Solisia: UniverSeasons

Powerful with epic emotions, UniverSeasons the new album from Italian power metal/symphonic rock band Solisia is a striking and rousing experience. It is a release which wraps itself around the ear with a grandeur and presence to fully involve the listener in its dramatic heart and concept theme based upon the condition of the human race. Released via Scarlet Records, Solisia has created an album which whether it is rampaging with an intense and cryptic intent or washing the senses in heightened elegance just leaves one immerse in something quite special.

Formed in 2006, the Rome band has found strong and eager responses to their sound starting with their critically acclaimed mini CD The Film Of My Life, followed with equal responses by debut album Ordinary Fate. Now with a new vocalist in the impressive talent of Elie Syrelia adding an unmistakable beauty and strength to their sounds, the accomplished collection of musicians have returned with eleven tracks which are diverse yet connected, and all oozing quality and dynamic craft. Across its stirring length, UniverSeasons is a feast of arguably established ideas to make an instant connection and a fiery enterprise to set the band apart from most similarly driven genre bands. This makes for a record which at times offers recognisable friendship for the ear but with a distinct Solisia breath, and in other moments unleashes a muscular array of invention and genre crossing imagination to ensure predictability and lack of captivation is never an issue.

The title track first pulls us into the rich absorption of the album with rampant energy and a charged flurry of riffs and twisting sinewy guitar play, its technical licks an instant lure before Syrelia unveils her mesmeric charms. The song softens as her stylish voice elevates the warmth along with the keys and symphonic caresses, but all the time the rhythms have an intimidating and forceful presence to give it all a bite. Returning to the initial pulsating energy and electronic stomp the song is in control of the listener and quite irresistible, its skill in merging the intensity soaked charge with the graceful and lush melodic weave of orchestral atmospheres impressive to say the least.

One of the major highlights of the album follows next in the exhilarating shape of The Guns Fall Silent. The track is majestic from start to sizzling end, its initial thumping beats and scything riffs soon joining forces with mesmeric keys and a thunderous adrenaline swagger. Once the carnivalesque teasing of rising melodies joins the story only passion is ensured for the rip roaring piece of metal. The bass of Andrea Arcangeli is exceptional throughout but here snarls with a real intent to its mighty invention to add further depth and shadowed life to a magnificent track. Shifting through textures, moods, and sheer ingenuity, the song leaves the senses exhausted and in bliss, the web of challenging muscle and glorious sonic kisses wrapped in melodic sensation just immense.

UniverSeasons proceeds through song after delicious song to engage fully with the emotions and thoughts, the likes of the more straightforward Kiss The Sky where every note holds its own drama, the enigmatic and thrilling Mindkiller, and the riveting onslaught of Dirty Feeling, all smoking guns delivering adrenaline shots of addiction inciting excellence. The latter two stand as strong challengers for top song on the album, their inventive and unexpected ventures irresistibly compulsive. All tracks but especially here, are impossible to make assumptions upon, the direction a song starts with is invariably not the same as it approaches its final destination and even those which hold a relatively straight forward purpose offers numerous glorious asides to ensure a sonic scenic route to devour with greed.

Before the end Symbiosis adds another pinnacle, the song a bewitching slice of pop rock with a delicious chorus as vital as any sun and the celestial expressive air surrounding the unbridled melodic energy and pulse racing triggers, ensuring a combination which is invigorating and explosive.

Symphonic metal has arguably not had its strongest year though there have been some impressive releases but Solisia and UniverSeasons have ensured it has ended of a towering high. A must listen release without doubt.

RingMaster 12/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sivert Høyem: Where Is My Moon?

Where Is My Moon? is the new EP from Norwegian singer songwriter Sivert Høyem, a release which engages to provoke thoughtful responses through its shimmering emotive haze and skilled evocative presence. It is not a release which admittedly ignited any burning flames towards it but easily brought a glowing contentment whilst in its company and the sureness of future returns to enjoy its charms.

The former frontman to Madrugada has visited a brighter atmospheric light with the new release which follows the dark angst ridden and well received album Long Slow Distance of last year. The EP certainly holds some shadows in parts but equally has warmth which leaves the listener with a welcoming heat to bask within.

The title track stands out immediately, its slightly warped mesmeric elegance sending a sonic tingle to the senses as the melodic heat and expressive vocals of Høyem reveal the heart of the song. It is a magnetic ballad reminding a little of Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison soaked with the hazy emotive breath of the Dennis Hopper Choppers. The song coaxes and immerses the ear with heartfelt whispers which accentuate the tones of Høyem and the passionate and wholly enticing sounds. The lead song on the release, it is also the best, the track whose invitation is near on impossible to refuse.

Autumn In Arcadia is an equally magnetic affair, its sun slightly bolder and fuller than the opener but with a similar weave of delicious melodic honesty. Lyrically, as with all songs, the track is enchanting, a narrative to wrap yourself within and be inspired by. The smouldering kiss of the first track is replaced with a hot summer breeze whilst the song offers a Scott Walker/Charlie James like vocal texture within the evocative and thrilling guitar and rhythmic imagination to capture the imagination.

The release is completed by So-Lo and I Was Rolling Stone, the first a simple and slowly burning ballad and the second a sweltering blues croon of heart borne emotive vocals and air heating sounds. Neither find the heights of the first two songs for personal tastes but it is impossible not recognise to or dismiss the quality and passion bursting from both pieces of powerful balladry.

Where Is My Moon? is a fine release which lays down a dramatic and full experience to spend time with. Currently on a solo European Tour, Sivert Høyem is an artist on the verge of similarly great things further afield as achieved already within his homeland, the EP another enjoyable step.

RingMaster 12/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bad Powers: Self Titled

Some bands upon their introduction just make you sigh with pleasure as the flames to a permanent attachment are lit and such is the case with Bad Powers and their self-titled debut album. It is a glorious and deeply stimulating piece of creative invention, its imagination as stirring and impressive as the raging provocative sounds brewed from the distinctly unique musical minds of the band. Arguably the quality of the release is not a surprise given that three quarters of the band were in the acclaimed Made Out Of Babies which called it a day earlier in the year, but guitarist Brendan Tobin, bassist Eric Cooper, and drummer Matthew Egan, have returned with something quite different and greedily enthralling.

The Brooklyn band headed by the stunning vocals of Megan Tweed (also of The Family Curse), has unleashed a hybrid of post punk and noise rock blended into a steaming maelstrom of innovation and ingenious enterprise. It is not the easiest to describe such the unique invention at play, for example at times the album teases the ear like a dysfunctional offspring of The Creatures, with Tweed sounding like a emotionally beleaguered Siouxie Sioux, The Pixies, and Throwing Muses lined by the corrosive breath of Joy Division, and in other moments the senses are swamped with a ravenous erosion brought by a cacophonous smothering from a mix of The Raincoats, The Sugarcubes, Stinking Lizaveta, and Essential Logic veined by the chilled whispers of a Xmal Deutschland. For all those inciting comparisons though the songs are in a realm of their own, a staggering amalgam of ideas and their inventive realisation brought through craft and energy to leave one drooling within a full and eager passion.

Released through The End Records, the album sets to work on the heart with opener New Bruises, the song immediately turning the key to adoration with dramatic sonic slices across rapping beats and firm riffs whilst Tweed begins her magnetic squalls of immense vocal enchantment. Like the music she offers a warm sizzling caress which alternates with a scorched and tenacious bite, her passionate wind shifts from deliciously scarring thoughts and emotions to coaxing them with a heated elegance. Whichever the source guiding her delivery it is a continual irresistible temptation. The track pulls one into an enveloping sonic wantonness, guitars and bass manipulating the synapses with brewing melodic gasses which consume all resistance whilst the rhythms cage and ensnare with an inescapable captivation.

The following likes of the tempestuous Hit Sniffing Dog and the brilliant Eves And Eyes cast their own distinct spells, the first a mix of intimidating intensity and taunting hypnotic grooves like a blistered union of elements from Dead Kennedys and Belly and the second an expansive crawl of emotive majesty and sinister shadows which delves within the psyche like the darkened fallout from The Birthday Party meeting Breeder overlooked by Morningwood. With its dark strings the track is immense amongst nothing but titanic pieces of dare one say genius?

Throughout its ten stunning tracks the album just offers the richest of rewards from its stylish and brilliantly crafted magnificence. The erosion Black Alf with its rolling plundering rhythms of Egan and abrasive vehemence from Tweedy just sparks higher flames of desire for the staggering creativity, the bass of Cooper snarling with venom within the caustic guitar assault whilst Blueberry transports the ear into an outstanding storm of air pilfering sonic rubs and incessant incendiary grooves. It is not the fiercest of the songs on the album but burns with a melodic heat to leave one breathless and smarting from its precise intensity.

With further heightened pinnacles in Electricity Should Be Free with its Bond like teasing intricacies and evocative swagger, and the quite wonderful and astounding closing track Bread And Butter, the album is without doubt one of the real triumphs of the year. From beginning to end it just wraps the senses and heart in a textured wash of brilliance. From its moments of crunching encounters through to the enchanting yet barbed beauty it seduces with ease through, the release is a sensation and Bad Powers in one stroke has taken sonically gifted music to a new and titanic height.

RingMaster 12/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright