Deadly Remains – Severing Humanity

Brutal and destructive with a technical violation as corruptive as its intensity, Severing Humanity is an impressive debut album from US death metal band Deadly Remains. It is an album which leaves one crumbling under its assault and at times hypnotised by its invention and intelligent enterprise for full satisfaction and to set an even greater promise for the band ahead.

Formed in 2006, the Santa Rosa quartet first drew a concentrated attention with their 2008 demo Moral Crusade. This gave them a platform to build a strong fan base through gigs around California. The following year saw the release of Before The Nothing and a marked progression in the skill and sound of the band. From that point the next few years offered the band shared stages with the likes of Napalm Death, Flesh Consumed, Sepsism, Colonize the Rotting, Septycal Gorge, Cerebral Incubation, Condemned, Embryonic Devourment, Putrid Pile, Arkaik, Pathology, Inherit Disease and Vulvectomy as well as a show supporting Pathology at the famous Whisky A Go Go. The band spent 2011 working on and recording Severing Humanity which is released through Deepsend Records and seem destined to explode into a much wider recognition with this aggressive and striking introduction to the world.

The foursome of vocalist and guitarist Ian Andrew, guitarist Josh Kerston, bassist Chris Dericco, and James Royston on drums, are a band going by Severing Humanity, which has no place for mercy in their vocabulary. The album from first note to the vicious last ruptures ear drums and violates the senses with a deep glee which soaks every sound. The album is oppressive at times, almost a punishment too far but brought with an accomplishment which is unmissable and invention which is compulsive. Admittedly a lot of the uniqueness and intelligent play is lying beneath the raging wall of noise which crushes all in its path but for the effort needed to reveal all the quality on offer the rewards are greater.

The album opens up its rage with Apocalyptic Birth and immediately floors the senses through the crisp and mighty rhythms of Royston and the incendiary guitar play of Andrew and Kerston. The riffs rip air and flesh asunder whilst the sonic flashes flay the ear with no regard for respect. The track bombards and bruises consistently leaving no time to blink let alone breathe and squeezes tighter and tighter with the onrushing consumption of intricate play and violence. Every aspect of the track is immense but the bass work of Dericco is stunning. As ultimately proven through all tracks the musician is a future legend in the making, his lines and sounds a constant snarling beast which gnaws and chews on the senses with intensity and technical aggression which leaves one smarting and drooling in pleasure.

From the tremendous start things only get better, the following Cosmic Necrosis is a track almost indescribable in its intensity and malicious ingenuity. From the opening bass rummage through the ear into the dehabilitating riffs and rhythms the track is like watching decomposition on fast forward. The sounds and intensity falls from the atmosphere like flesh from bone to pool in a torrent of raging malevolence. The searing guitar play which attacks after the onslaught has left its toll is a scarring pleasure to further open up the sores and all combined together makes a corruptive pleasure to immerse and drown within.

Lyrically who knows what is going on, the vocals of Andrew as ferocious as the sounds and just as rabid so no word finds clarity but it is their texture which is important and that is a valuable companion to the cyclonic force around them. Further songs like Instincts Of Flesh, Psalm Of Impurity, and the excellent closing title track,  continue the sheer turbulence around and within the listener, but every song on the release is powerfully satisfying and leaves one with great expectations for further efforts from the band.

There is a similarity across some of the album on the surface which only real focus disperses but it is not a major issue as that sound is so strong. Deadly Remains and Severing Humanity will delight fans of the likes of Gorguts, Disgorge and Suffocation but all death metal lovers will find plenty to feed upon and be excited by with the album.

RingMaster 06/08/2012

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Reverence – When Darkness Calls

It has to be said power metal is not generally the most appetizing menu for our tastes here though there have been some releases in recent times and bands we have found a liking for. With the pedigree of the line-up of Reverence their debut album When Darkness Calls was always going to be one which needed attention and offered much intrigue. It has turned out to be an album which will have fans of the genre in a blissful state as it more than lives up to hopes and expectations and to be honest at times even had this place rocking like a kangaroo on a bungy rope.

The band began its creation in 2010 when guitarist/song­writer Bryan Holland and vocalist/songwriter Todd Michael Hall came together with the intention of creating a band in the words of Holland “…with soaring vocalist, unstoppable riffs, screaming leads and crushing rhythms…” , a power metal band. With the history of the pair the band was always going to induce great attention, Holland having been a major part of Tokyo Blade and Arrest whilst Hall was the frontman with Jack Starr’s Burning Starr. The pair brought in the powerful and skilful ability of drummer Steve Wacholz (Doc Killdrums), a founding member of Savatage as well as being in Crimson Glory, and the talents of bassist Ned Meloni (Burning Starr, Defiance and Land of the Dead) and guitarist Pete Rossi who had played with Joe Stump (HolyHell) and shared stages with the likes of bands Lynch Mob and Avenged Sevenfold. Now When Darkness Calls reveals the results of their union with its release through Razar Ice Records and it has to be said it is rather impressive.

The opening to first and title track is stunning, its air dramatic and presence riveting as it heralds the arrival of a song which is titanic in energy and power. Arguably whether the song lives up to its beginning can be debated from dusk to dawn but it is a thunderous slab of crusading riffs, lively rhythms, and soaring melodic enterprise. Vocally Hall is as strong as expected his tones lighting up the remaining part of the atmosphere the guitars had not already ignited with their sonic display. The group vocal harmonies are tremendous and it all flows with a prowess and quality that one even with the power involved borders beauty.

The opener is one of the real highlights on the album but no subsequent song leaves one lacking satisfaction or pleasure. The likes of the excellent flaming gem Bleed For Me with its attention grabbing attitude and mesmeric melodic ingenuity and the charging intensity of Phantom Road continue the onslaught of gratification. Both leave one breathless and energised within, something admittedly one did not expect to ever say about a power metal driven release. With a heart and intent to ignite the deepest enjoyment with the core qualities of metal which capture us all, Reverence produce the goods and more.

Tracks like Gatekeeper, Monster with thrilling bass work from Meloni to send shivers down the spine, and the closing beast Vengeance Is Mine only leave one riled up and enthused though that can be said about every track on the album especially After The Leaves Have Fallen, an emotive ballad rivalling for best song and showing the great voice of Hall to the fullest effect. Generally ballads struggle to grab our enthusiasm but this song is immense and lights fires which leave burning scars with its melodic excellence.

When Darkness Calls surprised in the fact it found a more welcome home with us than the genre usually can produce but then again Reverence are not your general type of band. The album will be declared best of the year by power metal lovers and it is hard to argue in their category with only personal tastes here denying it a higher place across the whole spectrum of metal.

Ringmaster 06/08/2012

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The Rapids – Self Titled

It is fair to say UK rock and metal music is in a rather healthy state right now with impressive and promising bands seemingly bursting from every area of the country if not street corner. Another you can add to the list is Portsmouth rock band The Rapids. Their outstanding self titled mini album gives evidence of a band on the rise with its varied and vibrant tracks and is sure to build on the already strong responses bought towards the band.

Already gaining a great reputation for their lively gigs the band this year has not only graced and impressed at Guilfest but become the only UK band chosen out of 5,000 worldwide applicants to play the Taste of Rock 2013 World Tour. The quintet of Joshua Elkington (vocals, guitar), Phil Crawford (lead guitar/vocals), Jamie Ware (bass), Jackson Charles Allgrove (guitar), and David Bicheno-Samways (drums) are on a definite rise with radio play building for their forthcoming single Overflow taken from the album as well as more and more live shows.

The release shows the diversity of the band, at times they are a punk rock riot and in others a brew of rock n roll with multi flavouring to captivate the senses. Their live performances have been labelled as ferocious and that intensity and energy is easily indicated upon the album. The release certainly points to the band being one to catch live as well as bursting with promise.

The best two tracks open up the riot of feistiness with firstly the magnetic Another Light igniting the senses. With a welcoming hook to drool over amongst the breaking riffs the track swaggers with an energy and attitude which are as boisterous as they are heady. Choppy riffs excite the ear whilst melodic strikes burn the air around the eager vocals and rampaging presence of the band. The song is simply thumping rock n roll at its best.

The following Overflow is even better, a punk rock storm to leave one breathless. From its opening bristling riff the track is pure addiction for the senses. As catchy as any punk classic the song rifles the ear with eager riffs and addiction making hooks plus a chorus which is impossible not to add one’s own flat tones to. Vocally there is a Richard Butler of Psychedelic Furs tone to the voice of Elkington whilst the guitars swing hooks and melodies like sabres borne from the likes of Vibrators or Buzzcocks. It is a storming aural contagion of the highest order and from the opening duo of songs alone the keenness to follow the progress of the band closely is rife.

The emotive slower paced Lifeline comes next with flaming guitar play heating up the air around the ear. The song does not find the heights of the first pair but more than offers plenty to enjoy whilst opening up the diversity within the sound of the band. It is a powerful track unveiling further the creative songwriting and individual skills of the bands members.

The flying Can’t Start returns to the insatiable hungry energy from before whilst blues soaked veins flicker like lightning within the stylish rock sounds. The song grips tight and has one wrapped in its senses ruffling  intensity and when the guitars light the touch paper to their scorched melodic enterprise it is another slice of irresistible rock n roll.

