Scar For Life: 3 Minute Silence

3 Minute Silence, the new album from Portuguese metalers Scar For Life, is not arguably an album to top your best of the year list but is one which is more likely to be revisited more often than many others this year. It is a vibrant and imaginative blend of melodic rock forged with heavier extremes to stretch and push the sound and invention of the band. It has a creative craft which captivates throughout and intelligence to its sound and composition which one can only be impressed and satisfied by.

Formed in 2008 by guitarist Alexandre Santos (Redstains), the band has built up a good and strong reputation over the past years as it evolved its sound and went through member changes. 3 Minute Silence is the third album from Scar For Life and the first with the new line-up of Leonel Silva (vocals), João Colaço (ex-More Than A Thousand) (drums), Nelson Raposo (piano) alongside Santos (rhythm and lead guitars/bass). The release also sees Sergio Faria offering the lead guitars on Before The Storm and Brave Enough as well as some featured guests. Released through Infektion Records the new album is called ‘their most ambitious work to date exploring a heavier and more melodic side of Scar For Life’. To be honest with the album being our introduction to the band we can only trust the words in relation to previous releases but 3 Minute Silence certainly is a collection of songs which are powerful, superbly crafted, and unlikely to make just light weight impressions on their listeners.

The album opens with easily its best track though all are decent rivals in their distinctive ways. Last Crow is a thumping introduction to the release, its towering combative rhythms and gnarly bass lines irresistible almost verging on brutal. As the guitars whip up a heated frenzy the vocals of Silva snarl and spit with aggression before exploding into an outstanding melodic rock delivery subsequently entwining both as the track progresses magnificently. The song is a riot of bruising riffs and sharp melodic invention fused with high octane energy and emotive sonic grandeur from the guitars and clean vocals. With its hungry near metalcore/death metal gait the song is outstanding, a thrilling and riveting explosion of raw intensity and inventive adventure. Unfortunately this is the only time the album really fuses the furthest reaches of the extremes involved and for personal tastes one cannot help thinking that if the whole release had been approached from the same direction this would surely be an album of the year contender here.

To be fair though the rest of the release is nothing less than impressive just in a different way, the songs eclectic and individual which one can never find a resistance to. The following Metabolic and White Shades for example both excite and please with their more conservative though no less inventive base. The first is an infectious storm of powerful riffs and rhythms speared by fine melodic craft and an excellent electronic caress upon the ear before the explosive climax. Its successor offers a slower emotive atmosphere to make its introduction, its expressive warmth and charm though still brought with an incendiary bruising breath and captivating melodic elegance.

As mentioned the album features some guests, the first coming on Burn It All with the additional vocals of Finnish vocalist Kari Vähäkuopus (Catamenia). It is another towering track of metal and melodic rock fused into an enterprising and impressive union. It does not venture near the depths and harsh assault of the first song but still offers a thumping mix of power and fine melodic skill. The other guest appearances come from violinist Anne Vitorino d’Almeida on the Celtic toned One More Day and the strongly emotive Old Man, whilst keyboardist Ged Ryland (ex-Ten) lights up the song Brave Enough. This song returns to the more harsh and aggressive presence which opened up the album and again elevates the band onto another plateau from their already heady heights. It is a brawling maelstrom of intensity and energy brought with sheer melodic dazzling beauty which only just falls short of the tasty assault which opened the album.

Scar For Life is a band one can only see getting better and better which ever direction their future explores. We hope it is one with even more attitude and bite though the melodic might they possess, as shown by 3 Minute Silence, must never be diminished. One of the strongest albums this year without doubt.

RingMaster 09/09/2012

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Obelyskkh: White Lightnin’

Creating slabs of majestic and impactful thunderous doom/sludge metal with the riches of stoner and classic metal oozing from every breath, White Lightnin’ from German metalers Obelyskkh is a mighty and formidable release which ignites primal and deep pleasures within. It is an oppressive weighty avalanche of sonic manipulation with a leaden presence firing up satisfaction and increased adrenaline.

Formed in 2008, Obelyskkh was initially just a vehicle for the ideas of guitarist Torsten (ex- The Walruz and Vs. The Stillborn-Minded), to be explored alongside his friend Adi. It was never the intention to make it a fully operational band but as the addition of Steffen of seminal German stoner rock band Desert Sun joined first on bass before moving to drums and then multi-instrumentalist David on bass, things took off especially in 2011 which saw the release of the well received debut album Mount Nysa which sold out within three weeks of its introduction to the world via now defunct German label Droehnhaus. Alongside this the band found interest in them go viral on the web as from the seed of a 2-minutes live footage cut on Youtube, the band was inundated with interest and offers  from promoters in Germany and other European countries leading the band to an exhaustive time of clubs and festivals appearances. Recorded with Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Eyehategod, High On Fire, Melvins) and released via Exile On Mainstream, the new album is now set to place the band to the fore of the thoughts and lips of all genre and metal fans, with its white hot sonic invention and intensive caustic beauty an impressive rub.

The album opens with the deeply mesmeric and senses burning instrumental The Enochian Keys, a piece of composing to scar and blister whilst igniting raptures. The track teases and provokes the ear with a restrained yet greedy groove and smoking guitar riffing as incendiary as the heated ambience wrapping each and every note.

From the deeply magnetic charms of the starter the following Elegy is a more methodical lumbering beast of a track, its intensity as weighty as its elements are raw and abrasive. The guitars scrape flesh with their sonic acidic tones throughout with additional flares of sharp melodic rock enterprise sparking at times whilst the bass and drums powerfully frame the thick tar like atmosphere which envelopes from the start. The vocals add further depth to the track with their guttural urging alongside muscular group harmonies making for another weapon to the malevolent dirge like assault.

The great start is built upon and furthered with the excellent title track and the likes of Mount Nysa and Amphetamine Animal. All in their varied ways a blistering upon the senses through incessant taunts of oppressive might and ear rupturing sounds. The vocal harmonies of the title track are a highlight of the song with their almost Pixies like discord whilst the other pair add a psychedelic progressive lined consumption and corruptive malevolence respectively to the album. The latter is a disturbed maelstrom of constricting intrusions and flailing sonic venom which steals the honours on the whole release, its nasty insidious presence a glorious destruction.

Completed by the ravenous crawl of Abysmal Desert Cavern and the unhinged Invocation To The Old Ones with its wonderful bedlam of textures, atmospheres and sounds, White Lightnin’ is one of the most impressive doom/sludge releases this year. It is a venomous feast which offers another poison and distressing companionship with each listen. Though probably not an album to rest easily within every ear it and Obelyskkh themselves, are one of the most satisfying experiences within the musical year to date.

RingMaster 09/09/2012

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Darsombra: Climax Community

Climax Community the new album from Baltimore based Darsombra, is a release which involves and fires up every one of the senses whilst igniting the mind and its thoughts into a ride of visions and emotions as twisting and inventive as the sounds forming their soundscape. You can hear, feel, see, and taste the exploratory sounds and enveloping worlds it opens up ensuring that a full immersion into its body is inevitable and welcome.

Darsombra started as a one-man project from guitarist Brian Daniloski (ex- Meatjack and Trephine) before expanding into a duo with the artistry of visual artist Ann Everton. Together their individual imagination and craft has created in the band, an audiovisual music project to impress with sounds and experiences to devour and come alive within. Released via Exile On Mainstream, Climax Community is an epic of extremes. It is meditative and disturbing, beautiful and violating, and stirringly evolving within a persistent tsunami of drone intensity. It brings a clash of points and emotions but with a seamless and worldly presence to provoke and evoke.

The album opens its journey through the earth and its wealth inspired psychedelic transcendental rock experiment with Roaming The Periphery, a track which immediately switches on all the senses with its brewing drone breath and vocal harmonics which leave sonic trails across its sky. The track is a twenty three minute caress/intrusion which leaves no aspect of its heart and of our thoughts untouched. The looming and perpetual shadows which ebb and flow over the piece are a sinister weight amongst scorched incendiary guitar manipulations, whilst their lingering drudge or abrasive scarring soaked in melodic ingenuity, is as heated and cutting as their evolving sonic kisses. It is track to lose oneself within but find oneself too, a stimulation of sound and energies to lay a feast of thoughts and personal images before.

It is a testing listen the opener though never so abrasive and unsettling that a connection is unattainable at any point. The following Green is completely different. It is a brief, in comparison to its predecessor,  acoustic delight which brings a peaceful break to the sonic trek of the album, a time of reflection and taking stock of energies before the final giant of a piece, Thunder Thighs .

An eighteen minute opus leaving with a thirty minute final consumptive drone finale, the piece brings an initial gift of melodic warmth and expressive guitar shimmering. With charged veins of energy the track ignites its atmosphere with an incendiary and sizzling flux of corrosive manipulations, incessant drone, and acidic melodic beauty, and then mesmeric sixties psychedelic fires, their flames exploring greater heights the further the song reaches out. The piece erupts with startling and imaginative expertise and invention throughout as it forges its way towards a hypnotic climax to leave one exhausted and energised.

      Climax Community is a giant of a release and as organic as its theme, a perpetually evolving and growing presence for the ear and far beyond. Arguably it will not be the most comfortable companion for many but for those who join its coarse beauty in flight; it will be one of the most rewarding.

RingMaster 09/09/2012

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