Beyond Betrayal: Money Can’t Save You Now EP

Barbaric and venomously twisting the new Money Can’t Save You Now EP from UK melodic metalcore band Beyond Betrayal is a stirring and impressive brute which leaves one bulging with satisfaction and anticipating even greater things ahead. There have been plenty of emerging metalcore bands over recent months, many offering a melodic element, but the quintet from Barrow in Furness easily stand at the fore. Arguably the band has still to define and unleash their own uniquely distinctive breath but they already sound apart from and head most of the new bands which makes the future for them and us very exciting.

Formed in 2009, the band has worked hard to shape and evolve their heavy inciteful sound through live shows, relentless practice and their well received self titled debut EP a year later. 2011 saw the band with a line-up change and arguably a new focus and strength to their sound, the metalcore heart energised with elements of death and progressive metal brought with a sure and keen touch. To this there is a sharp melodic enterprise which wraps around the intensity with intelligence whilst the grooves which rear up at times are borne from the wanton side of infectious. Released August 27th, Money Can’t Save You Now is the thrilling evidence of the depth and power which has emerged within the music of Beyond Betrayal, the release a mighty step on their accelerated ascent. As mentioned one feels their sound is still in progress towards its full identity but still leaves one deeply impressed whilst setting a level for others to aim for.

The Shane Frisby (Bury Your Dead, The Ghost Inside) mastered release opens up with the November, a track which goes for the jugular with aggression and fine craft. Within moments riffs are stripping and scarring flesh with expert sonic artistry whilst the vocals of Vinnie Dickinson seize ears to take them through a storm of guttural spite and sprawling serpentine malice. Driven by a sadistically manipulative groove the track is a maelstrom of energies and rhythms which only ignites the fullest fires. The guitars of Tom Fisher and Scott Shields are perpetually shifting the presence of the song, assaulting the senses with tight vindictive riffs or taunting them with insatiable and golden melodies. The song is an outstanding start elevated into something extra special by the seamless and unexpected progressive aside. Dropping into a tingling caustic whisper the track gives one time to step back and take it all in before surging back with intent and power for a towering climax.

With a distant drum n bass kiss to herald its presence the following Scott’s Got A Time Machine (He Told Me Tomorrow) crawls all over the senses and licking its lips over the onslaught and violation to be delivered. As with the opener the beats of drummer Jake Newton are crippling at the very least whilst bassist Arron Twinney drools rhythms like a ravenous not to be denied predator. As the track expands its grip and flexes muscles it whips up niggling persistent grooves to swarm around the corrupting tempest of undulating riffs and consistently shifting dynamics. The track is outstanding and asks for many returns to take in all on offer, though that can be applied to most of the five songs.

The following Tear Me Apart has a progressive soundscape and offers an air of Bullet For My Valentine to its sound whilst its successor What Lies Inside strikes with a violent purpose and incendiary melodic imagination. The second of the pair scampers all over the senses with intricate craft and disorientating intensity to again leave one unprepared and satisfied at the multi directional turns of the track. Neither song quite lives up to the first two tracks but still leave a deep and welcome mark in their wake, their sounds a sure pleasure for an fans of bands like I Killed The Prom Queen or Bring Me The Horizon.

The EP ends with the best song, the title track. It is a rampaging hungry bruising of energies which rages like an inferno at times and bewitches with dribbling melodic teases in other moments. It is a tremendous song which unveils the full expressive and inventive scope of the songwriting and accomplished skill of the band whilst triggering the imagination of what the band should and will create as they grow. The Money Can’t Save You Now EP is one of the best metalcore releases to be let loose this year and marks Beyond Betrayal as a band to stretch and take the genre into new and expansive places.

RingMaster 22/08/2012

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Late Cambrian: Social Season EP

The Social Season EP from US indie pop band Late Cambrian, is one of those releases you cannot help becoming enamoured with, its vibrant and excitable pop heart a smiling and infectious tease. The EP offers up five songs which ooze eighties new wave and melodic pop flavourings within the mischievous personality of a Weezer. It makes for in Late Cambrian, a band which you feel you already know as a friend before even the end of the first song and a companion to bring out the inner smile.

The Brooklyn band were formed by ex- Flying Machines and The Attorneys, John N. Wlaysewski (guitar, vocals, songwriter) who alongside drummer Colin Schiller began recording their debut album The Last Concert in early 2011. During working on the songs the band saw the addition of O (synth, backing vocals), her glowing voice enhancing some of the later songs recorded. By late March the same year, the band made their live debut with bassist Nunzio Moudatsos (A Crimson Affair) also on board. Social Season is the first release with the full line-up and probably the first enterprising introduction for many to the fun sounds of Late Cambrian, but better late than never.

The opening track Ryan Gosling has already garnered good acclaim and responses as the first single from the release across the US and beyond. The song drives a thumping beat through the ear guided by contagious riffs and jangling melodies which only ensure eager attention. Once the shining harmonies and warm vocals play within the sounds the pull is irresistible and openly anthemic, defying all not to join in with the simple chants and chorus. To be honest like all the songs, it does not try to bend boundaries or break out into new inventive realms for indie pop, but certainly makes finding many rivals in the deep contagion stakes difficult.

The following Trash Show has a slight punk swagger to its boisterous presence to bring a mix of Arctic Monkeys, King Prawn, and Presidents of The USA. As the guitars twist and flash across the ear and the vocals coax the senses into further addiction, the song is like an old friend returning home. The sounds and energy of the track is instantly recognisable but equally and immediately fresh and rewarding, indie pop punk at its best.

Already on a high the EP gets even better with Song 11, an enthused stomp which ignites all the primal rhythms and melodic passions within. The Monkees meets Blink 182 with Maximo Park for company, the song is a pulsating and riotous thrill which has an insatiable hunger to exhaust the senses and bring the heart to a climax. As before the song has one accompanying its voice and limbs thrashing to the wonderful discord which spices the guitars and boisterous energy. The combination of Wlaysewski and O when they come together is stunning and in general the harmonies are delicious. The song also features a solo from Brendan Brown of the band Wheatus which only ignites further enjoyment.

Hand Stamp reins in the energies a touch but still is a feast of melodic joy, the bass pulsating besides the air heating slices of guitar and vocal harmonic elegance. The track does not quite have the pulse rate soaring as previous songs but its warmth and sweet taste is a rewarding dessert to what came before.

Social Season ends with the instrumental Saint James, a track which probably means a lot to the band but is a little lost on others. It is a great piece of music skilfully presented but does not fit with what went before so feels ultimately like a filler. It does have a departure of sound which opens some different anticipation to things in the future from the band though to be honest.

Late Cambrian is one of those bands we all need, fun, excitable, and able to put a smile on the face with  richly pleasing and open infectious sounds.

Ringmaster 22/08/2012

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Where The Skeletons Play: Generation Wars

Generation Wars is the debut EP from UK band Where The Skeletons Play and a release which envelopes and inspires thoughts and emotions for a fully engaging and provocative experience. The EP has no intention of bewitching the ear with obvious hooks and melodies or leaving it soaked in shallow caresses, it instead soaks and immerses the senses in emotive ambience, stirring rock sounds, and consuming inciteful atmospheres. It is a release which will be too intense and testing for many but fully rewarding for those appreciative of depth and bold passion to their music.

Where The Skeletons Play is a studio project consisting of Stitch (vocals and all vocal effect) and Bones (all instrumentation) which came together in 2011. The band and sound they create defies pinning down which will frustrate those who need to categorise music though to be fair maybe the label has yet to be thought up which fits the band, though after the release of Generation Wars on August 27th that will probably be amended. The Bristol based project has made their introduction with a startling and formidable release which may not emerge as a favourite of the year across the masses come December but certainly will have few rivals in evoking as much imagination and thought, its whispering into and inciting of the ear and mind powerful and expansive.

The release opens with the ambient breath of The Ghosts on The Frontline. It is a brief tingling caress which welcomes the ear whilst offering a disturbed air. It is gentle and incisive whilst carrying a haunting shadow within which lays a chilled soundscape for the senses to venture into.

Essences of the likes of Deftones and Tool frequent the music of the band especially in the following Never Born a Criminal. From a distinct radio signal the track expands with a disturbed presence, rumbling shadows, and an atmosphere which verbally and emotionally challenges the validity of violence. The track is an extensive rub which provokes feelings and thoughts throughout, the voice of Stitch accusing and stirring then combative as the track flexes its muscles towards an inciteful and intensity driven climax. As with the EP as a whole, the song needs and invites frequent unions to feel and discover the varied and deep textures within. The sounds of Bones are wonderfully layered to evoke a heavy weave which marks every synapse.

At Your Epicentre is a release of darker whispers and shadows, its sounds ruffling the senses and sparking the air before eventually igniting raging melodic fires, weighty rock surges, and showering intensity. More instrumental with heated essences of Stitch scarring its electrified ambience, the track is a smouldering rub on the ear evolving into a raging burn upon the senses.

The excellent When The World Was In Black And White lays its seeds with early melodic conjuring of guitar and bass, both erupting into a boiling flurry of distorted sounds and melodic discord wrapped in dazzling energy and play. Again the vocals come from an effected and oppressed corner of the song to add another irresistible texture and vision to the overall presence of the song. With soaring and compulsive atmospheres the track is a fully enveloping and inspiring intrusion which leaves plenty to digest.

The release closes with 41526-004, another piece of agitated ambience to leave a caustic and lingering fingerprint upon thoughts. As with Generation Wars as a whole, the song crawls and seeps into every pore and synapse with accomplished craft and piercing deliberate intent, a sonic intrusion which brings far more rewards than discomfort.

Where The Skeletons Play creates brewing powerful nightmarish tempests of sound and overwhelming emotion to leave one in a provoked and enlightened state. It is not your straight forward A to Z music but creativity which involves the whole psyche for the fullest satisfaction. Hopefully more from them will follow soon.

RingMaster 22/08/2012

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City Of Lights: Seasons Change

If you are looking for a new promising and enterprising melodic rock band to feast your ears upon than UK band City Of Lights easily and impressively fits the bill. August 27th sees the release of their debut album Seasons Change, a collection of ten songs which capture the imagination with craft and elegance. Musically the band has pulled in comparisons to the likes of Biffy Clyro, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay, though bands like Doves also come to mind more often than not, the Leeds based quartet creating sounds which play upon the heart with refined melodies and expressive play.

The band began in 2011 when Paris based Matt Dunwell (acoustic guitar & lead vocals) linked up with long-time song-writing conspirator Sean Howey (drums & backing vocals) to create ‘their own brand of honest rock-pop that would ignite and engage.’ The pair were joined by Ashley Howey (bass /backing vocals), the brother of Sean, and soon were refining and evolving their sound around the UK. They then became a quartet with the addition of guitarist Alex Humphreys and continued to draw attention and a rapidly growing following as they lit up the North of England and London with their live performances. Seasons Change is the next step on their ascent and a thoroughly engaging step it is.

The album opens with the infectious Was It All Worth It?, an eager warmth of enticing melodies, glowing harmonies, and smiling enthusiasm. The song is a bouncy pleasure which has a restrained energy but a wealth of inviting charm. The vocals of Dunwell sit expressively within the well lit melodies of the guitars whilst the rhythms of Sean Howey are strong without forcing the issue.

This great start is improved upon immediately by the best song on the album, Did I Stutter. The track is a feisty breeze of driven melodies and energies springing from an emotive and thoughtful base. At times the song reminds of the Doves track Pounding with its rising intensity becoming explosive crescendos throughout to light up the senses wonderfully. The song is hungry yet respectful, inviting adoration rather than demanding though it is hard to imagine many who could not be enamoured without suggestion.

