Baptists: Bushcraft

photo Milton Stille

photo Milton Stille

    Bushcraft on first play announces itself as something special, but it is with subsequent visitation to the debut release from Canadian hardcore bruisers Baptists that you realise just how impressive it really is. It is an album which needs and deserves a constant focus before you reap all of the rewards on offer but from its initial immense presence emerges as an album to set the genre ablaze.

The Vancouver band from its formation in 2010 was soon creating a big reputation and eager acclaim for their ferocious live shows amidst the underground scene with their self-titled 7” single selling out instantly upon release in 2011 through like Bushcraft, Southern Lord. The past year has seen the band writing and creating their first album as anticipation for it increased, something the release more than satisfies. Recorded at Godcity studios with Kurt Ballou, the eleven track album is a fury of attitude, aggression, and superbly sculpted sonic imagination wrapped in a bruising uncompromising tempest of intensity.

The opening sizzling discord of Betterment has the senses on edge, its ominous atmosphere setting the album off in intimidating cover300dpistyle. As heavy oppressive rhythms and bass chords slam down upon the ear amidst the sonic resonance, the drums rise to begin a confrontational provocation with guitars igniting the atmosphere in similar incendiary style. The scowling antagonistic vocals add to the intense encounter and though brief the track scorches a path for the rest of the album with skill and magnetic violence.

Both the following Think Tank Breed with its sadistic scything sonic niggling and rampaging rhythmic spite and the savage Bullets, a song violently cavorting with a seductive groove and malevolent caustic persistence musically and lyrically, lift the already awakened passions further to seize and confront thoughts and emotions. Like the album as a whole, the tracks challenge and defy in word and sound to recruit the same thoughts and responses in the listener whilst basking in a furnace of enterprise and anger which evolves before and within the ear.

Each track on the album is a vehement stick of driven by adrenaline, discontent, and senses searing invention with the likes of In Droves, Still Melt, and Crutching Trails, leaving impressive and diverse lingering scars upon the listener but it is into the latter part of the album where the band really ascends into infernal fires of excellence and evocative imagination. Mortar Head is a white hot blaze of acidic and destructive malignant musical contempt which magnetises and intrudes with equal staggering results. It is savage, unrefined, and unreservedly without interest in respite for the listener.

The album bring its finest moments to aggravate further the bruising already smarting from the previous encounters through firstly the harassing title track which leaves one drenched in fatigue well before its infernal riot of two and a half minutes is up. It is a blistering assault physically and mentally which reveals more with each energy consuming encounter. The discovery of deep  riches found within continual play is especially apt with the best track on the album. Soiled Roots is a sensational seduction of the senses which from its fiery acidic initial caress unveils a slow doom laden crawl which permeates every aspect of the body. It is a carnivorous adversary which swelters in primal belligerence and ingenious invention to excite and provoke with equal success.

Completed by the rabidly hungry and gripping Russian Spirits and a final dissident conflict in the beautifully contagious discord rippling Abandon, Baptists has produced in Bushcraft an album which intrudes and exalts on every level. Hardcore has received a new detonation of contention, passion, and imagination to be inspired with, and undoubtedly it will not be the last from this outstanding band.


RingMaster 21/02/2013


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Skineater: Dermal Harvest

    Skineater photo

    Rife with sabre sharp sonics and a carnal malevolence transferred through destructively precise riffing and viciously antagonistic rhythms, Dermal Harvest the debut album from Swedish death metallers Skineater, is an impressive and savage pleasure which leaves pure satisfaction and pleasure in its annihilatory wake. Arguably the album is not venturing into new realms but with its aggressively sculpted malice and charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence it does not need to be to ignite the passions.

Skineater was formed in 2008 by guitarist Håkan Stuvemark (ex – Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, and Vicious) upon leaving as bass player in GrandExit. Moving back to his main instrument he recruited drummer Jeramie Kling, drummer in The Absence, Infernaeon , and Ninety Minute, with the pair recording two songs the following year. It was not until 2011 though that the project found impetus with Stefan Westerberg  (ex- Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, World Below, and Steel Attack) taking up the bassist position in the band. Soon after signing with Pulverised Records with whom the album is released, the band expanded further with the addition of guitarist Kari Kainulainen (ex – Mourning Sign and Amaran), vocalist Jörgen Ström (The Mary Major), and replacing Kling, drummer Matte Modin (Raised Fist, ex – Dark Funeral, Defleshed, and Sportlov). Recorded at various locations with mixing and mastering at Studio Underground (Carnal Forge, Steel Attack, Fleshcrawl, Necrodeath) in Sweden, Dermal Harvest is an irresistible result of a group of veteran musicians unleashing a fresh and voracious passion and sound which has maybe been festering within over the years, such its organic and instinctive animosity musically and lyrically.

     He Was Murdered makes the first rapier like incision into the senses though its finesse only follows a bludgeoning entrance from Dermal Harvest Coverriffs and rhythms  with vocals squalls casting acid on the ear like venom filled cluster bombs. With a slight aside in energy for the guitars to seep their own tightly weaved sonic  malevolence, the track forges a violent intrusion with blistering guitar play and crippling drums assaults menacingly accompanied by the delicious malefaction of the bass. It is a snarling brawling encounter which exhausts the energies whilst leaving one simultaneously enthused and ignited by primal intent.

The following Dismantling and Your Life Is Mine continue the ravaging assault on the person mentally and physically, both tracks raw and unrelenting in their abrasive animosity and unforgiving ferociousness. Like the opener they also entwine moments of sheer melodic beauty which are as unpredictable and rewarding as they are unexpected and warmly welcomed as some respite within the towering destruction surrounding them. The guitar play and invention of Stuvemark and Kainulainen is exceptional and their imaginative quieter melodic addresses sit perfectly within the tempests without any seam or drop in fluidity present.

In hindsight though immensely impressive and pleasing in their company, the first trio of songs are mere appetisers which certainly leave the listener enlivened but not as fulfilled as tracks like Made Of Godsick manage to achieve such their triumph. It is at this point that the album fully fires up its heart and furnace to wreak the strongest havoc and pleasure upon the person. The song is a riveting construct of quarrelsome fervour and burning invention which sows the deepest pleasures within. It is a mordant storm musically and in intensity equalled by the excellent and sonically rabid Through The Empire and then exceeded by the sensational Stab. This track strips, grinds, and seduces the senses and emotions throughout, its passage insistent, unrelenting, and sizzling with melodic flames, scorching imagination, and predatory hunger. The best track on the album it sums up the wonderful grotesque that is Skineater perfectly.

The rapacious, and perversely addictive Drifting is another major player of the passions, its greed and hunger musically and violently pure hellacious manna for the heart. Again it shows just how masterful and skilful the band is as individuals but also as a unit and combining the melodic side of the genre to outright volcanic metal fury.

Dermal Harvest is an exceptional release which leaves one smouldering contently under its aggression and quality, and also possibly whimpering. Yes it is not breaking new ground but it is using the essences of the genre in a way not many others can contemplate let alone employ. If the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Bloodbath, and Hypocrisy exploit your passions, than Skineater is a band for you.


RingMaster 21/02/2013

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Krypts: Unending Degradation


    A heavy aural suffocation of the senses, Unending Degradation the debut album from Finnish death metallers Krypts is an overwhelming sonic consumption which simultaneously sucks the light and breath from body and emotions whilst invigorating the very same aspects. It is intensive smog of overbearing erosive atmospheres caged in a framework of merciless ravenous sounds and doom sodden intent, and a thoroughly compelling treat.

Unleashed through Dark Descent Records and via Me Saco Un Ojo on vinyl, Unending Degradation has been a highly anticipated release from the band which formed in 2008. Their reputation and presence within the metal underground has grown through their Open the Crypt Demo of 2009 and self-titled EP two years later to an extent where there is definite excitement around their first album. The release is soaked in the origins of death metal, the heart and essence of the time the corrosive air to an album which ravages the listener with atmospheric brutality as demanding and persuasive as the towering and oppressive sounds created by impressive musicianship. Once engulfed in its cavernous black expanses there is no light to aid escape or relief, just unbridled onerous ugly beauty.

The album starts to slowly immerse the ears and beyond with the laboured Introeon: Perpetual Beyond, an instrumental whichCover1 smothers every pore and emotion with heavy seductive yet imposing shadows brought through predatory rhythms and riffs which sway and mesmerise like a cobra, resisting the urge to strike but just teasing until submission to their intimidation is given. The destructive crawl leads straight into Blessed Entwinement, a track immediately gnawing on the senses though a murderously snarling bass, a wonderful feature of the whole release, and a grinding insidious sonic groove from the guitars from within the grasping stifling breath of the riffs and song. The vocals of bassist Antti Kotiranta are as venomous and deadly as his basslines to stifle any remaining hopes for the listener of escape and with everything combined it is a ruinous confrontation which leaves one magnetised.

The excellent Open The Crypt steps forward next with muscles pulsating and intensity as voracious as a pack of starved beasts. The guitar of Ville Snicker is unrelenting in its caustic persistence upon the senses whilst drummer Otso Ukkonen brings an unpredictable and diverse raptorial attack to leave one fully engaged and cowering. The song again is never prone to unleashing its aggression and vehemence into an explosion of violence but does shuffle its gait and pace constantly to provoke and bully to intense satisfaction.

Through Dormancy Of The Ancients and Inhale… the band never offers any sign of mercy from their continuing stifling satanic embrace, both songs without finding the lasting riches of their predecessor, leaving emotions and appetite primed for further deep reaching violation. The second of the two with its heavy earth sodden atmosphere an exhausting mass upon the listener, feels like being buried alive with the realisation of no escape adding a richer claustrophobic dread to the encounter.

The following track The Black Smoke is another pinnacle of the release, its unpredictable and melodic slights deeply entrenched in the thick intensity little glimmers of light soon snuffed out by the lumbering and carnivorous decayed sounds and intent of the excellent slab of mental jeopardy.

Finished off by the maelstrom of energy and invention within Day Of Reckoning, a track which is for want of a better word anarchic with its devastating chaotic ferocity, and Beneath The Archaic with its titanic atmospheres, Unending Degradation is an album sure to bring a torrent of pleasure to death metal fans, doom favouring ones too. If old school death metal snuffs out your candle of discontent then Krypts is a mausoleum of corruptive atmospheres to immerse deeply into.


RingMaster 21/02/2013

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Ulcer: Grant us Death

Ulcer photo

    Grant us Death from Polish death metallers Ulcer is a release which does not really ignite any fires of passion for its admittedly accomplished and impressively crafted musical animosity but it is still a release you can happily and want to come back to time and time again. Enriched in the depths of old school Swedish death metal, the album is a nasty violent cacophony of exhausting and malicious intensity engineered through raptorial riffs and blood thirsty rhythms for a more than pleasing confrontation.

Formed in 2006 by guitarist Lucass as initially a solo project for himself, the band soon grew with the addition of vocalist D.ssipline, guitarist Mścisław, and bassist Kuba. Two demos A Property of God? in 2006 and Slitwrist Society the following year were recorded though never released, each just spread amongst fans. As Kuba left the band second vocalist Angelfuck joined up and debut album Serpent Trinity was recorded in the summer of 2007, though again it was not released, just passed around like the previous  demos. A period of quiet and ‘inactivity’ followed before the band re-emerged in 2011 with drummer Vizun and bassist Kamil added to the ranks.  With a change in musical direction and new material primed to be unleashed, the band which features present and past members from Deivos, Blaze Of Perdition, Squash Bowels, and Azarath, signed with Pulverised Records, Grant Us Death their first voracious full assault upon the world.

The title track emerges from a melodic invitation within a foreboding ambience which gives no real essence of the decayed inferno Grant Us Death Coverto come. It is a ravenous assault with caustic vocals complimented by group shouts bristling upon uncompromising rhythms and a gnarly intent and sound from bass and intimidating guitar riffs. It does not exactly trigger mass euphoria but the track leaves one bursting with eagerness to delve deeper in to the album whilst basking in the already impressive corrosive malevolence on offer.

The strong start is elevated by the following Devilspeed, the start of a trend as the following Bloodpainted Salvation and The Love Song each take the album to ascending plateaus. The first of the trio is an adrenaline charged surge of rampant riffs and demanding rhythms crossed with malice soaked vocal squalls. Like the majority of the album the intensity created by guitars and bass saw across and ravage the ear with little relief or mercy but still leave one enthralled and eager for more of their violating presence. Bloodpainted Salvation pins the listener to the floor by the ear and savages the senses with further annihilatory intent and skilfully sculpted violence whilst the last of the trio is an inspiring furnace of rabid intensity and predatory synapse bruising sonic barbarity infused with a magnetic melodic teasing which takes the track impressively away from the pack.

From here as good as the likes of Godcremation, Devialize, and My Lord Has Horns are, the album fails to find the same heights again but nevertheless leaves a full satisfaction for the senses to devour with the inventive and accomplished sounds displayed to ensure the release is a formidable and appetising proposition again and again.

The closing track When Horror Comes brings a different flavour to the album and does give the album a heightened departure. Its mix of blackened death metal and almost gothic metal like vocal mesmerism captivates the imagination from start to finish, the constant harshly grizzled riffs and energy stretched and embellished with potent shadows and rich sonic flames to leave intrigue and a sustained appetite to follow the creative exploits of the band as they evolve further.

With an exclusive macabre painting by Bartek Kurzok (Abigail, Demonic Slaughter, Goat Tyrant) for its artwork, Grant Us Death is an album deserving of attention and a release fans of bands such as  Entombed, Nihilist, and Autopsy will find plenty of maybe not original but well-crafted and passionate sounds within.


RingMaster 21/02/2013

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