North Paw: Trepidation EP

North Paw Promo Shot

A year ago North Paw emerged from the ashes of Forever Wednesday to introduce themselves with their impressive self-titled EP. Now they return with its successor Trepidation to show that the early acclaimed thoughts about the band were maybe short changing them. The new EP sees the Alton, UK band with a maturer incisive sound and an accomplished craft which sets them apart from most others.

The Hampshire quintet of vocalist Charlie Grout-Smith, guitarist/vocalist Spencer Huet, guitarist Josh Irvine, bassist Jack Robinson, and drummer Andy Allen since their debut has been heavily gigging including a tour with Violet, in support of their debut, and all to strong responses. The EP itself though with a limited release also sparked a marked increase in their ever growing fan-base to match the enthused reviews and acclaim it received. Taking influences from the likes of Glassjaw, Thrice, Norma Jean and The Bled, the band has found another level of quality to their song writing and sound to make their imaginative new record a real breath of fresh air within UK post-hardcore.

As with its predecessor, Trepidation is a burning fire of expression and explosive sound, a stirring merger of unbridled aggression North Paw Cover Artworkand melodic flames which is as compulsive as it is welcomingly intrusive. Evolving from that first release though the new EP has discovered an even more defined breath and imagination to its passion and invention. The first EP was not lacking in that department but this five track beast has an unpredictability and depth of skilled ideas which seamlessly inspire and invigorate the core of the already established sound. It is not given to you on a plate though, each song making demands on the welcoming senses with the extra ingenuity veining each track the richest of rewards.

Extinction is the first to place its fiery hands upon the ear, an opening abrasion of shadowed guitar sonics, scarring vocals, and punchy rhythms wakening the senses before the track steps wholly into view with an energy which makes you step back. Into its stride the band combines great clean vocals from Huet  accompanied by Grout-Smithwith those already secured coarse squalls of verbal passion. It is a strong and well-crafted mix which reflects and spears the similarly structured sounds. The bass of Robinson is a wonderful gnarly presence throughout whilst the guitars manipulate and wring their notes of every ounce of heart and skilled invention they hold.

It is a heady start equalled by the following Face Needs and Habitus. The first is as intense and dramatic as the opener, a song which ravages the ear whilst caresses the gaping wounds with warm heartfelt harmonies and sizzling melodies. Everything about the band is impressive within each song but the vocals certainly stand out, especially the clean delivery, and are something other bands could learn from in combining extremes without depleting their strengths against each other. The later presence of Face Needs is a delicious wrap of alternative rock and a hardcore like spicery which has one flinching and drooling. The second of the two is a fury of punk and hardcore fired intensity with rampaging damaging riffs, towering rhythms, and a deep grazing of harsh vocals which reminds of US band Red Tape. It is a sonic scourge and one irresistible violation which still finds room to seduce with fine melodic invention.

Oil, Gratulerar continues in a vein very close to Habitus which at first was a disappointing beginning though the song soon slaps that emotion into touch when it unveils a terrific charge of barbed rhythms, scarring riffs and a wealth of infectious harmonies. It is the addition of the doleful keys though that sees the track takes a further elevation in the passions, its unexpected entrance adding emotive depths and a sense of resigned peace to the surrounding tempest.

Closing with the sensational Artificial Respiration, another track where violence and gentle caresses find a mutual home to declare their passion and immense enterprise, Trepidation is an outstanding release which just improves with each and every listen. A year ago we declared Northpaw as a band on a rise and to take close attention of, the new release only goes to prove us right and more.

RingMaster 28/01/2013

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Moghul: Dead Empires

Moghul 01

    Dead Empires, the new EP from UK metallers Moghul, reveals what it would be like to be enclosed within through the iron jaws of a leviathan, sucked down its oppressive throat, and digested within a cavernous expanse of depths with a tar thick consumption of unrelenting energy and sonic acid. It is a monster of a release, not only in weight and length but in emotive resonance and exhausting intensity.

The quartet from Birmingham since forming last year, has built a sizeable name for themselves through their live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of as Conan, Black Magician, Slab and Alunah. Their demo track Blood & Ceremony of last August also marked the band as ones to watch soon followed by the digital release of Dead Empires. Now with additional availability on a limited edition vinyl edition through Devizes Record, the EP is getting another deserved push. Consisting of just two massive tracks, the release easily explains why the quartet of vocalists/guitarists James Neuenhaus and Joseph Barber, bassist Adam Wiseman, and vocalist/drummer Tom Woods, are becoming the talk of UK rock, their fusing of doom, sludge, stoner, and classic heavy rock an epic and very persuasive mixture. Each song on the EP is a journey, an overwhelming testing sonic odyssey but one offering nothing less than the richest rewards.

First track Dead Empires is immediately gnawing slowly on the ear, its lumbering breath and ravenous heart from the first second MOGHUL Coverunleashing ten minutes of unrelenting consumption, an erosive wrap of intensive doom and somber melodic sonics. It is a bleak and sapping trudge from start to finish but equipped with a seductive swagger and slow infectious persistent groove. With leaden riffs from the prowling bass and equally intensive riffs from the guitars, the song breathes and bleeds morose dark fervency whilst the beats and rhythms just bruise until submission is inevitable but continuing with the same menace thereafter to confirm capitulation. Such its might it is impossible not to be willingly overwhelmed by the viscid tempest of sound and invention and revel in its gruelling and inspiring sludge tsunami.

The thirteen minute second track Hidden Hand, whilst remaining an intensive and melancholic wrap delves into a lighter sonic endeavour bringing a psychedelic shimmering to its caustic melodic grandeur. Do not be mistaken, the song is still a juggernaut of challenging laboured riffs and demanding rhythms but with a different acidic compulsion to its deeply expressive sullenness. Like the first, the atmosphere of the song is as contagious as the senses fretting sounds but together they explore a different diversity of shadows and emotional darkness. The bass again stands out as the prime predator but every aspect of the track is as intimidating and challenging as they are sonically seductive and irresistible.

Dead Empires is an impressive introduction to the power and imaginative craft of Moghul and the declaration of one of the best infiltrators and manipulators of the senses in quite a while. Watch out for the name and sounds of this emerging talent.

RingMaster 28/01/2013

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Degeneración Debraye: Body & Simphony


The unleashing of important talent through US underground label Engraved Ritual shows no sign of letting up as they start the year with the sizzling debut single from Mexican band Degeneración Debraye. A taster of its forth coming album El Mundo Y Sus Demonios, scheduled for an April release, the track is an irresistible slice of viral dancefloor infection with a provocative and incisive breath. It burns the senses with a delicious sonic wash whilst caressing the smouldering wounds with a melodic kiss which pulsates with an enveloping passion.

The Orizaba, Veracruz project is the solo work of Ygrod Droid, an artist who already is causing great stirrings in the industrial/electro underground. Written, produced, and recorded over the latter half of 2012 by the man, with mastering from Stahlblack Productions in The Netherlands in the dying weeks, Body & Simphony is an immediate introduction to an inspiring creativity, a track which skilfully ignites all the enthused energies of dance sounds whilst evoking and inviting a strong response to the darker inciting lyrics.

The track opens with an epic sounding swell of orchestral infused drama, strokes of synth strings swiping the senses as the thumping3375752036-1 beats and alarmed surges join the engagement. Soon an electro swagger breaks out with melodies laying a wanton dance over the insurgent heart of the track. The clean vocals of Ygrod Droid as he frees the striking lyrical intent, add shadowed warmth which eventually evolves into a blistering vocal squall, its serpentine menace a brewing storm within the world and the darkest corners of the track. As the song spreads further within thoughts and body it offers infectious melodic symphonies which hold a familiarity, a comfort in the bordering bruising confrontation. The passage of the song is a canvas of impossible to refuse sonic suggestions and melodic teasing which sparks a firm and lingering enlistment to its cause.

Like a mix of Gods Destruction and Celldweller, the single enthrals and intimidates with skilled seduction and persuasive imminence to produce a thrilling and invigorating companion. If this is the flavour of the full meal to come with the debut album from Degeneración Debraye, let us skip the next couple of months right now.

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RingMaster 28/01/2013


Vorum: Poisoned Void


   Released via Dark Descent Records and Woodcut Records, Poisoned Void is the long awaited debut full length album from Finnish death metallers Vorum. In 2009 the quartet unleashed what has been called as one of the best underground death metal of recent times with Grim Death Awaits, so anticipation for this first album was keen to say the least for a great many and it is hard to imagine they will be disappointed with its merciless intent.

Formed in 2006, Vorum has earned a notable place within Finnish death metal and the genre as a whole mainly through that first EP and also a split release with Vasaeleth entitled Profane Limbs of Ruinous Death in 2010. Whether Poisoned Void has built on or actually managed to equal that first triumph is debatable but the new album certainly is a striking and ravenous confrontation which does the reputation of the band no harm at all and will surely lead to a wider recognition. It is a dangerously aggressive and unrelenting violation which uses existing tools of the band and genre in an accomplished and pleasingly violent way. From first track to last the album is a dynamic and thunderous brute of a release which swamps the senses with dense hungry intensity and destructive riffs whilst offering an enterprise which grabs the attention. The album misses out on igniting a real fire for its impassioned insidious consumption but still leaves one satisfied and willing to be violated often again.

Impetuous Fires opens up the carnage with exhausting rhythms and debilitating riffs all presented with a merciless pace and Vorum_Cover_Netenergy. Vocalist Jonatan Johansson spills venom with every rasping syllable whilst his and Matti Jalava’s guitars grind and sear flesh away from the ear with nasty irresistible riffs and sonic grooves. The rhythmic onslaught from drummer Mikko Josefsson is numbing whilst bassist John Finne bruises with every predatory note; it is an impressive start to the release which leaves no one wondering why the band has earned the acclaim they have.

The following Death’s Stains and Rabid Blood continue the impressive work, the first with an initial grooved sonic twisting which evolves into a storm of exhausting massive riffs and an intensity which smothers with thick relish whilst the second gnaws and chews on the senses with a malevolence which gives the devil himself a bad name. Though both are distinctly different they have the same effect of bringing their recipients to their knees and begging for more whilst whimpering under the barbaric annihilation. Arguably especially in the second, the glorious melodic twists of sonic flames do not feel at ease within the tempest and the tracks are more secure and insatiable when left to devour the listener. It is a minor niggle but one which does leave the album wanting against its predecessor.

Thriving Darkness is a stalking piece of persistent malice with a delicious groove to match, its presence an intimidating disease eroding away the senses and igniting a replacing consuming rapture. Like the album the track is a real slow burner which emerges as certainly favourite track if not the best on the release. It passes its evil baton onto the sonic demon Evil Seed, a song which burns and disfigures synapses like a sonic acid. It is pure sin, an injurious wash of malicious invention and intent. Like its predecessor the track takes time to make its carnal persuasion but succeeds with relative ease, though again the heated melodic spears of craft do not necessarily settle as easily upon thoughts as they would wish.

In Obscurity Revealed and Dance of Heresy offer further pleasing crippling ravishment whilst the closing title track is a final deep scarring to leave one blissful yet sore. From vocals to the heart driven sounds, track and album are certainly impressive if falling short of the very high standards Vorum had already put in place. It is with ease  though a cut above a great many of the other emerging underground death metal releases to appear over the past twelve months or so, and a must investigate for genre fans and those of the likes of Autopsy, Asphyx, Incantation and Convulse.

RingMaster 26/01/2013

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An artful splendour: Interview with Dani of Crimson Blue

Dani - Crimson Blue

Russian nu art metallers Crimson Blue is a band with a distinct and individual sound and one who released one of the more impressive and enthralling albums of last year in the splendid Innocence. Fusing nu-metal grooves with irresistible essences of symphonic metal and the unique character of art rock, the album was a thrilling and captivating engagement with a passionate imagination and invention. We had the pleasure of finding more out about a band, whose album was our first introduction to them, and their innovative sound and release by talking with vocalist and keyboard player Dominica “Dani” Hellstrom.

Hi, welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Firstly tell us about the members of Crimson Blue and how the band begun.

Hello everyone!

Well, let me introduce the band.

Dani — keys, vox, music, lyrics. Has been the part of Crimson Blue since the very beginning.

Alex — bass guitar and great stage presence.

Iggy — guitars, effects. Another veteran of the band operates an 8-string monster.

Jenn — drums and cool sympho arrangements.

Tim — guitars. Joined us recently

Back in 2009, we started as a progressive band and spent a lot of time looking for musicians with the same likes, King Crimson, Genesis,Crimson Blue Yes, etc. We tried to compose some complicated polyrhythmical pieces of music, and the result sounded like really bored Tool. Time passed, we learned to like groove metal riffing and symphonic beauty — and our music changed. We went through a period of djent idolizing Meshuggah then came some nu metal madness, and our guitars sounded like the ones of Korn — and so on. Now we’ve finally came to what may be named «the original Crimson Blue style», and I hope our second album will at last sound like true Nu Art Metal.

Are the inspirations which brought the band to life still as strong and active now or have they evolved into a different intent?

In some way, yes. They remain somewhere deep inside, and sometimes we have to fight them not to make our new song too «prog» or too «nu».

Looking more in depth at your introduction, your music is described as Nu Art Metal, can you elaborate on the term for us and how would you say your music has evolved since its beginnings to the release of your debut album Innocence?

It’s quite easy to explain. Imagine classical art rock harmonies, the soundscapes, ambient, but living atmosphere — and mix it with nu metal grooves and noises.

Actually, that was the main change in our music since the very beginning of the band — the hardest thing was to learn not to write 7-minutes epics one after another. We’ve learned to express ourselves more laconically, but still not primitive

The line-up in the early days of the band was quite unstable, is that fair to say?

It’s fair to say that our line-up is a bit puzzle. The three more-or-less permanent members of the band are me, Iggy and Alex. We’ve changed few drummers and more than few guitarists. The trouble is the working process in Crimson Blue has always been a challenge. You have to devote quite a considerable part of your life to make progress. Concerts, rehearsals, shootings, recording sessions, all the things…you learn to do all the things — or you’ll be left behind, that’s what we’ve learned.

Was this situation something which you would say held the band back or simply shaped its focus?

I think our course became more clear and distinct, despite all the difficulties that we’ve faced. We’ve learned a lot of things about the bands life here, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and now we’re ready to go on rocking whatever happens!

1608197713-1Was this the period of your demo Iceland? Tell us about the release and what it brought and you learned which helped with Innocence?

The demo period was the first time we faced the studio! We’ve recorded a few tracks, but the mixing process stopped, we couldn’t find a sound engineer to do the work. So the release had to be delayed. Then I came up with some electronic tracks that we also wanted to share with our audience. Still nothing happened; we kept making songs and doing nothing to introduce them. Then one day we said — ok, that’s enough, let’s finally do this!

The main thing that we’ve learned was like that — everything, absolutely everything including cover art, promo, etc. — must be done in time. It helped us to present «Innocence» very much.

When did the musicians who now make up Crimson Blue come together and did this ‘new blood’ and stability naturally give an energy and new direction to the band and Innocence?

The current line up gathered in summer 2012, when Jenn joined us. He brought some beautiful orchestral soundscapes along! We started using phonograms on our gigs; our sound became more fresh and aesthetic.

Tim came to us this autumn; he’s got a charming smile and plays terrific noises!

Tell us about the inspiration to the songs and also the recording experience for Innocence.

The inspiration is everywhere. Partly in music that we listen to, partly in some experience we get from life and each other.

The recording was like a factory work! We’ve been spending twenty-four hours a day in studio for a month. I’ve recorded incredible amounts of vocals. The guitarist had to work in shifts. The keyboard parts were recorded in the last two days in almost surreal atmosphere of forthcoming finale.

How do songs come to life within the band, what is the writing process generally?

Usually our songs start with melodies. I think of one, then harmonize it, then think of its name. Then it is being taken to our rehearsing studio where we work on the arrangement

The music within Innocence is a varied creature. What and who have been the major influences for you as musicians and band?

Let me remember… Well, some of the names are Tool, Yes, Korn, Pain Of Salvation, Meshuggah

Our favourite track on the album is L.M.A.; a song we felt was a raptorial encounter which brought essences of Korn, Animal Alpha, and The Faceless into a new invention. Tell us more about the song and its seeds.

Well, L.M.A. is an example of how the music you’re listening to may generate a new track. It started with the chorus, and firstly there’s been a Russian version, translated just about «me, I’m rising from ashes, I’m rising from ashes». It was a period when female-fronted alternative in Russian was very popular, and we were really sick of it! So the song came as a protest. Then we thought, why not make it in English? And so we did. L.M.A. is one of the few songs born during the rehearsal.

Many bands with a renowned strength in their live performances, which you have, fail to translate that to their recordings. Do you feelCrimson Blue you have managed that or see them as different faces to the band which need a different approach?

To be a cool band you need to perform cool and sound equally cool in the studio, I think. We are not scared of the album work and we’re going to do or best in gaining impressive and rich records.

You recently linked up with GlobMetal Promotions/management, how has that impacted on the band to date?

We’ve received a lot of reviews for «Innocence»; the promoter also helps us much with some gig arranges. This is our first experience in such kind of cooperation, and we like it. We hope GlobMetal will help us get our music all around the globe.

How is the metal scene in Russia right now in context to European metal which seems on a real high?

There are a lot of great metal bands here, although it’s really hard to get to the audience. The thing is the tradition of going to clubs for a live show is not quite Russian. So you have to think of something really dramatic to get your fans out of their flats!

What are your hopes and plans for Crimson Blue in 2013?

We’re going to release our 2nd studio album somewhere in the Autumn, make a few videos, maybe some electronic internet-singles. We hope to go on tour at last, we’ve been dreaming of travelling with our music since the very beginning of the band!

And of course we will keep on playing live and making our shows more and more impressive. It’s the best thing that you get from music — the response from your audience.

A big thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Any last thoughts you would like to leave us and the readers?

Thank you for the interview!

And to all of you readers — get art, stay metal, take care!

Lastly tell us where you dream of playing one day and the bands which would make it the perfect gig line-up.

One day you’ll see us performing at Wembley, joined by Meshuggah, Nightwish and Korn. That will be a good day!

The RingMaster Review 25/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cambion: Virus


    If like us you thought Cambion was the business with their Last Rites EP of 2011, then be prepared to be a whimpering fully bloated with pleasure wreck as their new EP Virus wreaks its havoc on the senses. The UK metallers have left the previous triumph looking almost pale against the new onslaught of technical and progressive metal found on the EP. The Devon quartet has not ventured far from their already established sound on Virus but honed it into an even more lethal and expressive beast which gnaws, chews, and teases the senses for a simply sensational confrontation.

Formed in 2009, the band pulls its influences from the likes of Meshuggah, Fear Factory, and Divine Heresy but has distilled them into their own aggressive and inventive tonic. It is aggressive and corrosive but equally is an incendiary engagement melodically and emotively. The past years have seen Cambion tour with US rockers Fozzy as well as share stages with the likes of The Defiled, Malefice, Blaze Bayley, Fury UK, Revoker, The Fearless Vampire Killers, and The Dead Lay Waiting, and light up festivals like Bloodstock with the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Elliott Alderman-Broom, guitarist Liam Neary, bassist Colin Beale, and drummer Frank Dennis impressing continually. The band has reached into another level of depth in their already expansive and impressive creativity so that where the previous EP had like us many drooling Virus just ignites sheer rapture with its immense presence and sound.

The release opens on the atmospheric and stark corrosion of society through varied news sound bites and a serpentine presence; it 480282_10151163818991971_2129231106_nis a cinematic introduction fitting the theme of the release and pulls Virus Part 1 (Outbreak) into immediate focus. The emergence of the band is a step back, the brewing intensity seemingly another world as a guitar glows with sonic elegance in an open clear sky. Soon though towering rhythms add their sinews for an imposing stature elevated again once the band badger with debilitating riffs and a hungry abrasion. The storm is a building intensity with the great vocals sending warm shards through the tempestuous ambience and eventually erupts into a charged and overwhelming maelstrom of technical violence and enterprise. It is also unpredictable and beautifully surprising, the Latin blush of guitar mesmerism sensational as the riot subsides for brief moments. It is a compelling and stunning start which leaves all previous thoughts of the band as lacklustre praise in comparison to those generated from the first track alone.

Virus Part 2 (Infection) was first featured on the previous EP and was stunning then but within the encasement of the new release feels even more impressive. The song is a caustic ravaging spawn of the industrial metal craft of Fear Factory and the exhausting and ravenous intensity of Static X bled into an electrifying abrasion all Cambion. Like all the songs on the EP, it rewards as deeply as it gnaws away at the listener and their psyche, the melodic fires enflamed and aggressive violation unleashed, metal at its very compulsive best.

The brutal entrance of Virus Part 3 (Death) with sheer malevolence to the squalling vocals and heart stopping beats from the drums, brings the world to a juddering halt such its intimidation and power. It is a mere one minute of physical barbarity which leaves one shell shocked yet ready to face the next part of the Virus in (AfterLife). If you thought moving on from this plain would be all beauty and peace, the erosion of light and expulsion of civil tranquillity let free by the track soon corrects and sends one to their knees. Combining a contagion of acute grooves with crippling rhythms and further technical savagery, the track is a persuasive assailant and one which with its melodic flames hitting mesmeric heights and additional impressive clean vocals and harmonies, one which provokes and evocates the strongest passions and emotions.

Virus Part 5 (Resurrection) continues the sonic viciousness with sheer mastery of sadistic intensity, unforgiving sounds, and glowing melodic beauty. The track scores and depletes the senses until numb but at the same time energises and inflates the heart with a melodic enterprise and touch as magnificent as the quarrelsome ruin surrounding them.

Completed by a hidden track which is as stunning as all the others, Virus is just outstanding, a release which declares Cambion firmly as one of the most important bands in UK metal and a delicious violation all should allow to rampage inside.

RingMaster 25/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright