Triggerman: Hail To The River Gods

With the rhythmic bombardment of a Black Tusk, the monster riffs of a Mastodon, and the mischievous grooves of a Red Fang, we bring you arguably the most exciting release of the year in Hail To The River Gods from Northern Ireland stomp rioters Triggerman. The seven track release is a monster of an album which simply lights up all the senses, accelerates the heart, and has limbs doing movements only the devil could have designed. If the likes of the bands previously mentioned and those of Orange Goblin, Clutch, and EyeHateGod ring your bell, Triggerman will be your next orgasmic pleasure.

Hail To The River Gods is the third album from a band formed in 2002, with the current line-up of vocalist and guitarist Bap, guitarist Niall, bassist Dixie, and Rory on drums, in place since 2009, give or take a month or two. It follows the critically acclaimed Brand New Day of 2010, a release which had the likes of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Magazine drooling. Heavier than a mud slide and more rampant than a dog in heat with the moves to match, the album is a senses tenderising thrill of metal, stoner, and classic rock with plenty of other additives to spice the unbridled enjoyment. It is a release which is not trying to invent or re-design anything, just one wanting to unleash the biggest towering grooves and riffs known to mankind, which it does with accomplished skill and energy.

The Derry quartet opens up with Rage Of The Goddess and immediately seize hold with eager welcoming rolling rhythms and fiery guitar chords. The vocals of Bap soon enter to begin the tale of the title, a mythological air soaking every word though at times any woman scorned can fit the story; yeah we have all been there guys. His delivery throughout the release is a spoken growl in a similar style to Jello Biafra which adds to the muscular and raw energy of each and every song, verbal and musical biceps flexing with every word and note. The constantly agitated fury of the drums is a hypnotic pull whilst the guitars and bass unleash crushing hungry riffs with ease. The glorious solo which scorches the air as the song reaches its climax leaves the scent of burnt flesh in its wake which lingers whilst the track evolves into its successor.

      Rise Of The Woodsmen is a storming assault, a raging onslaught dripping sweat, power, and menace like its subjects. For two and a half minutes the track works every sinew within its colossal body, riffs bulldozing everything in sight and grooves sparking fires, their melodic embers showering the skies. The song is a worker, a track which gets things done without distraction or obstruction and loving every damn minute of it, which ensures we do too.

Every song on the album is immense and the provider of infectious glory but some do stand on the top step above others, such is the case with the title track. Hail To The River Gods is a song which with its story of men going off to sea and paying homage and prayers to the River Gods for protection, is rife with absorbing folk metal spicery. At times it teeters on the edge of pirate metal with essences of Alestorm raising their bones. The song is a prowling stomp, again a hard working beast of a track which reflects the energy and muscle of its content.

     Th’on Strange Brew is a magnetic treat, its stoner grooves sirenesque and thicker than tar. The fumes the guitars conjure with their riled riffs overwhelm and intoxicate the senses and with the rhythms inciting the devil inside and a groove which unleashes a wanton wickedness, the track is a wonderful danger to man and beast.

The sixties blues tinged pagan breath of Flower Of Life takes another contagious diversion as the album again shows diversity whilst the closing pair of the brilliant Wake The Dead and Blind Side Of The Moon twist and bewitch the ear with insidious intent. The first of the pair is a fury of anthemic rhythms and aggressively driven riffs, a charging call to arms which is irresistible and the second a sludge flavoured prowl which drags its listener through every treacle thick shadow and oppressive dark corner within its oppressive heart. Wake The Dead emerges as favourite song on the album but all leave nothing but deep pleasure.

Quite simply Hail To The River Gods is one of the best releases this year and Triggerman our new best friends. Go discover them for yourselves and join their addicted ranks too.

RingMaster 29/08/2012

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Kill The Conversation: Farewell For The Last Time

Already before its release the new EP from UK metalers Kill The Conversation seems to be splitting opinions remarkably, some loving it and others finding a loathing usually reserved for young Bieber. Farewell For The Last Time is a release which will either work for you or not. It admittedly has its limitations and unfulfilled potential but still is an impressively enjoyable slab of sonic brutality.

Kill The Conversation is obviously a band unafraid to try things and though it does not always come off it is refreshing. Though crossing a few genres, their sound is metalcore based and in a category which has become quite static in its invention, a band at least trying to be unique is better than one just offering another carbon copy assault. The five tracks on the EP are a concussive confrontation which leave a deep scarring behind them, at times painful and in others abusive but always intriguing and unpredictable.

Formed in 2009, the Dorchester quintet has already grabbed opportunities to make an impact through the sharing of stages with bands such as Sepultura, Rise To Remain, Malefice, and Revoker. Their debut EP Figure Of Speech also drew the attention of people but with Farewell For The Last Time it is accurate to say the band will not go unnoticed. Comparisons to the likes of August Burns Red, Bring Me The Horizon, The Devil Wears Prada, and Parkway Drive have been ringing in their ears as people try to find a tag but though the band echo of a few they create ideas like no one.

The EP starts with a melodic but agitated atmosphere around a sample from the Churchill speech at the declaration of war, though Fold soon erupts into a blistering surge of coarse riffs and an explosion of abrasive guttural vocals. Once into its stride, the guitars of Liam Garry and Luke Toomer offer up an acidic clinging groove and flesh wilting strikes before the heavy artillery of the band takes over with heavier impactful riffs, crippling rhythms and vicious vocals from Jack. The song is arguably quite straightforward and possibly not the most adventurous but still a powerful blood pumping exercise in towering metal.

The following Shattered Shell immediately comes at the ear at full throttle, its badgering riffs and malicious vocals a scurrying and predatory playmate for the senses. The track soon mixes things up with pace twists and rhythmic contortions from drummer Brad Birchall. As the song evolves it takes a break, putting the intensity on a leash for a breather whilst stabbing riffs and beats break the air. The sound at this point is clean but festering an anger which is soon expelled as the track returns to its malevolent ways. The climax feels like the song is standing over and chewing ones carcass amidst triumphant and gloating pig squeals from England. The track is a stirring and provocative brute which labours a little against the opener but opens an appealing well of invention from within the band, something the following song continues.

No More Fish In The Sea is simply chaotic magnificence, a sprawling wave of imagination. It opens with riffs rifling the ear and rhythms holding guard over the intrusion. Sonic manipulations litter the air to ignite deeper interest whilst again England spews his own style of vehemence. His delivery though not especially diverse, is soaked in passion and mischief adding fluctuating character to proceedings. The band throws chugging riffs and a melodic scorching across the senses as it works into the song and though again it is maybe not high on originality one eagerly basks in the towering combat being waged upon the ear. A break into a raw and hollow peace which leads into a post hardcore attack vocally and musically, allows the excellent bass work of Laurie Thomas the clarity it deserves but is often missing elsewhere. Returning to a metalcore climax the track is a gem with only the switch into the unexpected aside lacking not as successful as it could have been. The returning banshee shrills are good too though hopefully England will not overplay them in the future to diminish their strength.

The remaining two songs keep things running on a high. Blakes Demise is a bruising encounter which tests the resolve but counters its vindictive nastiness with cutting addictive riffs, an insatiable groove, and infectious ear candy melodics It is a good song surpassed by City In Ruin. Starting with another speech sample the track spears its air with fiery sonic bursts from the guitars before exploding into a riotous feast of energy and melodic enterprise which seemingly teeters on folk metal. The track is excellent with more twists and turns than a slinky on the stairs though again it is unable to bring fluidity to the transition between the contrasting sounds talked of and the charged metal onslaught which closes the song.

Farewell For The Last Time is an impressive release which holds great promise for Kill The Conversation. For sure the band is not the finished article yet and probably are destined to always rub some up the wrong way but if they carry on like this they will find and give formidable riches.

RingMaster 29/08/2012

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Humangled: Odd Ethics

By the third track on Odd Ethics by Italian death metalers Humangled, there was only one direction to go after the completion of this review and that was straight to their back catalogue. The four track EP is the first introduction to The RR of the band but did not take long in ensuring it would not be the last. It is a deeply impressive release offering something different and fresh to a genre admittedly bursting with strong and powerful releases right now, though it is fair to say no one has the distinct smell and taste of Humangled.

From Pisa, the band began way back in the nineties with their first demo Anatomic Butchery appearing in 1996. Though it was well received the band broke up soon after, but in December 2006 vocalist Andrew Goreds and guitarist Luke Scurb joined up once more and Humangled was revived. The following year saw the Refoetalize EP and its unexpected storm of brutal death metal with electronic-industrial rhythms unveiled. The release was well received and after the release of the MCD Edge of Beyond in 2008, the band started work on their debut album Fractal, its acclaimed release coming in 2010 after the band signed with Abyss Records the same year. With guitarist Vhell Miscarriage, bassist Frank Nichols, and drummer Fred Valdaster alongside Goreds and Scurb, Humangled return again on Abyss with another impressive slab of their immense and enterprising metal. Produced and mixed like the album by Dan Swano, Odd Ethics is an imaginative and brutal corruptive pleasure.

Opener Needles Of The Blind takes no time in raging and stomping through the ear with juddering riffs and explosive rhythms, immediately demanding and getting full attention. It is a highly charged mix which ignites all the passions instantly, something not many death metal offerings manage to achieve, usually they have to wear the defences down a little first. With drops and surges in pace and energy, the track is an ever shifting onslaught rife with tumultuous riffs, finely crafted additive grooves, and inspiring imagination. Though it is arguably the most straight death metal track on the release the song is an innovative fury of diverse flavours to fire up the heart. Vocally Goreds conjures a mix of heavy guttural attacks and a caustic blackened delivery for a challenging and compulsive abrasion as direct and pleasing as the music.

The following Skinned, To Feel All opens with a hive of waspish riffs wrapped in a groove which burns on contact, its scorching touch upon the ear acidic and hypnotic. Musically the track is an eccentric blend of doom and sludge metal milked through a death driven rock n roll filter. It is a triumph, an insatiable and incessant grind upon the senses as addictive as any forbidden pleasure can be.

Smells Acrid steps up next to claim its chunk of flesh. As with its predecessor the song opens with a persistent and insistent shower of riffs, all drilled home with a hunger which cannot be appeased. Less rampant but just as forceful and eager as the song it replaced, the track creates a maelstrom of energy and intensity which is the nastiest yet and the most contagious.

The release closes with Deny Your Creed , a song whose initial presence suggests a slower more intense breath at the ear. Intense it certainly is but restraint is never on the cards as it fires a spiral of venomous riffs and spiteful grooves through the eagerly awaiting cavities. Though it shifts from gear to gear throughout, the song with breath stealing energy, bombards with thrash powered riffs and blood boiling sonic ferocity. It is a glorious finish to an exceptional release.

It would be amiss not to spotlight the musicianship within the band especially the skill and sheer brutal might of Valdaster. He is an unbridled beat tempest at times with the control and rhythmic leadership of a master, his skilled frame work and driving energy inspiring the rest of the band to ignite their individual craft.

    Odd Ethics is immense, Humangled even greater, nothing else to say except go check them out.

RingMaster 29/08/2012
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Monsterworks: Man::Instincts

Though they have been producing their distinctive style of creativity for well over a decade, the EP Man::Instincts from Monsterworks is our first introduction to the band, and a surprising and initially disorientating release it is too. Consisting of three songs which evolve within the ear, the release is a hypnotic and wide array of sub genres and metal flavours. Unpredictable and intentionally challenging, the EP is a provocative brew of styles with rewards which are vibrant, compulsive, and wholly enjoyable.

From Wainuiomata in New Zealand and now UK based, Monsterworks has across their fourteen years as a band, released two demos and seven albums which going by research and the sounds on this their debut EP, have more than likely all treated the listener to startling and uncompromising invention. Previous releases has included a metal space adventure concept album which came in the two parts of Spacial Operations and Singularity in 2007 and 2009 respectively, and last year an album which explored philosophical territory, The God Album. The band creates music which surely is as a big an irritant to those which have to tag and label as salt is to slugs. Their sound is a striving perpetual and fluid weave of sounds; classic, stoner, black, power, a mere few of the mass of multi metallic essences woven together in a seamless soundscape of imagination. Arguably it should not work but it does and effectively as Man::Instincts easily proves.

The first track The Creation Dream opens with instantly engaging guitar caresses which capture the imagination within moments, the melodic heat rippling off their play mesmeric. The song soon brings a muscular breath to its flight as black metal vocals scowl with venomous intent and classic metal cries permeate the background. As the tempered but brewing storm of sound wraps the ear the song is a warm consumption which ignites with fiercer surges as it moves into a folkish progressive climax. The guitar play of Marcus and vocalist Jon is skilled and constantly enthralling whilst the rhythms built by bassist Hugo and James on drum, are forceful without overpowering or deflecting from the craft of the song itself.

All Suns Die erupts with an instant blackened scramble upon the senses, the disruptive and shifting rhythms explosive and agitated. As it progresses the track explores melodic rock, progressive metal, heavy metal and more. In a mere three minutes or so it encapsulates a maelstrom of aural spices like colours within a jigsaw and like that it all fits perfectly and flows as one. It is instinctive with no sign of elements being forced or added just to be different. There are moments personal tastes are not quite sure about but it is never an issue to derail the quality and enjoyment given.

The closing track Free Will has a feisty intent, its trash surges raising the heart rate amongst the blackened veins and classic shrills. The song is arguably less eclectic of the trio, preferring a less changeable core but is no less impressive and powerful. It is true to say there is something for everyone on Man::Instincts and no doubt their albums too, though possibly for some the vast expanse to the music in its diversity will be a challenge too far, but you do not know until you try, right?

Released via Mortal Music as the second in their series of digital releases which began with the excellent IV v1.0 from ION VEIN, Man::Instincts is an excellent introduction to newcomers and continuation for existing fans.  With whispers that the EP is a taste of what is to come within future album The Album Of Man, anticipation and the need to discover the back catalogue of Monsterworks is eager.

RingMaster 29/08/2012

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