The release slips into a slower emotive breath and arguably a less dynamic presence within the ear, though the likes of Honesty and Wake Me Up drip contagious passion and heart. The vocals of Dunwell bring a stronger Scottish lilt especially with the first of the pair, which shows maybe the inner passion within the songs is personal and intense. For personal taste the album does not quite return to the height it opened with but it is impossible to be anything but impressed by the songwriting and fullness of these and following songs, the dramatic Out Of Sight and deeply mesmeric Landscape just two examples of the quality and pleasure the band create.

Stick & Stones and Wait For Me both bring further elevated warmth to the senses, the first with its crisp melodic beckoning and impassioned whispers whilst the second has a tighter intensity to its rock spine to bring further variety to the release. The song preys on the ear with a keen and muscular caress which expands into a coarse electrified energy to ignite the senses.

If the comparisons mentioned earlier appeal than City Of Lights will impress strongly and leave deep pleasure behind them, for others like us who those bands mentioned send shudders down the spine, Seasons Change will be a pleasing surprise. It will not become a deep partner for the ear but will be a refreshing companion when given the chance.

RingMaster 22/08/2012

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Devour The Martyr: Wasted On The Living

Though it came out the tail end of last year Wasted On The Living from Australian metalers Devour The Martyr is one of those releases which needed retrospective attention for those like us who missed its initial release. The five track EP is a thunderous and incendiary explosion of death, groove, technical and trash metal brought through a tempest of aggression and invention. It easily riles up the senses and excites the heart whilst flooring them with vicious breakdowns, corruptive riffs, and crushing intensity. Though not a release to rupture the boundaries of extreme metal it and the band take it to its limits with precision, skill and ease.

Formed around three years ago the band started making major inroads into the metal scene early last year through the sharing of stages with the likes of Psycroptic, Blood Duster, Claim the Throne and Grotesque, and now of course with the release of Wasted On The Living. Consisting of vocalist Matt Ellis, guitarist Liam Ford, bassist  Max Harwood and  Dan Nazroo on drums, the band brings a hybrid sound which is inventive and refreshing.  As said it does not set new dimensions but without doubt determines levels of creativity and power many others fail to imagine let alone breach.

Exploding with the opener For The Slaughter, the release tops and tails itself with the best of the equally striking and impressive tracks. This first song storms the barricades of the senses with a corrosive energy permeated by harshly jabbing rhythms and destructive riffs. The track bruises and flaunts its muscle through every note alongside the increasingly spiteful and venomous growl of Ellis. The djent ruptures are compulsive within the constantly shifting assault which keeps things highly intriguing and persistently insatiable for it and its recipients. As the song settles into a more oppressive prowl there is a exchange of grooves, one strolling with predatory ease and the other a niggling greedy tease. There is also a Lamb Of God air to the more melodically crafted parts especially within the stylish and dazzling climax.

The following title track enters with caustic riffs framing a domestic exchange dripping anger. One expects the track to explode once into its stride but instead it takes a balanced and accusing stance in vocals and sound. It crawls through the ear with malevolent but finely shaped guitar play and deep resonating basslines to engage with less violence than assumed, the unpredictability of the band and its imagination impressive. The track persistently badgers and barracks the senses without unleashing its full might but the slower pace makes it one heavy and oppressive beast to satisfy all needs.

The Closer We Get and Realm Of The Toxic take the ear into further varied shadows, the first another slowly boiling slab of consumptive weight with scorched guitar play and festering energies which feed off the blackened breath and the second a rampant maelstrom of metallic variance. The second track whips the senses into a frenzy with thrash driven riffs and burning acidic melodic invention all pierced with stunning bass work and bone splintering beats.

As mentioned the release ends on the other biggest peak on Wasted On The Living in the magnetic shape of  No Suicide Without A Homicide. The track is again a thrash breathing brute of a song with death metal veins but  is layered with striking progressive essences and a less vindictive temperament. There are moments it feels Metallica like, if they had bigger balls, and in others it expels a Sepultura intensity, the shifting combination keeping one permanently engaged and thrilled.

Wasted On The Living is an outstanding release which all metal hearts will find a satisfying feast as well as the introduction to Devour The Martyr, a band destined to make a big mark on world metal.

RingMaster 22/08/2012

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