Bison b.c.: Lovelessness

It might not be borne of the thickest of sonic mud to consume the senses, but Lovelessness from Canadian sludgers Bison b.c. is certainly one of the most corrupted and venomous releases to gestate in the imagination this year. It is an album which suffocates light and hope, especially within its theme of the desperation in the search for love. It is a collection of searing and smothering tracks which scald emotions and numb the senses.  The release is a violent canker, an erosion of fantasy and reality, depending on your direction of view, and an album which one blissfully and willingly wants to continue to suffer.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Lovelessness is the third full length album from the band and shows that the quartet has not mellowed in attitude or sound. Recorded alongside acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance), the album is a raw corrosion which engulfs the ear and beyond in sonic flames and insidious intensity. Whether it offers anything strikingly new is debatable but as a blistering and vindictive alternative to safety within peace it cannot be faulted.

From the opening smoking guitar weaves of first track An Old Friend, a sizzling form of mesmerism is begun. The guitar play of James Farwell and Dan And unleash a fiery tease which evolves into a heavy and chaining groove to immediately capture the imagination. It holds a repetitive structure and course for the moment as the vocals of both men squall like wind driven flames, their tones an acidic spiteful rub. As the bass of Masa Anzai prowls within the melodically flaring sparks and thumping rhythms of Matt Wood, it is impossible not to be sucked into the impressive tempest of stoner sounds and energies.  Into its stride the track flexes its muscle and pace, making for a riotous and merciless pleasure. It is a track without unnecessary complications and involvements, just a thoroughly compulsive and unforgiving rage.

If the first song is a rage the following Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness is a volcanic eruption of punk spite and unbridled abrasions.  From its excellent opening first minute crust punk destruction, the track evolves through to a scarring soundscape of jarring rhythms and magnetic discord. It verges on painful but always is wholly absorbing, the sharp imagination and scowling vocals springing from the emotive suffering and intrusive sonic salt. The track never lets go of its psyche tearing grip, its presence igniting passions and suffering with equal but continually welcome accomplishment.

Last and First Things and Blood Music both continue the destructive intent of the release, the first emerging from a distressed ambience into a furnace of insatiable classic metal and stoner shards twisted into spears of irresistible might and grandeur. The song is as raw and malevolent as any other on the release but holds an imperial blues breath within its creativity. The second of the two like many tracks starts with restrained and open lures before shredding their more polite shackles to rampage and distress the senses. The song is a more thrash cored piece, a bruising encounter which takes its time to create the fullest of damage but is sure of its aim and target.

Lovelessness is an album which takes time to become the contagious companion it ultimately will with all stone/sludge/ doom fans, its uncompromising intensity and creativity as noxious as its lyrical theme. Ending with two more staggering and undeniably satisfying tracks in Clorapine Dream and Finally Asleep, both further sonic poisons to devour without reticence, the album is an impressive and appetizing consumption. Bison b.c. might not have given the album of the year but certainly have let loose one of the more aggravating pleasures to be assaulted by.

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

AntropomorphiA: Evangelivm Nekromantia

Evangelivm Nekromantia, the new album from Dutch death/occult metallers AntropomorphiA, is a release which does everything right and you can easily admire for its craft and imagination. It is an album which leaves one satisfied in its company but ultimately just does not inspire any lingering passion or captivation for its accomplished and inventive sounds. Despite that it is still a release one can return to time and time again with a willing and keen enthusiasm.

Formed in 1989 (originally formed under the name Dethroned Empire) with the likes of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Infernäl Mäjesty and Bathory heavily influencing their musical aims, AntropomorphiA spent their first years building up a strong fan base and respect through their live shows and the cult classic Necromantic Love Songs which appeared via  Swiss label Blackened Recordings. Through member departures the band was put on hold around the turn of the century, with original members vocalist/guitarist Ferry Damen, bassist  Marc van Stiphout, and drummer  Marco Stubbe getting back together from their individual projects in 2009. Last year saw the band recording Evangelivm Nekromantia as well as re-releasing Necromantic Love Songs through underground label The Crypt in a vinyl package which also combined their first demo Bowel Mutilation into its body.

The new album consists of nine tracks, divided into three chapters of each three songs, which are lyrically driven by ‘nekrophilae, murder, necromancy, and necrolesbian lust’. The band itself said about the release, “We’ve been working on this conception for almost a year. Dedicated to composing a new sort of disturbing death metal darkness which exceeds most of the one-dimensional releases that you hear most of these days!” A bold declaration which the album does not back up in originality or uniqueness and up against some of the impressive and inventive genre releases to be let loose the past year, their statement does flounder. All the same the Metal Blade Records released Evangelivm Nekromantia makes for an easily satisfying and robust slab of death and decay, with venom and malevolence certainly not short in supply.

After a lacklustre intro piece the first full track Nekrophilian Mass agitates and caresses the senses with a caustic breath and energy. It is a slowly consuming piece of malice complete with a precise infectious groove and a toxic sonic grazing upon the ear. The persistence caustic presence brings magnetism to the track though again it does not burst with startlingly compulsive life. That is soon amended with The Mourned and the Macabre, and it has to be said the further into the album one goes the stronger it becomes. This bestial onslaught twists and turns with enterprise and impressive skill, its ravenous intent to stir up synapses and festering shadows an easy consumption to engage with. From the intimidating drums and predatory snarling bass lines to the air splicing sonics and guitar malice the track is a formidable adversary. The vocals of Damen are as malevolent as the sounds but are at times as throughout the album, submerged within the oppressive weight of the intensity too fully leaving lyrical clarity a wish rather than a given.

Into its stride the album shows its strengths through songs like Debauchery in Putrefaction, Fleisch, and Impure Desecration to just pick three of what are all pleasing corruptions upon the ear. Though none manage to spark any blazing fires within neither do they leave without ensuring some degree of admiration and pleasure from their parasitic senses erosive qualities.

Evangelivm Nekromantia is a more than decent album which occasionally leaves one breathless as with the excellent Psuchagogia, a track which just chews up imagination and thought, sending them spiralling through a maelstrom of mordant and dehabilitating erosions. There are few flaws with the release and plenty to praise and be pleased by, sadly though it just does not hold or trigger any real sparks to make it something more impressive.

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

C.F.A. : Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God

A stormy mix of stoner, classic rock, and hardcore punk, Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God the debut album from US stirrers C.F.A. is a more than decent riot to bruise and treat the senses to. It is an album which at times feels like it is unleashing something quite unique and in other moments is treading a well worn yet persistently pleasing path. Overall though it is a formidable slab of sixteen feisty and ultimately satisfying tracks.

C.F.A. (Cody Foster Army) consists of three musicians who combined their talents in 2008, a trio with plenty of experience in their wake. Creating a sound which has been tagged as stoner-core, the threesome of bass guitarist/vocalist Cody Foster (A.K.F., Toxic Shock, Miserable Bastards, Stump, Ash Bib, Poppa Wheelie), lead and rhythm guitarist/vocalist David Takata (Raw Meat , Inbreed, Daisy Love, Bonzort, Swelter, Argonaut, Goldteeth), and drummer David “Reno” Marseillan (Tribe, Nadir, Holokron, Crash Landing, Buckwildz, Mico De Noche, have not looked back in gaining an enthused reaction and following to their combative and abrasive sound. 2009 saw the band record their first album with engineer/producer Tony Reed of Mos Generator and Stone Axe, with its  release coming now via Ripple Records and one imagines certain to draw strong acclaim and responses its way.

The album is a storm of crucial and irresistible riffs from guitar and bass, starting with the infectious Never Free. The track is a magnetic weave which scours the ear through slamming rhythms, scraping vocals, and the gnarly bass tones of Foster whilst offering a melodic swagger which simply oozes contentment. It is a lure not to be denied, an opening temptation which leaves one enthused for what is to come.

Though the following burly Third Side and the crawling Chorus do not make the same heights they both stir up the emotions enough to leave one more than satisfied. In some ways the album is one of two halves with its later presence bringing a more impressive and appetizing collection of confrontations for personal tastes. This is not to say the earlier songs are lacking as Never Free and especially the excellent Shake Your Ass show, the latter a track which feeds on adrenaline and mischief whilst thrusting fiery melodic guitar strikes and pulse racing rhythms through the ear with teasing wantonness before passing onto the flaming stoner punk jab fest Lost Wisdom. This is another song to light the imagination with eagerness without leaving one particularly drooling in lust.

Songs such as the Bob Marley cover Iron Lion Zion, Sons of the Soil, and Kick Rocks deliver an easily agreeable energy driven rampancy but it is with the entrance of Shut Up Your Face that things suddenly find another incendiary level to light the passions. The song is high octane punk rampage which opens with a ska tinged smile before exploding into an air sizzling furnace of riffs and attitude. The bass of Foster funds an even more venomous growl to the song whilst the guitar of Takata moves from delivering insatiable riffs to being a malicious weapon which sizes up its victim before unleashing scythes of sonic venom.

Next up Built Up Knocked Down is a deliciously twisted brew of stoner and garage punk to fire up the heart whilst Red Wine Ride is a contagious rub of salty melodics and barging riffs driven by the fiery vocals. Another cover in the form of Creedence Clear Water track Fortunate Son is a decent enough song but pales against its predecessors and the following final two songs Magic Salad and Inhabit, both outstanding examples of hardcore punk for the first and stoner/sludge antagonism for the latter.

They impressively complete in Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God an album which continually ticks all the right boxes even if it arguably does not hold the consistency to make it a classic.

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright