Mongrel: Reclamation

For those aware of US band Mongrel, it is wide knowledge that they are one of the most exciting and accomplished underground rock n roll bands around, and have been since forming in 2003. For those still to discover their addict forming blend of punk rock and metal now is the time to feel their bite as they release new album Reclamation, a collection of songs which will have fans and newcomers reeling from its might and infectious brilliance.

Reclamation emerges from what basically has been four years of turmoil for the band through line-up, studio, and studio disruptions. From early on right through to now the Boston, Massachusetts quartet has established a permanent place in the hearts of growing multitudes from their releases and sharing of stages alongside the likes of Misfits (multiple times), Gwar, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Mindless Self Indulgence, Prong, Fu Manchu, Psychostick, Wednesday13, Dizzy Reed (Gn’R), and Piggy D (Rob Zombie) to name just a few, alongside their own tours and shows. It was the departure of their long term vocalist and drummer in 2010 which dropped one of the biggest obstacles in the way of and to slow down the rampaging charge of Mongrel. Dave Kazukiewicz was soon enlisted to bang the skins but a vocalist was less easy a solution to find. Another male singer was brought in as they searched long and hard but that was a short lived answer. Still gigging as is the Mongrel way, they called on their friend Jessica Sierra from the band Affliction to cover some shows with eventually the temporary arrangement becoming, to our pleasure, permanent.

Now a powerful and stable unit of band founder Adam Savage, bassist Rev, Sierra and Kazukiewicz, the quartet set about re-recording tracks from the releases which had thrilled in the early days, debut album Fear, Lies & Propaganda of 2006 and the Revenge EP three years later.. These tracks came out upon the excellent The New Breed of Old School EP. To those who had grown with the band it was a surprising but mighty evolution from what came before, the vocals of Sierra bringing a tighter grip and quality to the sound which only impressed. 2010 saw the band enter the studio once more to record a further step forward with the Declamation EP and most impressive of all this the Reclamation album. Of course a battle ensued to get it released as is the life of independent bands (as well as the more recent departure from the band of Rev to be replaced by Micah Maltais) but now the album is here released through THC Music imprint THC: X, and ready to snarl and take chunks out of all lucky enough to ensnare it.

The album slaps the ear around from the start with Bored To Death, a feisty slice of anthemic punk rock. It is easy to digest and irresistible, straight forward rock n roll brought with fiery riffs, thumping beats, and the intimidating tones of Sierra, her voice a beckoning tease and attitude snapping aural harpy. It is a powerful and energetic start soon ramped up by the following Pseudocide and Fuck Off And Die. The first just burns the senses from its first note and leaves one smouldering in glee by its end. Ramones meets The Distillers; the track is a punk explosion which scorches the senses to near orgasmic pleasure. The second song prowls and snarls with a ravenous intensity, its heart and Sierra ready to pounce and rip its victim apart whilst the metal driven riffs scythe their way through the ear with caustic power.  Another song leaving one breathless it adds to a high octane start.

One almost expects things to drop level wise at some point as with most releases but this is not like most albums and with the likes of the prowling Zombies Of War with Sierra giving Brode Dalle a run for her money in a delivery of melodic snarling, The More I Bleed with its corrosive guitar abrasions, and the Otep tinged Tarnished Halo, igniting deeper and fuller pleasures, there is no chance of any lost of levels.

     Reclamation is a masterclass in punk rock/metal from first note to last but some tracks simply exhaust the passions such their towering quality. C and a Half is one such song, a sonic addition of rampaging riffs and riotous chorus assaults with the guys backing up Sierra perfectly, spite dripping from every note and syllable. The groove magnet Crucifiction alongside the delicious melody drenched Revisionist, easily rival in their diverse and imaginative ways to continue the immense satisfaction and clear variety on show within the combative cloak of sound. As with all songs they are openly contagious, rippling with hooks and grooves and outstanding vocal spreads from Sierra to fire up heart and passion.

The blistering tempest which is Stillborn Saviour, the ferocious Wake Up, and a reworking of an old song from their first album in No Gods No Masters, end what is easily one of the best albums this year, not only in punk rock or metal but across all genres. Reclamation is sheer excellence whilst Mongrel are at their strongest t ever and still one of the leading underground rock bands, though now with this album one expects their elevation to the big metal table to be imminent.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

RingMaster 18/09/2012

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Cry Havoc: New Life EP

Some band names just invite intrigue and eagerness to learn more. Such is the case with British metal band Cry Havoc, their name inspiring thoughts and impressions which one only hoped their sounds could live up to. Their debut release the New Life EP easily matched and exceeded those wishes, its muscular presence standing tall with music to fire up deep enthusiasm and satisfaction.

A band still in it informative years, Cry Havoc has been exploding stages with high octane live shows which has seen performances alongside the likes of Malefice, Revoker, The Defiled, Voodoo Six, Jettblack, Romeo Must Die, The Dirty Youth, and Guns 2 Roses as well as their own gigs and festival appearances such as Hammerfest III in 2011. They were also invited to contribute to the Ozzy Osbourne tribute CD No More Tears alongside artists such as Vince Neil from Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, and Kiss. Things were definitely on a rapid rise as the band entered Nott-In-Pill studio in the closing weeks of last year to record New Life alongside producer Martyn “Ginge” Ford and Matthew Bond, who have previously worked with the likes of Bullet For My Valentine, Slipknot, Trivium, Skindred, The Dirty Youth and Revoker. With its release this September one can only assume a full and eager hunger for the band and their furious blend of thrash and hard/classic rock, or as they call it thrash n roll, will follow.

Losing Everything is the first rampage through the ear, a ferocious and hungry fury of crippling artillery driven rhythms and ravenous riffs. The song is an immediate thrust of pleasure and power to ignite all the demands of a great metal song, the passion and energy as resourceful and striking as the outstanding guitar imagination alongside openly impressive vocals. It would be wrong to say the song, and EP as a whole has anything new to say or bring to the mosh pit but undoubtedly it sparks all the fires one could wish from a release of immense quality. The track has a Mudvayne flavour to its sound to add another spice and depth to its crushing presence and by its end the result is an explosive and outstanding start to the EP.

The following Ignition starts mesmerising the senses within seconds with a tightly woven groove and again unrelenting rhythms. Into its stride the song is a charged and thrilling ride, the riffs squeezing the ear tightly so that groove and the flaming guitar solos which strike can singe its flesh. Like the opener it is an infectious and highly memorable rampant slab of metal, originality compromised for a stirring and magnetic Metallica/Slayer/American Death Charge like mix.

The malevolent Alone swamps the ear next with further thrash and metal barracking to devour greedily. Thumping drums bludgeon the senses whilst the guitars continue their skilful and inventive pursuit of the heart, whether a riff or melodic enterprise there is only imaginative and greatly crafted play.

The release closes with the title track and of course again it is a uncompromising assault of thrash n roll, a raw and abrasive sound which leaves one wanting more by its final note. The song shifts its pace from top gear aggression to melodic ‘catch a breather’ asides at times but all is seamless and sculpted to leave a lingering burn of satisfaction behind.

The New Life EP is not the most unique in sound but one of the most enjoyable and riotous thrash driven releases sure to pass your way. Cry Havoc is a band with a big horizon ahead of them and sooner rather than later one suspects.

www.facebook.com/cryhavocuk

RingMaster 18/09/2012

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Abstracter: Tomb of Feathers

Never has being viciously brutalised been so satisfying as from the debut album from US metalers Abstracter. Tomb of Feathers, their three track forty minute betrayal of sonic sanity, is an unrelenting corruption of heart stopping, senses blowing malevolence. It crushes and melts synapses through its trio of mesmeric yet corrosive scarring soundscapes, its legacy provoked thoughts and eager submissive allegiance.

Abstracter is a quartet from Oakland, California, friends with the same musical intent and view on the world which drives and stalks their sound. They create a destructive mix of sludge, hardcore punk, crust, and doom metal with much more adding to the black heart of the results. The tracks which make up Tomb of Feathers are enveloping consumptions which mesmerise and destroy simultaneously, their far reaching touch provoking and evoking. Influenced by the likes of Amebix, Swans, Bathory, Godflesh, and Disembowelment, the band vent their anger and hate, disgust and venom through the three massive landscapes of noise and aggression which evolve without ever showing mercy and enthral whilst stripping the senses of safety.

The album is a concept album with the single theme of madness and mental disease resulting from ‘the extreme and cynical individualism that permeates the world, and humanity’s cowardly tendency to constantly leave the weak behind.’From the opening Walls That Breathe through to the closing track the release wears its anger openly and permeates every note and syllable with its loathing. The first track opens with the beginning sounds of a raging storm but it is merely the lull, the emerging guitars leading one into the oncoming ferocity with heated skill. Once inside the oppressive presence of the track, it bears down heavily with spiteful guitar intrusions and firm rhythms whilst vocal harmonies spark the shadows. Soon guttural growls spear the raised intensity and predator like grooves whilst the track overall explores and rages within the head, its intent challenging and testing ones resolve and thoughts wonderfully. It is not an easy listen, as with the following pair, but certainly is one of the most rewarding.

The following To Vomit Crows is the pinnacle of the album, a mightily stunning track and one of the best to emerge within extreme metal for quite a while. Immediately churning riffs cast their abrasive strokes across the ear, soon multiplying as the raptorial bass joining the fray. There is an early Killing Joke bruising to the sound which soon turns into a fire of primal ravenous energy as the song seeks out and brands every inch of the senses and mind. It is magnificent, its hungry sonic energised crawl driven by ear rapping beats, a caustic lashing to smart and drool from. Thirteen minutes long it never outstays its welcome, though neither do the other pair, and through its distorted breath, sonic savagery, and twisting malicious ambience makes every second the richest.

The final track Ashes is no less impactful, the slowly building and lumbering intensity a perpetual drain on ones energy and emotion, its ignited flaming rub annihilatory. The song completes what is a formidable and staggering release which surely marks the beginning of towering things for Abstracter.

Self produced and funded, Tomb of Feathers released digitally via The Path Less Traveled Records with a physical release to follow, is a giant of an album and though arguably it offers nothing widely new in sound, it creates a fresh and explosive new fissure within extreme metal.

www.facebook.com/abstracter

RingMaster 18/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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