Gloryhammer: Tales from the Kingdom of Fife

gloryhammer01102013

    Leaving the high seas for the medieval and mystical realm of an alternative Scotland, Alestorm vocalist and keyboardist Christopher Bowes stands resplendent in his power metal clothed kilt within new project Gloryhammer. Bowes exploits all the rich essences of the genre not ignoring the cheesiest elements too, to bring a debut album in Tales from the Kingdom of Fife which is set to ignite the passions of all power metal fans. The album is a slab of epic adventure complete with as you would expect, triumphant riffs, passionate energy, and a heart which pumps as loudly as the rhythms which mark the battlefield I victory and defeat.

The Napalm Records released Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is a concept album which narrates the story of an alternate -history medieval Scotland where dragons, wizards, and dark sorcery fuel and rule the air. Telling the tale of a glorious hero Angus McFife, who wages a long war against the evil wizard Zargothrax, in order to free the people of Dundee, the album is an epic struggle and adventure brought through ten giant slices of bombastic energy and melodic fire soundtracking a fight of good versus evil. It is a release which if power metal does not ignite any passions than it will be a relatively dry well but for genre fans it is destined to be spoken of with excited breath and rampant enthusiasm. To be honest we lie somewhere in between and found as much to impress and enjoy as we did to hide our armour from, but the truth is that the album is still rather compelling from start to finish.

With a line-up alongside Bowes (keyboards) of vocalist Thomas Winkler, guitarist Paul Templing, bassist James Cartwright, and Ben461 Gloryhammer Turk on drums, Gloryhammer opens up the release with Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy, a brief portent of looming black shadows and destructive winds upon a once peaceful place. Its rising presence passes over to The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee without a breath and its successor is immediately charging through the ear with galloping riffs and a cage of firm rhythms. It is instantly virulently infectious with the vocals of Winkler soaring through the skies with expression and passion whilst the keys lay like the sun upon the senses. Whether there is anything new going on we will leave to true genre fans to decide but through the familiar sonic cascades and melodic elegance it is impossible not to be captivated, especially with the sirenesque keyboard teasing which enrich the song throughout.

    Angus McFife elevates things with its even more contagious lures and thumping pulse. The bass of Cartwright is a prowling predator throughout the track whilst the keys envelope with a glorious sense of heroism to enflame further the already anthemic pull of the vocals and guitar shaped sounds. The power ballad Quest For The Hammer Of Glory fails to exact the same passions for personal tastes but perfectly caresses the struggle and determination of the hero at this point of his story before making way for the first of the two major pinnacles within the album.

Opening with a delicious and inspiring evocation of potent steely keys, Magic Dragon is a fiery and scintillating journey of unbridled energy and melodic triumph cored by again keys which leave one exhausted and blissful as well as an anthemic unity and call which even the dead would raise their hearts for. Again the song has a familiarity about it which only goes to make the encounter more invigorating and even as an old friend in sound, its realisation and delivery is quite breath-taking. The track steals top honours though is seriously challenging by the exhilarating instrumental Beneath Cowdenbeath further into the album.

Before its appearance the likes of the beautifully sculpted emotive ballad Silent Tears Of Frozen Princess and Hail To Crail with its almost regal call offer their descriptive and inviting presences though they falter in raising anything near the rapture as spawn by Magic Dragon, then again after that song they were on a hiding to nothing and emerge almost plain in comparison. Beneath Cowdenbeath though is a scintillating campaign through intense and urgent endeavour brought with skilled interpretation and thought evoking craft. It is a stirring piece of music which leaves one grinning inside and out.

Ending the tale with the triumphant climax of The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder, the album finishes off a rather thrilling encounter with epic passion and energy. To be honest expectations of Tales from the Kingdom of Fife were not exactly high even with Bowes being its mastermind, but it surprised and surpassed all thoughts with ease.  Gloryhammer may not be a band to take over Alestorm in our musical appetite but certainly makes a worthy and enjoyable companion.

http://www.gloryhammer.com/

7/10

RingMaster 29/03/2013

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Overoth: Kingdom Of Shadows

Overoth Promo

Originally self-released in 2010, Northern Ireland band Overoth has unleashed their debut album Kingdom Of Shadows a second time through Hostile Media, and for those like us who missed it the first time it is a definite blessing. The album is a beast of a release, a carnal seducer of the senses and passions driven by a death metal as eager to groove as it is hungry to corrupt and savagely devour. With a brand new album in the works, the re-release of Kingdom Of Shadows is the perfect time to introduce yourselves to an impressive emerging aural predator.

Hailing form Belfast, Overoth was formed in 2005 by a quartet of friends with ‘a raw passion for no frills death metal’. An early demo release and their impressive live performances brought plenty of attention upon the band which was easily exceeded by the release of the Death Personified EP in 2007. Recorded in the spring of that year, the band was soon approached by Rundown Records, who eventually released the EP in the November. Its appearance was supported by a tour of Ireland and the UK, which included a gig supporting Massacre & Extreme Noise Terror. The next couple of years saw the band relentlessly gigging, with the sharing of stages with the likes of Obituary, Cerebral Bore, Origin, and Onslaught, tours around Ireland and Europe alongside bands such as Shadows Far, Godhate, and Volturyon, as well as festival appearance like Day of Darkness alongside bands alike Unleashed and Watain, the Irelands Low End Festival with artists such as Napalm Death and Primordial, and the Cork Winterfest sharing the bill with Grand Magus, Mael Morda, Hail Of Bullets and more. It was a hectic and fruitful time with the band in 2009 also recording Kingdom Of Shadows with its release coming early the following year. Since its first release, the band has continued to impress with shows and appearances alongside more bands such as Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, Bolt Thrower, Sinister, Fleshrot, Rotting Christ, Sodom, Rex Shachath and many more. The band has built a formidable reputation with their sound and intensity, a force which now can be felt and greedily consumed by the re-appearance of their excellent album.

Tolling bells and a brewing distressed ambience opens up the title track to start things off, the impending voice of the song soon Overoth - Kingdom Of Shadowsthrust aside by ravaging riffs, sadistic rhythms, and a deceptively addictive groove to vein the heavy intensity. The vocals exhaust the air with their caustic breath and intrusive tones bringing a full malevolence to the already overpowering and contagious sounds. Having already secured a strong persuasion with its destructive presence the track hands over to the equally vindictive I Am One, I Am All. With riffs gnawing the ear with potent malice from the off, the song prowls and seduces with bulging rhythms from the drums and a resonating snarl from bass whilst further riffing chews with a presence which is as primal as it is addictive. Continuing the immense start the song, like the release, is arguably not stretching barriers but undoubtedly it casts a creative presence which impacts with accomplished craft and invention alongside an imaginative violence posing as temptation.

The consistent quality and lure of the release is continued with ease through the uncompromising Summon The Cursed where not for the first time the bass steals the passions with its dramatically bestial voice, and further elevated further with the outstanding The Serpent Of Old. The song stalks the ear with antagonistic rhythms and riffs which are equally attitude driven, whilst the vocals combine a malicious intent and an infectious swagger which compliments devilishly the ebbing and flowing intensity of the music. With a furnace of a climax which climbs all over the senses like a ravenous plague to pull apart and captivate its victim, the track is a pinnacle of the release.

It has to be said there is a surface similarity across many tracks which defuses their potency as individuals without deliberate focus into their hearts but not enough for the release to lose its impact at any point. It to be fair, points to the fact that the band is still emerging its distinct presence and that makes their forth coming second album a very exciting prospect. The likes of Led To The Slaughter and the Pathway To Demise with its insatiable repetitive groove and niggling sonic persistence enflame the senses further whilst Obsidian Blade stands like a leviathan of venom with overbearing energy and matching intensity for a fire of death driven metal. With Upon The Altar also leaving strong passion for its great melodic keys which enchant as potently as the sirenesque whispers within Obsidian Blade, Kingdom Of Shadows is an excellent release dripping immense potential whilst leaving rich pleasure in its wake. Roll on album two.

https://www.facebook.com/overothband

8/10

RingMaster 29/03/2013

 

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Patria: Nihil Est Monastica

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    Expelling malevolence which is raw and instantly venomous, Nihil Est Monastica the new album from Brazilian black metallers Patria is an exhausting and compelling release. Blatantly inventive and almost secretly addictive, the thirteen track beast leaves no sense or thought free of violation and hunger for its abrasively imaginative sounds. Though not breaking into new boundaries the early nineties driven sound certainly stretches limits for the fullest rewards. From those previously aware of the band, Nihil Est Monastica is said to be them at their most experimental and viciously driven, on the evidence of the album there is no reason to doubt just richly enjoy.

Patria consists of vocalist Triumphsword and multi –instrumentalist Mantus, with the band expanding to a quintet for live performances. The first appearance of their black metal and ambient fusion came with the 2008 demo Hills of Mist, the release opening the doors to the band unleashing shadows and darkness which invades and persuades with dramatic efficiency. The following year saw debut album Hymns of Victory and Death followed in 2010 by the second Sovereign Misanthropy, both earned good reviews and brewing acclaim. September of the same year saw a MCD entitled Gloria Nox Aeterna released on, as with the two full-lengths, Russian label Monokrom. Stronger and more intense awareness and acclaim came with third album Liturgia Haeresis in 2011 on, like the new album, French label Drakkar Productions. The release saw the band expand their already in place dark mixture of black metal and atmospheric experimental avant-garde music and with Nihil Est Monastica Patria has taken it to new riveting heights, fusing numerous flavours and textures into their almost rabid consumptive blackened enterprise.

The opening title track is a brief but impacting instrumental, the portent for something colossal and powerful and perfectly sculpted.patriacover A great many bands are now opening up releases with this epic sounding type of intro but few back it up with sounds which live up to the declaration, something Patria do with accomplished ease. The following Conquering Death’s Palace ravages the ear with full intensity but a restrained gait, the song letting the persuasive tight guitar teasing and rasping vocals instigate the first seeds of temptation initially. Into its stride the track has a swagger and allure like a cobra except its toxicity is sharp and deadly whilst that of the song is raw and greedily welcomed. With firm rhythms and a predatory bass prowl the track does not rip the senses into shreds but overwhelms with a persistence of poisonous breath and skilled enterprise for even greater reward for them and us.

Through the likes of Dark Cosmic Legend and the rampaging Nyctophilia the album squeezes tighter on the passions, the latter of the pair a delicious ride through bone splintering rhythmic maliciousness and scorching sonic intrigue. It is after the exceptional epically triumphant instrumental Altar where things really reach a plateau of scintillating and bruising excellence. Sacro Vale dos Encantos is a terrific depravity upon the senses, a track which from being a brawling and unrefined tempest evolves into a seduction of sharply grooved and contagious melodic lashes from the guitar and light expelling suggestive ambience all within the still imposing breath of the track.

The unpredictable and brutal Ascendent of Darkness and equally virulent Storm Before Eternity explore and ignite the passions further, and though like the album they are not going to be an easy ride for a great many they leave a potent and lingering passion behind. The guitar work of Mantus is exceptional but every aspect and instrumentation upon the album is as accomplished and imaginative as you could wish without unbalancing their unity and the songs themselves. The grazing vocals are in many ways formula black metal but again craft a presence which enhances the tracks and takes a keen hold on the ear.

Closing the album with a decent enough cover of the Sarcófago song Black Vomit, Patria has unleashed a magnificent scourge upon ear and passions, a release which stands to the forth of other genre releases over recent months. Nihil Est Monastica is a must for any black and experimental extreme metal fan.

www.facebook.com/blackmetalpatria

http://www.patriablackmetal.tk/

8.5

RingMaster 29/03/2013

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