Ade – Spartacus


Epic sounding, tactically dangerous in its sonic invention, and technically destructive in melodic spite and venomous intensity, Spartacus the new album from Italian death metallers Ade is just magnificent. The album blends death metal with the traditional instruments of ancient Rome and Greece for a compelling and thrilling confrontation. It is a never ending twist of corrosive intensity and devious ingenuity coaxed into an encounter which disorientates and mesmerises with equal measure and success, vicious and enthralling the record is a masterful violation and education.

Formed in 2007, the Rome quintet follow up their well-received debut album Prooemivm Sangvine of 2009 with a release which is sure to feature in best of 2013 lists come December, it is a thunderous tsunami of crippling rhythms, senses chewing riffs, and an invention within exhausting intensity which is jaw dropping. Released via Canadian label Blast Head Records, Spartacus offers ten tracks of memorable and riveting power with arguably the fact there is so much going on to take it all in the minor niggle towards it, then again it only makes the excuse to confront its malevolent presence to explore more irresistible. With a sound openly influenced by the likes of Nile and Behemoth, and featuring extreme metal drummer supreme George Kollias (ex-Nile), the album grips from its first breath to its colossal last and has the passions drooling relentlessly.

Betrayer From Thrace approaches the ear with ethnic instrumentation, a hailing horn, and coaxing rhythms, the gentle Ade-Spartacus-Album-Cover_Lbeckoning lasting only a few seconds before a fury of precise yet bedlamic beats, senses gnawing riffs, and deep gravelly vocals assault the ear, their force veined by sonic invention. As it continues to caustically abrase with a secretive underlying persuasive lure, the song twists and turns allowing its ancient breath and seductive melodic enterprise to explore the ravaging shadows. It is a stunning start which only in hindsight shows that it is merely the lead in to even greater things; its grand chorus of vocals the heralding of an expanding glory.

The welcoming string plucking to invite Sanguine Pluit in Arena into the ear is a delicious intrigue which holds its own as much as it can within the soon to bare furnace of ferocity, again speared by striking guitar invention and a staggering rhythmic attack. The musical call of the ancients wraps around the core of the song to emerge and disappear with persistent irresistibility so that within moments of the track you do not know whether to headbang until numbness is the reward or dance with a veil and salacious intent. It is a near perfect blend and performance soon eclipsed by The Endless Runaway. The following song sways around the ear with beautiful female vocals and accompanying vibrant beats before expanding into a sonic landscape of prowling riffs, commanding rhythms, and mesmerising sonic temptation with waspish attitude. As mentioned earlier, there is so much going on here and on the album to catch or take in at once but nevertheless the song tells a full and colourful narrative which shifts and grows with each charge of its dramatic soundscape.

Across the likes of the outstanding Crixius Flags Of Dishonor, a track as brutal and sadistic as it is hauntingly elegant, the blistering Mars Unpredictable Favour where the drums find their most virulently insidious potency, and Six Thousands Crosses, the album cements its already immense stature in thoughts and emotions with relish and ferocious invention, the technical storm as staggering and wonderfully corruptive as the hellacious tempest of primal intensity and unbridled severity. If there is any flaw, and we use the word loosely, it is that the surface of songs hold a strength of similarity which makes some with an unfocused listen blend within each other’s arms but again it is a mere texture only to look beyond for the greatest rewards.

With Divinitus Victor and For Everything To Be The Same… completing one of the most intensive and gripping albums of the year so far, it is fair to say Ade has presented what will be regarded as a classic not only in their own timeline but that one suspects within extreme metal. Spartacus is not only a must hear but a must have triumph.


RingMaster 16/04/2013

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Brujas del Sol – Moonliner

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Fusing the richest elements of psychedelic drone and surf rock into mesmerising and invigorating sounds with equally compelling ambience, Brujas del Sol is a band which captures and provokes the imagination with a potency that is hard to represent in words. Whether their debut album Moonliner proves to be a flame to your passions or just a flicker before your appetite, there is no escaping its rich and evocative touch. The six track release is a persuasive journey within sultry skies, colourful tides, and constantly evolving soundscapes, and ultimately a thrilling and bewitching experience.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Brujas del Sol was formed in 2011 by Adrian Zambrano (guitar, vocals), Derrick White (bass), and Jason Green (drums). Recording every improvised jam session rather than pre-write songs, the trio spent months capturing ideas and sounds, elements of hypnotic krautrock, fuzz lilted blues, surf-rock, ambient, and drones all coming forward to add flavour and texture to their ideas with the result being something unique, and as the album shows quite scintillating. Entering the studio in the spring of last year the band recorded two EPs in the shape of Moonliner vol 1 and 2. The trio next brought in keyboardist Ryan Stivers to expand and add further depth to their now demanding writing process with the now quartet working on the final part of the Moonliner trilogy which had its release last December. The album is the outcome of the band reworking and re-recording the tracks which made up the EPs with the keys adding their fresh breath to them, and released via Devouter Records the album is a striking and richly enterprising treat.

The chilled yet smouldering opening ambience of Ships In The Distance brings the album into view, its magnetic touch a Moonlinerpsyched imbalance of harmonic discord and threatening atmosphere which has the strongest lure on intrigue and attention. As the enveloping breath of the song wraps firmly around the ear a fiery sonic dance from the guitar catches the eye whilst the low slung prowl of the bass engages with its distinct shadow. Into its full pace the track is a sultry rush of sweltering surf rock with psychedelic persuasion, the acidic touch of the sounds captivating and demanding of attention. At this point there is no resistance to its voice which swarms over the senses with restraint but fervour, yet when the track slips into a sudden new stance it finds another level of inciting rapture. The bass suddenly lifts its stroll with urgency whilst the surrounding sounds step into a tethered arena to allow the vocals to bring their emotive depth to proceedings. The bass and core drive of at this point is pure early The Cure whilst the rising expanse of sonic imagination sizzles with impassioned invention.

