of God is a five track brutal monstrosity of excellence which has been unleashed as a free streaming/free download EP. Not only do the Parisian death metal leviathans rage an unstoppable sonic war upon the senses and body they do it for nothing, a selfless act of pure sadism.

Since forming in 2007, Livarkahil has unrelentingly whipped an ever increasing devoted following into a full frenzy through their outstanding releases, each one finding the band evolving into greater and more impressive spheres. Wrath Of God is no different and though arguably it is not an improvement on the previous colossal album it is not decline either but triumphantly explores new ideas from the band. The biggest difference is the vocals of HK. On the EP he has taken his previously gutturally pushed corruptions into an even more blackened arena and it works wonderfully. Though not as varied as we are used to the new approach brings a different thrilling blistering for the ear and one can only hope he combines this new flavouring with his more standard abuses in the future.

As to be expected the band leaves nothing on the table musically, in invention or force. The songs within Wrath Of God are as towering and violently unstoppable as the greatest tsunami. If there is a more clinical yet annihilatory band around it is hard to bring them to thought as the EP lays waste to the senses. As with previous releases  the core of the sound on the EP is death metal but there is again much more surging within the consumption, the band ripping up and re-animating in their own cause varied and distinct metal and industrial flavours. This makes for a persistently tumultuous storm of rampaging noise and invigorating invention. There is never a respite to grab a breath but with every note and second igniting emotions and synapses once dormant, it is extremely rewarding and welcome.

The restrained but sonically brewing intro of The Eternal Sun immediately grasps attention, its acidic melodic lure mesmeric before the militant rhythms emerging behind. The track soon erupts in a battalion of steeled jabs from drummer Skvm and challenging riffs thrust forward by guitarists Träume and Sonaer whilst bassist Simurgh prowls with devouring psychotic lines. Heavyweight muscles are flexed and incendiary melodic incursions lit as the track expands into a crushing and spiteful assault. It is an immense opener with its seven minutes plus of inspiring and cyclonic energy leaving one deeply satisfied.

From there the band raise the temperature and quality even more with the brilliant Through Hatred And Devotion. Making the previous track seem almost docile the song obliterates nerve endings and senses with a rabid ferocity. With jackhammer intensity through the merciless artillery of Skvm and denting bedlamic riffs, the song is a writhing creative black force towering over its recipient with venom and imaginative malicious intent.

The following Deny Your God is no less vindictive with a twisting barbed groove slashing the ear from within the ferocious invention and play. Like an anger fuelled bear, the track curses and stalks with an unbridled predatory taunting, its heart and voice snarling with a malevolence borne of the darkest pit.

     Devotion picks through the debris left behind with equal spite but brings a melodic glow to its tempestuous eagerness. Though arguably the least addictive of the tracks it has a siren breath to it with an insistently intriguing imagination and dark harmony underlining the surface black energy. This leads to an eventual contagion and pushes the song forward as one of the best on what is a stunning release.

Closing with the hypnotic ingenuity of the title track, another deeply intrusive and full gratifying explosion of craft and idea brewed in a vat of aggressive and oppressive creativity, Wrath Of God is easily one of the best things to appear this year. and Featuring guest appearances from Julien (Benighted), Henrik (As You Drown) , Mkm (Antaeus, Aosoth), BST (Aosoth, The Order Of Apollyon) and INRVI (Aosoth, VI), it is as mentioned released as a free download (link below)so there really is no excuse available to not go and feel the brilliance of Livarkahil.

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Sound Of Guns: Antarctica/Killing Moon

Following up their acclaimed and impressive album Angels & Enemies released this past March UK alternative rockers Sound Of Guns release new single taken from it, the powerfully lunged and anthemic Antarctica. With an air of grandeur and an immense sound to justify it, the single is pure heart food, an impassioned feast of emotive power and energy.

Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene) at The Distillery in Bath, the single heats up the atmosphere from June 18th through Distiller Records and is already feeling eager attention with the track having been used as the leading song on Sky Sport’s 2012 Champions League coverage. It is no surprise that it was chosen, the enveloping and epic sound of the song as well as the anthem fuelled heart within its frame the perfect soundtrack for any passionate and consuming endeavour.

Within seconds of the opening chimes and majestic symphonic sounds the song lifts the heart to heights most songs have never imagined whilst offering an infectious melodic caress, inciteful rhythms, and the expected excellent vocals from Andy Metcalfe. The track feels like an old friend, its sturdy arms and powerful energy the lift and invitation to push oneself whether physically or emotionally. Like the best songs of this character it leaves one breathless but fully enthused, its impressive songwriting and outstanding realisation an incendiary for and to ignite emotions.

Antarctica is accompanied by a cover version of the Distiller Records classic Killing Moon, and to be honest there was a groan when it came to attention here. Some songs should not be touched their original greatness impossible to emulate and can only be scarred, Killing Moon is such a song.

Well Sound of Guns never read the script and went and produced a version which is truly magnificent. No, it does not match the original nothing could but it comes pretty close and as all covers should be treated they have interpreted the song with their own unique version and not merely copied as most covers seem to do. The track like an early morning mist envelopes the ear with a graceful and emotive atmosphere vocally and musically, Metcalfe finding a similar touching emotion to that of Ian McCulloch. Throughout its first half the song teases with a suggestion it will ignite into something larger but it continues to tenderly weave around the ear as the band light little fires of melodic sparks around the vocals. It is haunting and dare one say finds a more intrusive breath than the original. When the song does expand its musical arms the band simply intensifies the already irresistible enchantment. It really is an excellent version and puts the doubters, yes holding hands up, in their place.

As the band make the UK their playground with a tour with The View throughout the month and into July and festival appearances ahead, Sound Of Guns are at the point where they will surely soon be the name on all indie rock fans lips, Antarctica another mighty step on route.

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Pictured : The Strand Of Time

French thrash/death metallers Pictured is a band which over their five years of existence has remained to all extents and purposes anonymous to the wider metal Masses. There have been a few bands already this year which from a similar state of play have made a big step towards a fuller spotlight of recognition with impressive and striking releases.  The Pont l’abbé based quartet are the next, unleashing a truly mighty album in the shape of their debut The Strand Of Time to hopefully lead them out of relative obscurity. Though not quite flawless the album is a brawling storm of invention, imagination, and intrusive intensity. From an immediate infectious introduction it evolves into a thoroughly addictive and compelling release from which resistance is impossible.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Niko Beleg, guitarist Sebastien Le Bellec, bassist Sylvain Coïc, and Thomas Coïc on drums, the band have released two demos prior to their album, Son of the Night in 2008 and the acclaimed The Dwelling of two years ago. That release was the moment Pictured really ignited with a flurry of positive reaction and the release being called one of the best melodic death-metal works released that year in the French underground media. Another two years on and the album finds the band even deeper into their striking evolution and creativity, the songs unveiling a maturity and inventiveness rare in debut releases and arguably in a great many melodic death metal albums over recent months.

Released through Klonosphere/Season of Mist, The Strand Of Time is an unpredictable and consistently invigorating release; its nine tracks a bruising yet contagious corruption of energy, spiteful aggression, and completely enthralling invention. Based in death metal the release is a continual maelstrom of great ideas and songwriting realised with a vigorous enthusiasm and skilful enterprise. Not one of the songs simply rests in the arms of expectation but come with a intimidating dark and deeply thoughtful imagination, no easy verse chorus verse chorus structure here. The tracks flex and turn with impressive fluidity and invention whilst retaining a perpetual aggressive and irresistible lure to the ear.

The album erupts from the first note of opener Another and takes no time in mesmerising and seducing with sharp colourful grooves and rampaging riffs brought on a wall of destructive rhythms. As the song goes deeper into its absorbing depths there is only submission and adoration on the horizon, the melodic manipulations teasingly fingering the senses within the intense bursts to ignite the most urgent primal energies. At every turn the song switches finding greater and more addictive inventiveness to give equal gratification.

We mentioned the album was flawless though it is not a massive issue in hindsight. The vocals of Beleg, fine though they are and better than a great many, do lack variety and precision to match the great sounds behind him. He has a one dimensional delivery which at times fails to find a connection with the imaginative music he and the band create. It is not a major thing and is more down to personal preference but does stop the album from becoming a best of year contender though it is close and could change.

The blacked greedy attack of Metal creates havoc within the ear next, a blistering annihilatory force which equally bewitches with acidic melodic veins of play within its vicious onslaught. Though not as startling as its predecessor it keeps interest and fervour high and makes a great lead into arguably best track on the album in the stunning Howling Forest. From an atmospheric enticing and dramatic keys the song nurtures its ambient breath into a storming gale of finely crafted play and vindictive riffs. With the core of melodic sonic mastery flaring up to enflame the heart throughout the song it is an insatiable pleasure for the senses and again shows how creative and inventive the band is.

Tracks like the venomous slightly folk tinged Black Bile, the rampant thrash punk driven To Hell And Back, and Stranger, simply leave one exhausted with satisfaction as they continue the irresistible and immense quality. The latter of these three is a feast of thirsty guitar play and hungry rhythms igniting the air with explosions of caustic sonic excellence and unrelenting intensive attacks. Add the challenging and intimidating closing title track and you have an album which is nothing less than impressive and at numerous times pure brilliance.

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My Dynamite: Self Titled

Blending a fluid and energetic mix of hard rock, blues, soul and classic rock, the self titled debut album from Australian rockers My Dynamite is a treat for all craving straight forward but fresh rock n roll. Lively and honest the album ticks all the boxes of strong and easily accessible rock music whilst offering familiar flavours and sounds brought right up to date.

The quartet of Pat Carmody (vocals, harp), Jorge Balas (guitar), Benny Wolf (guitar), Travis Fraser (bass), and Simon Aarons (drums) use inspirations from the likes of The Faces, Black Crowes and The Stones with deep spices of classic rock found in the likes of Led Zeppelin to fuel their own creativity. It makes for songs which are instantly engaging and easy to find an attachment with. They do not venture into unknown fields but re-invigorate the musical tools laid down in history to great effect. The sharing of stages with bands such as The Screaming Jets and Rose Tattoo has alerted and drawn in the attention of their homeland and now with their debut it is not hard to imagine a wider set focus coming their way.

The basic premise to My Dynamite and their songs is to have a good time though they do not resort to obvious easy lyrical pickings singing only about booze, women and getting down to shake bits. The songs come with passion and emotions as prevalent as the urge to hang loose and it makes for an infectiously pleasing and at times raucous fun. Opener Take It Or Leave It is a perfect example, the vocals of Carmody bringing a delivery and lyric seemingly personal and emotive over a flowing weave of excited riffs, sharp melodic play and a pulsating bassline. With added keys sweeping warmly through the fine breeze of rock sounds the track is an easy companion for the ear especially with the teasing harp play from the vocalist.

The following Inside Out brings a more expressive and tempered energy to its heart, the track a blues soaked piece of songwriting finery, whilst the next in line If We’re Livin’ ignites boosters again to please the ear with a feistier breath and intent. Within the three songs you have a sure understanding and expectation of what the band and album offers. There are no real surprises from here on in but plenty of enjoyable and catchy tunes to have fun with.

Tracks like Dirty Game, the emotion wringing slow walking Singing Stormy Weather, and Big Attraction with its excellent melodic poise and fiery veins of guitar and keys invention, continue the eager easy to get along with sounds. There is never a point on the release where one is distracted by the outside world or feeling the urge to swiftly move on, the appealing welcoming of the music consistent.

Highlights of the album come in the excellent pair of songs Raise Your Glasses and the closing Fork In Your Tongue. The first is quite simply an irrepressible urge to party and as the title suggests it is no black tie event. Anthemic and mischievous one can imagine the track is a big favourite at live shows and vision a swell of bodies unleashed to the song. The band leaves the best to last and it is easily the biggest glory on the release. Fork In Your Tongue is a hypnotic heart stealing roughed up slice of blues. Mesmeric in the extreme and rigorously infectious it puts the other strong tracks in the shade, its electric scuzz lilt igniting energies and aural tensions to give distinct pleasure and draw an instinctive attention.

Without conjuring up brand new ventures My Dynamite has produced an album which will be a rich feast for all those genre loving fans. For those with tastes further afield there is still plenty on the album to find a fun time with even if as a enjoyable passing moment.

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