Cynical Existence: Ruined Portrait

It seems like mere weeks ago that one of the best harsh ebm/ industrial releases to tease and provoke the senses this year arrived in the shape of A Familiar Kind of Pain, the debut EP from Swedish band Cynical Existence. The solo project of Fredrik Croona (Project Rotten) easily enflamed the passions and set a new benchmark for electro imagination. Now he returns with follow up release the Ruined Portrait EP. It continues the impressive blend of old school EBM with abrasive industrial invention found on his first EP whilst offering a rawer even more intensive breath. The teaser for the highly anticipated full length album Come Out And Play scheduled for an early 2013 release, the EP like its predecessor leaves an invigorating and decisive pleasure in its wake.

As soon as Misery stretches out its mesmeric arms, melodic pulses splashing upon the ear, the sense that the song and release is set to leave an imprint on the heart is immediate, the sonic seduction full and strong from the off. The serpentine vocals of Croona wrap around the shafts of aural light with the man again unleashing personal emotions into his compositions. His delivery is not as venomous as many but soaked in unmistakable shadows which add extra depth to the power of tracks and temper the often dazzling sonic radiance. Though arguably not a major departure from the tracks on A Familiar Kind of Pain, it feels darker, carrying a more abusive or abused energy in what is a vibrant and compulsive presence.

If the opener is a darker proposition the following Am I Alive is a definite plunge into sinister shadows, the vocals bordering on insidious and the accompanying whispers intimidating. The track is magnetic, the lure of acidic melodies irresistible whilst the caustic tones of the song just ignite further contagious entrapments. The best track on Ruined Portrait; it is a taunting combative glory to immerse within and succumb to.

Next up My Shining Halo initially weaves predatory sonic hooks before the ear, their attractive beckoning a wanton mischief,  before rampaging with further heavy touches and salty rubs to form a raw surface to the insatiable melodic swagger of the song. Approaching midway the track goes into a ‘stall’, its eager pace shifting into a prowling sizing up of the prey before erupting swiftly back to the hunger and rampant onslaught which started the corruption. It is another sensational seizing of thoughts and emotions whilst simultaneously, along with its predecessors, inspiring an intense impatience for the forthcoming album.

Let’s Play Dead featuring Polish band Reactor7x, wraps blistering tendrils of sound around the ear whilst the alternating vocals expose extremes of shadows within the sonic softening up of the senses. It is less immediate than other tracks but equally as impactful in its individual way. The jabbing beats cage emotions as the song lays its erosive harmonic caresses and caustic malevolence upon their ethereal flesh, their power cutting off any escape from the almost disorientating experience.

The release is completed firstly by a reinterpreted version of Face Of God by Moscow based industrial project Freaky Mind, and then by two remixes of tracks from A Familiar Kind of Pain. What the difference is between a reinterpreted version and a remix we will have to find out, but the first of the trio is an excited swarm of energy and sonic manipulation, the sounds swamping yet igniting the vocals of Croona for a dance track which fires up good reactions. The other two tracks are remixes of the best and our favourite two songs on the debut EP, and as such were on a hiding for nothing.  Both Insecure (IMPLANTed fear mix) and Paradox (Filtered through MIND:STATE), remixed by Implant and Mind:state (fellow Swede Per Holmström) respectively, are impressive reworkings which open up new thoughts and visions within the tracks but both pale against the brilliance of the originals for us. As always we admit the valid purpose of remixes still generally eludes us, especially when the source is almost untouchable, but given some time to make their case both tracks certainly gave food for thought, especially the jazzy exploits of the first of the two.

Released via  Alfa Matrix with  impressive cover artwork from one of teh best emerging artists in OneTwoTree Designs,  Ruined Portrait is excellent, a release which not only cements Croona as one of the essential contributors to the landscape of industrial but ensures next year and the release of his album cannot come soon enough

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Soldierfield: Bury The Ones We Love EP

There has been quite a buzz about UK metallers Soldierfield these past months, so much so that the release of their debut EP was sure to be met with eager anticipation. The Bury The Ones We Love EP had a bit of a tall order to live up to if the raging whispers about the band were correct, but not only has the release met expectations it has shafted them with a magnificence and towering enterprise which quite simply leaves them bow legged. The EP is outstanding, a true classic debut which not only confirms all early acclaim but shows the band as having all the weaponry and ability to become one of the future UK greats.

From an opening track which made one only unleash an impressed response the release grows into one of the essential releases of the year, a five song rampage of compulsive imagination, highly skilled craft in songwriting and musicianship, and simply one of the most invigorating and exciting introductions in a long time, certainly in the UK. Soldierfield take the essences and textures of multiple sub genres of metal and rock to conjure tracks which play as long time best friends but in a guise which is new, fresh, and unpredictable.

Consisting of vocalist Leigh Oates (Order Of Voices, Rise To Addiction), guitarists Andy Trott and Steve Wray (Rise To Addiction, BLAZE), bassist Simon Priestland, and drummer Jeff Singer (Paradise Lost, Kill II This, China Beach, BLAZE), the band formed in late 2011. The beginning of this year saw a released demo track trigger strong and keen reactions in fans and the music industry alike. Entering the studio across May and June, the band recorded, with Steve Wray producing, Bury The Ones We Love which is released via Metalbox Recordings. What has emerged is an aural fire of melodic vision, barbed irresistible hooks, towering energy, and quite hypnotic imagination. As said it plays like a familiar heartfelt companion but is brought through expertly envisioned and inventively realised enterprise.

The EP opens with the title track, a song which in hindsight is almost ordinary compared to what follows, well ordinary in the respect it is a straightforward muscular delight which gets from A to B with a relatively undemanding intent and an uncomplicated direction. The fare for the journey is only one of enjoyment and enthusiasm which is given eagerly and unreservedly to the raging power and skilled craft on show. From the opening emotion building piano and militant rhythms the track expands into a pulsating and rippling bruise of a song which only leaves strong satisfaction and a sense of much more to be unveiled ahead.

Soldierfield do not disappoint as the following Feel Alive stomps into view, its opening twists of riffs and aggressive breath following on from the opener but already offering a senses squeezing groove to be wholly infected by. A track which ripples with essences of Five Finger Death Punch, Drowning Pool, and a whisper of Static X and Soundgarden, it is a passionate explosion of buffeting intensity and heart fuelled melodic elegance. Two extremes brought into a fluid and irresistible union which sparks every ounce of appreciation and adoration into life. Its anthemic call is as impossible to refuse as the towering sounds ensuring the exchange between listener and record is a long lasting and enthusiastically driven engagement.

Things only get more heated and impressive as third track Leave You In Dirt enters, its thundering and rampant assault on the senses barbaric and deliciously mesmeric, especially when the track shifts into a totally unexpected weave of orchestral beauty and classical piano caresses. It is an ‘interlude’ which as easily as it appeared is departed from, the motion a seamless and skilful build evolving back into the at times almost banshee like vehemence and bone rupturing power. With an undisguised Metallica lilt breaking out, though that band can only wish they could write a song like this right now, it is a stunning piece of rock, a declaration which can equally be applied to the emotive and in comparison mellow beauty of Sky Flower.  From vocals to the acoustic guitar kisses and the ever burning intensity which accompanies the sultry grandeur, the track is glorious and further evidence of how expansive the vision and craft of Soldierfield is.

The album closes on a final slab of magnificence in The Path, a track which treats melodic thrash to a new leash of inventive life whilst gnawing at the senses with swirling blistering sonics, bone splitting rhythms, and incessantly gnawing riffs. It like the whole EP, is just exceptional, one of a very few releases to truly ignite a swell of passion which leaves one sweating and glowing in adoration. Yes Bury The Ones We Love is that good, with the recommendation that right now you go and find out for yourselves the final word.

http://www.soldierfieldband.co.uk/

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kill Ritual: The Serpentine Ritual

One word speared thoughts as the debut album of US thrashers Kill Ritual unleashed its barrage of old school modern breathing sounds, exceptional. The Serpentine Ritual is outstanding, a release which just lights up the heart and captivates the senses as it chews on them with rabid glee. It is an adventurous album with no desires to break down new realms but just twists steadfast essences into something unique and thrilling to the band.

Kill Ritual formed in 2010 with Steve Rice and Wayne DeVecchi, ex-Imagika guitarist and drummer respectively, continuing the music they had began working on before the demise of their former band. Recruiting former Eldritch guitarist Roberto Proietti, former Dark Angel bassist Danyael Williams, and SF Bay Area vocalist Josh Gibson, the quintet began writing and working on their debut. The result a thrash driven sound with plenty of progressive and classic essences which combined makes The Serpentine Ritual released through Scarlet Records, one of the most enjoyable albums this year. It is a riotous beast of a record which recognises its target and unleashes slabs of essential and enterprising rock music to ensure capture. Imagine a fusion of Testament, Anthrax, Exodus, and Arcticflame and you get a measure of the hungry pleasure ready to explore upon the ear.

