Frosthelm: The Northwinds Rend Flesh EP


     Accosting the ear with a malicious caustic wash of thrash and black metal, the self-released EP The Northwinds Rend Flesh from US band Frosthelm is a savage and pleasing confrontation which rewards as fully as it punishes. It is a merciless abrasion, a release which scars and soaks the senses in filth coated nastiness whilst leaving them eager to feel and hear much more from the band.

The quartet from North Dakota formed in 2009 and soon had their local area subservient to their  blackened viciousness. An acclaimed early demo marked the band as one to watch for a great many and with the release of their first EP and an appearance on a CD sampler from Terrorizer Magazine with a track from the release, now might be the time Frosthelm rampage to wider recognition, The Northwinds Rend Flesh certainly deserves the attention.

As the title track emerges from a harsh atmospheric wind with a simple play of guitar it is hard to imagine what is to come for the_northwinds_cover_small_by_xaaynewcomers to the band. Even as it widens its arms the song is a sonic blistering which is reserved and melodically tight within heavy riffs. Taking a breath the track then unleashes a torrent of insidious vocals from Tyler, his serpentine delivery a tongue lashing for ear and thoughts, whilst riffs and rhythms fill the towering skies with thunderous energy and destructive intensity. Now in full rampant flight musically, the release offers essences of the likes of Dissection and Goatwhore as well as spicery from others such as Amon Amarth and Testament, though references to early Metallica and Skeletonwitch has been also deservedly been placed upon the band and record. The guitars of Dakota twist and scythe through the ear with skilled enterprise whilst the rhythmic malice of bassist Jim and drummer Ji hold no respite within their crushing presences. It is a great start and an immediate statement of intent for release and band in the future.

Goblindriver rushes through the ear next with rampant intensity and tsunami like rhythms. It is an avalanche of festering spite and sonic teasing which evolves throughout whilst refusing to show any mercy from its heavyweight corruptive annihilation. Arguably more involved than the first track but less immediate, the song crawls and squalls over the senses softening them up for the following Reaping the Seeds of Corruption perfectly.  Its tempest of sound and energy spews riffs and rhythms like a vindictive tornado, intent on searing flesh with sonic incisiveness whilst bruising everything else with barbarous intensity. The best track on the release it is a sprawling venomous treat which sucks in and spits out the listener with accomplished might and erosive effect.

With final track Damage Over Time offering a further punishing violent engagement which leaves only lingering satisfaction in its wake, The Northwinds Rend Flesh EP is a striking introduction to Frosthelm. It offers thoughts and promise of greater things ahead from the foursome whilst in the now leaving a very satisfied victim with its cancerous and appetizing presence; certainly a release and band to make a note of.

RingMaster 02/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Road To Manilla: Distance EP


Full of melodic fire and brimstone thrust forth upon a torrent of vicious intensity, Distance the new EP from Danish band Road To Manilla is an impressive release which grabs the attention and inspires great promise for the band ahead. On the surface it seemingly stands alongside many other bands in sound but given time and focus emerges as a beast with distinct flashes of originality and pressing adventure.

Formed in 2007, Road To Manila started out as a deathcore band with a sound which brought them strong recognition but with a venture into and experiment with a diverse melodic breath and more experimental stance, their music has evolved into a melodic hardcore/progressive encounter which given time will draw as much or more acclaim as it moves forward. The quintet from Fredericia is an accomplished unit which has shared stages with bands such as Hatesphere, As We Fight, A Traitor Like Judas, Scarred by Beauty, Inside Process By the Patient, and 100 Knives Inside over the years, but for a wider recognition the release of Distance just might be the successful trigger.

The release opens with Faults, a track which takes mere seconds to unleash its fury and neatly textured sounds. The first notable thing621280532-1 is the great gnarly bass of Jeppe Frausing, an aspect to the release which continually impresses and adds a delicious menace to proceedings. The vocals of Nicolai Lindegaard blast and graze the senses with expressive might and explosive fire, and though across the six songs making up the EP his delivery lacks enough diversity to match the songwriting it is a formidable and pleasing assault overall. The first wind of the track is good without lighting any flames but as individual presences like the bass and the flourishes of sonic enterprise from guitarists Allan Kristiansen and Jonas Frausing weave amongst the soon sonically singed synapses, the track becomes compulsive and harshly engaging. The midway breakdown with the drums of Niclas Facius stamping further authority over track and ear, the song finds another elevation to make for a great beginning.

A sonic scything opens up Distant next before making way for a tumultuous onslaught of destructive rhythms, snarling basslines, and weaves of melodic heat. Without rising to the heights of the opener the song still sparks an enthused appetite for the sound of the band and its ravenous hunger. The following Lifted takes longer to persuade of its strengths but does step forward eventually as one of the more destructive and adventurous tracks on the release. It is a deeply bruising experience with shifting confrontations in energy and gait driven by a furnace of passion and sonic malevolence. It is one of the less easy listens on the EP but one of the most rewarding…eventually.

The likes of Home and Sleep bring another flush of variety to Distance within what is arguably a formula covering sound for the band. The first is a twisting and lashing rain of fiery melodics and corrosive energy which captivates as powerfully as it bludgeons the ear, the group shouts and ever taunting creativity inspiring and leading the track to become the favourite on the release. The second is an instrumental with a short sample to beckon it in which is just there. Musicianship is as ever skilled and thoughtful but amongst the towering might of the other songs lacks a spark to make it anything more than an interlude or filler. Turned into a brief intro to a release it certainly would find a welcome place one can imagine.

    1984 completes the release and leaves one rich in thought of how impressive this band could become. An even more intimidating bass snarl pervades a punk thrusting rage of sound and spite which rampages throughout whilst dipping into well-crafted brief asides and intensity lulls. It is a great end to a fine release and leaves that sense of greater things to come from Road To Manilla to the fore.

Released as a name your own price purchase, Distance is a definite investigation all melodic hardcore and melodic extreme metal fans will find plenty to appreciate in. A masterful record from a band which seems destined to bring great things to the genre in the future.

RingMaster 02/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mystery Blue: Conquer The World


Classic metal has never found an easy welcome with personal tastes here but if it consistently sounded as irresistibly fun as the new album from French power metallers Mystery Blue does the genre would have received open arms far more often. Conquer The World, the new and seventh album from the Strasbourg quartet, is quite delicious. It cannot be claimed it is transforming the heart of classic metal/rock or even directing the genre to new avenues nor offering anything particularly new, but it does leave a deepest of satisfaction and pleasure seldom found in the majority of similarly soaked releases anywhere. It is just a great energising enjoyment which has the heart racing and fist pumping, simply rock n roll at its stirring invigorating best.

Mystery Blue was founded in 1982 by guitarist Frenzy Philippon and found a strong recognition within the hard rock/metal sound of the time. Their self-titled debut album of 1984 and its successor Circle Of Shame two years later found good success and acclaim as did gigs alongside the likes of Motörhead, Def Leppard, Saxon, Vengeance, H-Bomb, and Satan Jokers, but it was followed by the splitting of the band. 1996 saw Philippon resurrect the band with vocalist Nathalie Geyer, bassist Dany Ohlmann, and drummer Vince Koehler completing the new line-up. The album Spirit Of Your Song came out to a good response, with the successive releases Metal Slaves, Claws Of Steel, and Hell & Fury marking the band with ever increasing acclaim and recognition. A couple of bassist changes led to Matt Gabnai joining the band in 2011 and the foursome entering the studio to record Conquer The World with Uwe Lulis (ex-Grave Digger, Rebellion). Since returning Mystery Blue has gone on to share stages with bands like Paragon, Rebellion, Wolf, Adx, No Return and more as well as impressively gracing many festivals, and alongside their albums especially the new one released  via Road Show Productions, has found a place to the fore of current classic/power metal.

The title track bursts into life after an initial barrage of inciting drums which then fades away making one wonder why and their mystery_blue_conquer_the_world_highpurpose though all is forgotten as soon as the song itself emerges powerfully from the rhythmic mists. It opens with a charged and heavy grind of riffs and the enthralling vocals of Geyer. She has a classic delivery which sweeps over the ear like a mix of Doro and Toyah, and once a handle is found with it is a great aspect amongst so many on the album. The song itself is a ‘traditional’ sounding track which does everything right without pushing its limits for an easily accessible and pleasing start to the album.

Things leap another level with the following Innocent Crime and Running With The Pack. The first song matches the opener in energy and irresistible washes of catchy hooks and enthusiastically driven riffs whilst bringing a more complex structure to the songwriting. It ebbs and flows seamlessly whilst all the time creating a pulse racing energy to envelope and reward the listener whilst the second is a different chunkier and sinewy encounter. The bass growls with deeper resonance whilst the rhythms slap harder with more malice behind the enterprising guitar play. With additional vocals from Andreas Babuschkin of Paragon finding a great unity with those of Geyer, the song is a thrilling and contagious instigator to heart, voice, and limb, and one of the biggest highlights.

It is closely matched by the likes of the excellent Evil Spell where Geyer at times wonderfully wrings notes from her throat alongside her great melodic castings, the thrashy Cruel Obsession with its crushing almost psychotic breath, and Road Of Despair. The last song is a thunderous runaway colossus of bloodletting riffs and bone cracking rhythms cored with a ravenous bass conjuration and infectious vocal squalls. It is a magnificent track stealing top honours amongst many impressive rivals.

The album does lose its grip a little with Ticket To Hell and the power ballad Keep On Dreaming due to personal preferences in regard to their classic metal intent, but even then it is still hard to pull away from their company. Conquer The World is an outstanding album which thrills and raises the heart rate from start to finish with mischievous imagination and irrepressible passion. It is a must check out for not only classic rock and metal fans but for all those with an ear for crusading unbridled fun.

RingMaster 02/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright