Frater – Into The Light

Argentinean band Frater has everything in place to be huge. Outstanding songwriting, superb musicianship, an imaginative invention, and a destructive power  to leave one  roasting in their own juices are all coursing through their music. All they are missing is worldly recognition something with luck and continued determination must be on the cards going by their debut album Into The Light. The release is immense, a certain album of the year candidate and the cause of the unshakable belief that the band will soon explode into that full blown acclaim and giant status.

The introductory email from the band just said Hi and a few words ending in “We hope you enjoy the music”. There was no shouting about or hinting of what was to explode out of the speakers, so expectations were good but not imagining the pure excellence to come. Into The Light consists of twelve tracks which without fail all leave one gasping for breath, their bodies perpetually evolving and as diverse as the sun is hot and all staggeringly colossal. Frater reaps the deepest essential essences from multiple genres to create monumental slabs of brutality which expertly fire up the senses. They combine equal densities of extreme and melodic metal whilst twisting in irresistible metallic veins of groove, technical, progressive, and  metalcore. It is astounding and easily one of the freshest and most vibrant albums to hit in a long while.

The Buenos Aires band formed in early 2008 with in the words of their bio ‘the aim to fuse different musical styles with powerful riffs without neglecting melody, introspective lyrics and progressive rhythm constructions,’ Into The Light shows they have achieved that and more. The year after formation the quartet of vocalist Pablo Urcullú, guitarist and vocalist Andrés Bori, bassist Andres Zadunaisky, and drummer Federico Mele released the five track Shapeless EP to strong responses in their homeland. The release and their renowned live performances ignited a powerful following and strong acclaim within Argentina. Now it is the turn of the world as their album begins its assault and it is hard to see them failing.

The pulsating start of opener Eleven captures the imagination instantly and when the rampaging intense riffs and electrifying swarm of melodic sound erupts, nothing stands in the way of immediate jaw dropping attention. The track is a blistering contagion, an incessant onslaught which leaves knees buckled and ears sore through its overwhelming intensity and might. The song then sweeps into unpredictable avenues with some of the most infectious melodic and imaginative interplay heard in a long time. The vocals of Urcullú alone turn from the most spiteful and bile spewing caustic growls to some of the finest clean and controlled singing found in metal today. He is impressive in the extreme and a brilliant foil and companion to the crushing and caressing sounds the band conjure together. The track is five minutes plus of brilliance and the band already declaring themselves as something special.

The fluid exchange between the opener and Heir Of Thorns is astounding  and a feature of the album as a whole, the release a consuming brute made up of a brotherhood of songs. The second track corrupts with sawing riffs which gnaw at the senses with rabid hunger whilst the guitar of Bori stretches and manipulates the song and its recipient with unbridled flair and imagination. The track again finds the perfect mix of violence from the aggressive riffs, bass stalking and crippling rhythms with the peaceful enterprise of guitar ingenuity and emotive vocal, delivering it all with an even more skilled invention.

The likes of Venomous, a song as nasty and infectious as its title suggests, the ravenous and compulsive Eternal Return, and Beneath My Eyes which turns inside out with precise skill to bludgeon and light up the heart with aural beauty in its extremes, continue to leave one in rapture. The third of the three is an insatiable onslaught offering outstanding melodic elegance within flesh striping intensity and further proof that Frater leaves nothing in the locker in skill, intensity, and imagination.

From beginning to end Into The Light is nonstop musical supremacy at its most powerful, songs like Truth In Lie, Statement, and the closing title track though you can mention any song on the album, showing a band able to bring quality and wide diversity without losing their way and at a height many never reach. If the likes of Sepultura, Lamb Of God, All That Remains, Opeth, Periphery, In Flames…well you get the idea, light your fires Frater will stoke them up even higher. They and their sound is eclectic, perfectly controlled, and simply stunning, enough said!

RingMaster 08/08/2012

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The Dropper’s Neck: Self Titled EP

Finding even a hint of uniqueness in music and bands is at times like waiting for snow on Christmas Day but it does happen and has with the self titled debut EP from UK rockers The Dropper’s Neck. The four songs which make up its pulsating and bristling shape do pull in thoughts and essences from other bands but there is a distinct colouring to their sound and attitude which is solely the Essex band and it is very appetizing to hear.

The quintet only formed late 2011 but took no time in drawing a loyal and growing following through their vibrant live shows and sound. Released a few weeks ago their EP looks set to build on that start with its compulsive and energetic fusion of multi-flavouring, the strains of garage and alternative rock in a blistering brew with elements of punk rock and psychedelic schizophrenic tendencies. Produced and engineered by Toby Campen, it makes for a quartet of engaging tracks with ruffle the ear as much as they openly infect, and give hints of even greater things ahead from the band.

The release opens with the scorching heat of Poor Excuse, a track which attaches itself to the senses with a mutated Queens Of The Stone Age like groove. The guitars of Chris Blake and George Barrows twist and surge with enterprise and caustic melodic invention whilst the rhythms of bassist Martin Huggett and drummer Danny Keene drive a formidable pace and intensity behind. It makes for an irresistible tease before the ear with the incessant taunting from the riffs one of those orgasmic pleasures and the craft of Blake sending delicious shards of heated melodies through to the heart. Like all the tracks, though there is an immediate connection the song grows and emerges with a stronger and more contagious hold through multiple meets. The vocals of Lloyd Mathews are another excellent stand out aspect of the sound, his at times almost dour yet hypnotic delivery having the same garage punk expressiveness which marked Lux Interior of The Cramps, though with no disrespect to Mathews he has some way to go to emulate the great man. He seemingly borders on disinterest at times tone wise and makes for a great contrast and seamless companion to the sharper burnt sounds.

The following Sick again has that desert rock groove which flares up at intermittent times to great effect whilst the track itself bruises with forceful riffs and combative rhythms. Within what are four outstanding tracks it is arguably the best but that does depend on the time and day, all having an equality to be commended. From its feistier climes the EP moves into the tight harmonic scarring of The Divorcee, a track as lustful and edgy as its subject. The song offers a slight psychobilly crawl reminding of The Orson Family from the eighties within its raw presence giving evidence of the diversity within the sound and songwriting of the band. It is hypnotic with its simple hooks and acidic melodic stirring of the senses and again is a track which takes top spot when in the ear, though one can say that about all to be fair.

The release ends with I Could and the band venturing into more direct punk n roll intent. The track swaggers with a boastful energy and finds Mathews almost unleashing the inner rocker within, his delivery livelier and with more enthused gusto as he explodes into air splitting howls. The track continues the showing of range to the sound of the band and adds to the already high anticipation for what comes in the future from the band.

The Dropper’s Neck has announced themselves with a release which it is hard to pick any real flaws from. If one was being really pedantic there is a similarity to how some of the songs begin their individual escapades but they soon evolve into their own unique guises to make it a mere quibble and of no value. This is a band which offers something different, arguably it does not happen often so make sure you do not miss out.

RingMaster 08/08//2012

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Chasing Dragons: Take Flight For A Firefight

In already a year of immense debuts maybe the most impressive of all comes on August 13th with the release of Take Flight For A Firefight from melodic metal/rock band Chasing Dragons. It is a release which quite simply leaves the heart afire with unbridled passion and enthusiasm , the UK rockers flooring expectations and the senses with their introduction to the world.  If you had any doubt about the state and future of British rock music then Chasing Dragons easily lay it to rest.

Formed in 2011,the quintet from Leeds fuel passions with a riotous mix of metal and rock n roll. They bring the aggressive bite of The Distillers and snarling punk energy of Bikini Kill into a refreshing blend with classic metal flavours from say an Avenged Sevenfold and the melodic prowess of a Paramore. What emerges is something unique to Chasing Dragons laced with familiar spicery to make for an instantaneous pleasure and connection. The band has been picking up a very strong and rapidly growing following as through their stage performances which has seen them alongside the likes of Attack!Attack! (UK), The Headstart, Skarlett Riot, and Our Innocence Lost to name a few. Take Flight For A Firefight though will throw the band to much loftier plateaus once it rampages through the ears of metal and rock fans  nationwide, the EP that impressive.

As soon as the first electrified riffs of opener Spawn Of The Succubus light up the ear one is immediately and fully drawn into the moment as if nothing else exists and as soon as the outstanding vocals of Tank spread their stunning tones throughout the song, the world is a distant memory. There is something extra in the character of her delivery and voice which demands and receives willing attention, whilst her control of melodies and intensity sets her apart from most other female vocalists anywhere. The song itself is a fury of scything scorched melodic play and inciting muscle bound riffs from guitarists Mitch Sadler and Zebs alongside the thumping explosive rhythms of bassist Ant Varenne and Tom Wheelwright on drums. The track has a gnarly core within the open infectiousness of the golden melodies and contagious hooks to give it a depth and hungry presence. It throughout is lighting up the senses with majestically enticing craft and  imagination but all the time also chewing on them with an underlying greed.