The remaining three songs lack some of the potency of the previous tracks though all only go to enhance thoughts about the band. Production wise there is a slight difference too making one wonder if they come from a different session or in another’s hands. Maybe It’s You and the lighter melodic hard rock toned and excellent Waves still leave excited anticipation for future releases though as well as full satisfaction whilst Everything (Summer) which sounds more like a demo track inspires the need to catch the band live.

The Rapids more than live up to the growing ‘one to watch for the future’ calls surrounding them with their album and marks them for us as certainties for big things. The album is a free download from their bandcamp page so there are no excuses available to not to ride the force which is The Rapids.

RingMaster 06/08/2012

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Otto Von Schirach – Supermeng

If you are going to become a ‘superhero’ to protect the earth you have to have the sounds behind you to make sure it is a valid proposition. This is exactly what Otto Von Schirach has ensured with Supermeng, his outstanding new album and the name of his new alter ego. Of course with this kind of schizophrenic eccentricity there are smiles a plenty bursting out at multiple moments as the release excites and ignites the body and senses at every turn but it is so perfectly crafted and wholly irresistible it is all part of the wondrous experience.

Half Cuban half German and from Miami, Otto Von Schirach rips up the manual of fusion to bring electro, dubstep, noise, orchestral gabber, and…well the list goes on, to forge his own unique world of sound and manipulation. At times it is like that ‘dirty’ little pleasure you keep secret, you know you all have one, and in others it is a trigger for the glorious pleasures only aural gratification can unleash. Supermeng the alter ego is a genetically enhanced super human, the result of years of experimentation by an anonymous group of aliens to be the only defence against and person able to triumph against the Annunaki reptilian order. Injecting a secret fluid into his third eye he has become the warrior to save the universe whilst the sounds of Otto soundtrack his life and also stand as a creation to save earth and galaxies from the Annunaki. Of course like with the best yet very suspect sci-fi films, mostly starring Will Smith, credibility and suspension of belief is essential here but give that and the sounds brought forth leave one breathless on a journey of explosive and hypnotic fun.

Released through Money Town Records, the album opens up the senses with the sexy filth and dark magic sensuality of Salpica (Miami). The track is like a drug induced house of mystery, at times nightmarish and in others fully surreal and a totally compulsive entrance into the world of Supermeng. One word of warning though, if you are going to watch the brilliant video which accompanies this track have a therapist on speed dial, it makes those legendary efforts of Aphex Twins seem normal.

The quite brilliant Ultimate Universe comes next and though it can be argued it is not the most original in sound it is easily the most riotous contagion track this year. Off a delicious hook which could grace any B 52’s song and straight into a Sigue Sigue Sputnik cloned rampage the song is quite simply a glorious stomp across the heart and senses. As its energy sizzles and starts boiling over there is a Mad Capsules Markets thrust igniting the air to enforce its refusal to let limbs and bodies stay still. An electro rock call to arms, the track is a storm of majestic enterprise which is almost impossible to move on from.

From there the release moves in to the sonic blistering of the senses with The Blob, a nasty and menacing track with its own built in warning system. The track envelopes the ear with its venomous sonic attack and disorientating electronic jabbing whilst the consuming predatory energy sucks the breath from lungs to leave one grasping for support. Already the album makes the use of the word diverse feel weak in describing the deep eclectic sounds on offers with the first three songs having already shown their individual distinctive characters though they are merely the appetizer to the further full variety ahead.

Breathe The Beat with its crystalline melodic spattering plays like the mutated offspring of Swizz electronic band Yello whilst the hip hop punctured Supermeng featuring CX Kidtronic and Mr. Feathers has a definite Devo feel to its air, both continuing the multi flavoured mesmeric aural fingering of the heart for the deepest response. Lyrically the songs tell more tales in the rise of the character and with a tongue firmly locked in place keep their comic book invention at the perfect level whilst the sounds colour and explore their surrounding world.

Further highlights in nothing but highs come with Diamond Eyes and When Dinosaurs Rule The Earth. The first takes romance into the most sinister of places, its distillery of distressing menace cored by near whimpering intrusive vocals is abrasive yet disturbingly seductive, well if psychotic obsession turns you on. It is a startling and excellent piece of composing and would easily soundtrack one of those obsessive horrors the Japanese film industry create so masterfully. The second of the two is another rampant assault of energies and intrusive sounds. It is a beast of a track, from bulk to breath its heavy and oppressive presence brings the fullest rewards.

Supermeng is pure pleasure and is right at the top in the list of most enjoyable releases so far this year. It and Otto Von Schirach might be crazed and undeniably in a field of their very own but it is one you will want to lose your inhibitions in and just let loose.

RingMaster 06/08/2012

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