The impressive starter hands over to Satanic Surf Girls Love to Dance, a blues soaked coarsely ridged explosion of again open originality. From its abrasive but reserved beginning the song also offers an unexpected shift as it turns into a semi drone stoner grooved canter across the senses. Like its predecessor and tracks to follow, it is impossible to predict its intent or movements but everything it unveils is a seamless flow and temptation for the already enlivened passions. The repetitive bass and rhythmic spine is persistent and unrelenting yet tempered by the impressive melodic and sonic flames burning vibrantly around it. Though not as virulent as the first , the song drives deeper the now in place hook into the emotions from the album with contagious ease as does the following pair of Conquistadors and Noon On The Moon.

The first of the two drones a submission out of the senses within moments punctuated by heavy crescendos of downtuned force which finally takes a firm grip and drives the song forward with the punchy drums framing the premise like a predator. The vocals are partly smothered by the electric blues intensity permeating the air but it only adds to the lure of them and the layers of the piece. A lumbering stroll the song again fails to match what comes before in many ways but has expansive bulk of sound to explore and discovers corners within with each listen. The second of the pair emerges on a dark chilled ambience, its presence ebbing and flowing like an unlit tide until the bass steps forward with a line which echoes Psycho Killer by Talking Heads whilst treading its own shadowed path. The expressive and vivid heat of the guitars and keys sculpt imagery and emotion to soundtrack with rich invention and entrancing beauty, the brewing spellbinding mystique at the heart of the track.

The finest moment on the release comes with Baba Yaga, a dazzling surf rock seduction complete with swerving grooves and initially an exhausting confrontation which unsettles senses and thoughts for the impending melodic dance to exploit. The track has elements of The Cramps and The Bomboras to its passion inciting wonder and as always a sixties psychedelic kiss which ensures nothing is clean cut or predictable.

With Castles Upon Golden Gate just as strikingly closing up the album, Moonliner is a full on enticement with hex like mastery and temptation to its remarkable sounds and imagination. The outstanding album has plenty for all fans of surf, progressive, psychedelic and melodic rock, and just as much for those who are not sure what they want, no one should refuse its offerings without at least one immersion into its well of sonic beauty.



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Among Gods – Self Titled


Previously available as a digital release last year, the self-titled debut album from Norwegian extreme metallers Among Gods now has its physical release through PRC Music. It is an album which though the Bergen based band is tagged as death metal, employs numerous intense elements of the likes of black and doom metal to their core intent. Offering a wealth of promise from the band ahead equal to if not exceeding the strong satisfaction it provides in its pleasing presence, the album is a noteworthy investigation for genre fans and the band to keep an eye upon.

Formed in early 2011 by Syrach vocalist Ken “Ripper” Olsen as a side project, the band upon the album consists of guitarists Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (Syrach), bassist Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas), and drummer Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma).  The rest of the year saw the band playing live and recording their debut album which had its initial release as mentioned last year. Since its arrival the band has reduced to a trio of Ripper, Broke, and Ivan, and is currently working on the follow-up release for a possible late summer unveiling.

Opener Crucifixion immediately gnaws on the senses with a tirade of tight ravenous riffs whilst the squalling growls of Ripper scar among_gods_covertheir surface further with malevolent spite. He is not the easiest vocalist to find instant connection with but easily adds nastiness to the textures of the release which aids their destructive intent. With a rampant groove held in check within the corrosive riffs the track has an open hunger which is as potent as the driving swing of the track well into its stride. Like many of the songs it does not wholly convince the passions to react with fire but has a certain hook which is intermittently contagious but always making its presence known.

The following Martyr is a similarly clad confrontation but with its own individual stance within the release, if not necessarily to the outside world. With another grooved twisting to its annihilatory presence and a rabid growl to the bass which is irresistible, the track without matching its predecessor still hooks up thoughts and emotions into its maelstrom of death and black metal, the vocals at times especially adding a blackened caustic malevolence to the encounter.

      Night Procession opens up with commanding and resonating beats and equally compelling riffs whilst the bass again brings a throaty threat to devour eagerly before taking a stride of more reserved but raptorial gait, the again impressive grooves employed veining the savage breath of the onslaught for a tempering and magnetic lure. The vocals slip into place within the ear naturally at this point and in what is a less ferocious and more melodically sculpted track, brings a grizzled shade to its brighter energy.

The excellent blend of doom and classic metal cast within the death driven gait of The Plague makes for another standout track, the grooved swagger of the song nestling easily within the snarling walls and malice dripping vocal delivery. As is the norm across the release, the infectious grooves captivate and ignite the emotions whilst the shifting pace of the track from a keen swing to lumbering doomed consumption and closing thrash feverish urgency makes the track one of the more unpredictable and intriguing within the album.

The closing pair of City of the Dead and Apocalypse ensures the album ends on a high, emerging as the best tracks alongside the previously mentioned one. The first of the two is a slow breeding assault which erupts into another thrash cored rampage with death metal intensity. Shifting patterns to its charge and variation within its sonic craft, makes the song a richly satisfying violator and though it again is not breaking new grounds its hold on the passions is tight and lingering. The final song has no other intention than to control and savage the ear with salaciously tempting grooves and bludgeoning rhythmic sinews interspersed with carnal riffing and once more a heavily fibrous bass prowl. It is an excellent finish to the album and a last statement of the promise of Among Gods.

The release has flaws, mainly in originality and creating enough sparks to fire up the passions but equally there are moments which control the body and emotions for a heady enjoyment. Their next album will possibly be the better architect of their quality and future but on the evidence of this we will anticipate its release with eagerness.


RingMaster 16/04/2013

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