The startling and captivating start is backed up by the following bristling harmonic glory of Mirror’s Edge. A softer yet no less riveting appeal to the ear, it is an evolving piece of invention fusing military rhythms to enchanting melodic caresses from music and vocals alike. It then turns the emerging brew in to a punchy storm of expressive and incendiary energy. Again as on every song the voice of Tank is something special, a wonderful piece in the arsenal of a band just as special itself. Even though it only two tracks in on their debut the promise of the band let alone what they lay before the ear is overwhelming.

Rivalling the opener for best song is the brilliant Seeds Of Tomorrow, a song which showers the listener with glittering melodies , golden harmonies, and sparking guitar play, like confetti. The song is full contagion brought with a potency of craft and songwriting which is staggering. It does not offer any restraint on their power either, the song a wondrous slice of metallic rock n roll.

The bulging release also offers up the excellence of the hypnotic City Of Steel to further have one licking their lips as well as a very impressive cover of the Alannah Myles track Black Velvet, which is no lie to say leaves the original in its wake. The EP is completed by remixed demo recordings of Into The Pit and Under The Earth which in their rawer form still show more promise and accomplishment from the band than can be found in other studio releases, plus two excellent live acoustic songs of again Into The Pit and Spawn Of The Succubus.

Take Flight For A Firefight is simply staggering and the cause of full excitement to what is sure to come in the future. Chasing Dragons is already on the verge of something special and we can only be the winners, so no point in waiting go and enjoy now.

RingMaster 08/08/2012

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DreamCatcher – Never Look Back

The upcoming weekend is going to be as busy for UK melodic metallers DreamCatcher as the sounds in their new single Never Look Back which is released this coming Monday August 13th. Before then the Leeds sextet have a double appearance at Bloodstock to enjoy, Saturday the 11th seeing them play an unplugged set on the Acoustic Stage followed by their full high energy show on Sunday. The single caps things off with fine accomplishment in what will be a notable three days for the band.

Formed in 2008, DreamCatcher has gone from strength to strength with their live performances which has included sharing stages with Delain, After Forever, and Pythia, and their acclaimed SoulDesign EP of last year accelerating an already steadily growing dedicated following.  Never Look Back is taken from the album released through Rising Records and is available via the Bandcamp profile of the band as a free download in exchange for a Facebook Post or Twitter tweet, a barter which is certainly one of the best deals this year. The three track single is a treat which not only cements the band as a growing force but makes a satisfying celebration of where they and their sound are right now.

Never Look Back is a storming maelstrom of sound and invention which teases the borders of chaos whilst roaring with heated elegance and sure confidence to pull it all into a striking and enveloping presence upon the senses. Bringing the best aspects of major influences like Nightwish, Epica, Powerquest, and Anubis Gate into their own distinct muscular riotous form of metal it is a heady fusion which consumes every pore. There is a distressed clarity to it all which works a treat and adds that extra intensity which marks the band from other melodic metal bands. The track is a scorching amalgam of excellently crafted melodic imagination and rampaging power metal borne energy. The mesmeric keyboard skills of Adelé Pease flow with ease and understanding alongside the melodic play from guitarists Ben Scott and Alexei Green whilst their raging riffs bounce off the bruising rhythms of bassist Matt Hudson and drummer Rossi Lavery. Vocalist Lukas Jackson soars amongst it all with a craft and power which is never swamped or lost within the expansive sound, full credit going to the songwriting and the production from Jacob Hansen (ex-Anubis Gate, Mercenary), as well as the skill of the band itself.

Track one is an edit of Never Look Back with the closing song the original version though there is nothing to choose between the two, the thirty second difference neither improving nor detracting from the song. In between there is new instrumental Foresight. It is a muscular charge of creativity further exposing the individual skills of the band and the sure melodic craft which pervades their invention. The piece stirringly ruffles with crisp rhythms and explosive enterprise whilst showering the ear with equally marked melodic radiance and flair.

If SoulDesign eluded your attention then Never Look Back is the open invitation into the progressively symphonic metal world of DreamCatcher, it would be rude to refuse.

RingMaster 08/08/2012

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