Produced by Steven Rice and Andy La Rocque, the album conquers appreciation immediately with the brilliant opening title track. The Serpentine Ritual is a song which stands there snarling and intimidating from its opening seconds, the scorched guitar spiral only reinforcing the muscular fire about to erupt. Once from its reins the track ravishes the senses with growling basslines, writhing and scything riffs, and a sonic whipping which just hits every sweet spot. The vocals of Gibson are instantly impressive and as track and album progress his stature just grows and grows. Beside his great delivery and range the predatory darker toned vocals add that extra shadow and devil to proceedings in the same way the heavy aggressive rhythms and bass stalk alongside the soaring guitar sonics and melodic invention. With a groove to seduce any resistance the song is a classic, arguably best thrash track this year.

The following Torn Down and Time TO Kill stand strong alongside the staggering starter, both in their distinct shapes, the first a classic bombardment of perfectly crafted venom and musicianship not to mention unbridled energy and the second a contagion of crippling rhythms and heart exploiting riffs. They are both songs which if they do not grab full allegiance suggests maybe thrash metal is not for you, such their irrepressible and irresistible classic presences.

Every song on the album is a boisterous and winning engagement, their towering aggression and intent an unstoppable infection of instinctive invention and domination brought through dazzling skills within energetic songwriting and sound, as ever though some tracks do rise above others for an individual though it is quite marginal to be honest. Tracks like Ambush and Cold Hard Floor alongside the opener ignite bigger fires of passion within compared to others. The first of the pair is a raw and bruising brute of a song where the band exposes extra malice and violence in their music, from the coarser delivery of Gibson to the merciless rhythms of DeVecchi and the destructive riffs. The latter song is a magnetic brew of classic rock n roll, a devil dance of majestic guitar play from Rice and Proietti completed by a brilliant guest solo from Andy La Rocque. Gibson again stretches his range to greater and skilled expanses, he is destined to greatness.

The thumping onslaught that is The Day The World Dies and the hardcore/classic metal tinged Prisoner Of The Flesh equally match those great heights with their combative breaths and antagonistic riff and rhythmic imagination. They again show the strength of variety from band and release as well as the extreme skills of each individual perfectly harnessed with clarity into an unrelenting stunning consumption.

The Serpentine Ritual is as mentioned at the start exceptional, a release drawing on established wells and through sonic alchemy producing music which is as fresh and refreshing as found anywhere in the genre and metal as a whole. The Kill Ritual has begun, in band and musical destiny.

http://www.killritual.com

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Family: Portrait

With more insatiable grooves and curves than Megan Fox, Portrait the debut album from Brooklyn metalers Family, is a rich and expansive onslaught of intense energies and climactic melodic pinnacles. As mesmeric as it is vindictive and as oppressively heavy as it is finely crafted, the album is a towering slab of impressive invention and unique adventure. It is at times brutal and in others hypnotically seductive but always a bruising and incendiary compulsion. Sucking the best essences of anything from heavy to progressive metal and doom/sludge to classic rock, Family twist it into their own crushing vehemence, an original corruption which corrupts the senses as deeply as it ignites their passion. It is a release which is felt as well as heard, thoughts and emotions dragged eagerly into the mix.

Portrait finds guitarist and primary songwriter Steven Gordon and bassist/vocalist Kurtis Lee Applegate alongside drummer Phil Sangiacomo and guitarist Owen Burley, though the last pair have since left to be replaced by Jody Smith and Josh Lozano respectively. It is an album themed by the story of a dysfunctional family that develops supernatural powers, a tale as intriguing as the ever caustic grooves and barbed hooks which litter the songs. Engineered and mixed by Justin Mantooth and mastered by Alan Douches, the release also sees a guest appearance from guitarist John Lamacchia (Candiria, JulieChristmas, Spylacopa, Crooked Man) on the track Daddy Wronglegs. It is an album which once it has its abrasive and sultry progressive claws in will not go away, either whilst in its company or after the engagement, with certainly the hypnotic melodic grooves and sharp irresistible hooks making numerous returns in thought and imagination.

The opening distant drum brews and guitar scrapes which announce the opener Bridge & Tunnel, fires up interest but it is when the track lets loose an undulating groove and accompanying bass growl directly in the ear that the capture is fully made. With slight stoner whispers and an increasing squeeze of sonically carved manipulations the track writhes and fingers the passions like a horny teenager, no sense of delicacy or restraint. The coarse scathing vocals only add to the senses stripping riffs and harmonic disruptions whilst leading to even deeper approval.

Daddy Wronglegs and Bopsky next leave their individual scarring, the first an ever shifting doom darkened hardcore rub which seeps through every pore with tar like intensity speared by crunching bites incendiary melodic rages, and the second a dramatic series of climatic builds and challenging sonic scenarios. Both songs intrigue and incite the imagination musically and lyrically, the developing heart of the story and its emotion as engrossing as the sumptuous weaves which the band intersperse within the flattening energy. It has to be said the likes of TV show Heroes and Misfits as well as numerous other superhero exploits were never this intrusively infectious, then they never had the shadows and startling corrosive breath which Portrait envelops with.

Arguably the album gets better as it progresses, the likes of the perpetually shifting Illegal Women, the alternately ferocious and deliciously captivating Delphonika, and the magnetic guitar lure that is The Wonder Years, just triggering further realms of invention and its lustful acceptance. Portrait is an album which words do not quite do justice to. The masterful structure of sound and composition as well as the balance between primal violence and the revolving unpredictable flow of multi faceted imagination and sounds just immense. At times the songs have a feel of improvisation, or rather the track just evolves instinctively making moments where classic guitar solos merge into harsh noise conjurations or stoner/southern aural croons stand side by side with erosive and rabid malevolence, so exhilarating.

Completed by the again excellent tracks Othermother and Exploding Baby, the album is a colossal confrontation which only rewards in deep pleasure and satisfaction. If the likes of Led Zeppelin, Unsane, Mastodon, Down, Black Tusk, and even Converge do it for you, then Family has plenty for you in Portrait.

www.familyslays.com

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

The Afterimage: Formless EP

Having left the Canadian metal scene breathless with their arrival earlier this year, Ontario quintet The Afterimage is set to do the same in the UK and Europe with the release of their debut EP Formless. It is a monster of an introduction; four tracks which as well as making an impressive initial engagement paves the way for a high anticipation towards their debut album next year.

Formed in the final weeks of 2011, The Afterimage consists of vocalist Kyle Anderson, guitarist Alex Lappano, bassist Dallas Bricker, drummer Nick McCaslin, and second guitarist Mike Ticar who joined the Barrie band after the EP was recorded. The band creates a sound which is best described as progressive/post hardcore but with plenty of djent/technical persuasion and imaginative endeavours. There is a similarity to the likes of Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, and The Faceless but also a fresh and unpredictable invention which you could say seeds from the likes of The Mars Volta or Between The Buried And Me, all you really need to know is it will leave you gasping for air as it did our Canadian brothers and sisters.

Released via Ghost Music, the EP opens with the instrumental Prologue, a piece of shimmering crystalline waters heated by melodic scorching from the guitars and rhythmic shadows. It loudly whispers at what is to follow without giving to much away but immediately one can hear and feel the intent of the band whilst basking in the warm undertow of the track.

The new single from the release Reverie, follows taking its prompt from the first piece and expanding it into an imagination capturing confrontation. Initially it is an accomplished and straightforward engagement, the guitars teasing notes and melodies, rhythms stamping their authority, and the grizzled growls of Anderson wrapping each syllable in a heavy intent. Soon though everything explodes, sonics going haywire as the guitars manipulate notes with a maniacal mastery whilst still holding the form and intensity of the track. Moments border on jazz, improv, and chaos and it is glorious, the control of the band in keeping everything tight yet loose astounding; synapses might be sizzling at this point and losing composure but no such doubts with the song.

The thunderous Shallows exploits any still uncompromised emotions and feelings next, its corruptive oppressive weight showing the band can violate as easily as they ignite the passions, though they are doing both with the track. Well into its assault, the track showers the ear with spotlights of melodic elegance and infectious kisses though it is still bearing down hard on the senses and devouring their resistance. Leering grooves and disorientating spears of sonic mastery are unafraid to add their ingenious presences to the glorious onslaught of corrosive ideas and sounds, leaving one bruised and delirious in their wake, if also slightly dazed.

The release closes with The Void, another continually evolving soundscape of creative irreverence and brilliance fuelled by sonic violations and melodic interventions all twisted and mutated into something solely belonging to the band. The track almost breaks into an electro breath recalling someone like The Browning but nothing stays still with The Afterimage and the furnace of inventive flames just continues burning brightly and shifting destructively.

All the tracks on the release lay individual atmospheres and escapades which ride like the best roller coaster, the senses unbalanced within gravity but returned to their initial state by the end; just they are now wasted and blissful. There are many great new debuts around right now, all worthy of being discovered but Formless will bring the biggest reward and addiction.

https://www.facebook.com/TheAfterimage705

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright