A Vision Grotesque – Ethereal Benefactor

A Vision Grotesque

After a rather impressive album in the storming expanse of aggression invention that was Metaphysical Hypnosis, North Carolina extreme metallers A Vision Grotesque have returned even stronger with the stunning EP Ethereal Benefactor. Everything about the release is a step on from their strong debut, from the songwriting to its accomplished and inventive realisation the record screams startling progression. It is a senses thrilling imaginatively exhausting beast of an exhilaration, melodic extreme metal at its finest and most riveting offering a brutality and ferocity to sear paint from walls and flesh from bone which was equally a strength of the previous album, but the band has honed it with greater craft, maturity, and melodic enterprise into a sizzling fire a confrontation.

Formed in 2004, initially as Art of Dying until having to change to A Vision Grotesque after legal action brought by a Canadian band of the same name, the band has left immense and acclaimed marks on the local metal scene with their first demo and the following Homicide Utopia. Wider recognition came with subsequent releases King of the Massacre and Waking Up To Hell, both released in 2007, and Metaphysical Hypnosis of 2011. The last album as well as the second of the two released four years earlier was produced by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me,, Scale the Summit,  Human Abstract) who returns for the new EP. Their live performances over the years have equally garnered rich acclaim as the band continually earned a strong reputation for their immense sound but Ethereal Benefactor leaves all before longing in its wake. It maybe only four songs but the release opens up a new and one suspects what will be a strikingly successful new chapter in their rise, such the impressiveness of the release.

The EP also features the first appearance of new guitarist Ron Dalton who joined in 2012, and alongside fellow guitarist Jeremy Bennett, bassist Daniel Quinn, drummer Steve Beaver, and vocalist Joseph Dobbins, has found a new intensity and ingenuity to the songs of the band which is loudly noticeable. As the opening scintillating title track shows alone, the growth in band and members from the last album is startling and that was a great release in its own right. As the first song and whole release douses the senses in merciless intensity and creative enthrallment thoughts still bring the likes of In Flames, Between the Buried and Me, Black Dahlia Murder, and At The Gates to the fore but now A Vision Grotesque stand apart with more distinctiveness and uniqueness of their own. The opener takes mere seconds to gnaw on the senses with tights caustic riffs and thumping enslaving rhythms whilst the vocals of Dobbins growl and scowl with a malevolence brewed from the heart to tonally and vindictively ride the equally vendetta fuelled sounds. The sonic mastery from the guitars sears and thrills whilst the clean vocals and harmonies making their declaration just lift the outstanding song further. Unpredictable and continually evolving within its thrusting intensity, the song is a hypnotic joy, its melodic flames a co-conspirator with the surrounding primal furnace raging in the successful seizure of the passions.

For Those with Eyes to See erupts with insidious efficiency and as with its predecessor explores and ignites the senses with strikingly accomplished sounds and invention. The guttural and serpentine mix of vocals is an exhausting scourge whilst the rhythmic bombardment is as vigorously contagious as it is destructively unrelenting. Once more the guitars bewitch and intimidate with carnal riffs and acidic sonic imagination to captivate fully, whilst the cleaner light and blackened shadowed depths of the song blend in a fluid and scintillating union. As with all songs there is much more going on than is noticed or taken in across one or two intrusive rides but every following encounter simply unveils and exposes new nuances and at times different facets to the character and hearts of the songs. The following We Bleed for Tyrants is no different, its nasty ambience of an opening releasing the cage for a savage consumption of the listener with those barbaric rhythms and carnivorous riffs grinning in blissful violence as they ravage the ear and beyond. The reins of melodic fascination and skilful sonic alchemy prevent total devastation with an almost sadistic smile of their own, and unite with the maliciousness elsewhere for another sensational maelstrom of brutal beauty.

Completed by Discontinuation, the song one more excellent extreme subjugation of the passions, Ethereal Benefactor is outstanding. The final track does not quite live up to the others but still is a thrilling call to the new level that A Vision Grotesque has reached up to and made their own. The EP is surely the final turn of the lock to the widest recognition for the band so bring on the next album is all we can say as anticipation is in overdrive now.




RingMaster 21/04/2013

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Late Cambrian – Peach

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Cradling thoughts and emotions in a hug of melodic enterprise and magnetic warmth, Peach the new album from US indie rock band Late Cambrian is one exciting thrilling dance of vibrant personality and matching sounds. An energetic brew of alternative rock, mesmeric pop, and indie individuality, the second album from the band holds moments of sheer brilliance within a constant wash of imaginative and infectious excellence. Across its landscape of summer driven sultry sounds passions are ignited and ardour bred for an album which leaves a lasting glowing imprint on the senses.

Since the release of their debut album The Last Concert in 2011, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn band has stepped upon a steady and potent rise, the album receiving rich acclaim at home and abroad, especially in Japan, whilst the band has won numerous awards and had songs placed in shows such as The Real World and Married To Jonas. Their video for the song Ryan Gosling pulled in massive numbers being picked up by BlankTV and THECOOLTV, and the trio of John N Wlaysewski (lead vocals, guitars, synth, percussion), Nunzio Moudatsos (bass guitar, backing vocals), and O (Vocals, Synth), made big impressions at festivals such as The KahBang Music Festival, The Dewey Beach Music Conference, CMJ, and The Popfest along the way. It has been a heady time which Peach will surely reinforce and accelerate upon its release on April 30th.

The album opens with the teasing tones of Lovers Point, its initial quickstep of firm rhythms and fibrous guitar strokes soon LC Peach Album cover 1wrapped in great vocal harmonies. Taking a small breath for the vocals of Wlaysewski to begin the narrative within a warm hug of elegant melodies and entrancing synths, the song lifts its feet for a strolling flow of aural smiles and keen bounce to its gait. It is an irresistible welcome into the album, its demands minimal but rewards plentiful in their engagement and energy.

The tease of The Label Needed A Single wraps its mischief around the ear next, a groaning bassline veining another heated swerve of infectiousness and melodic enticement. Already two tracks in and references to Wheatus are unavoidable but as this track shows there is more to their imaginative devilment to avoid being so singularly tagged. Part pop punk and fully anthemic pop, the song takes the ear and passions to a hop of fluid irrepressible moves and sounds with an intent to raise others energies and voice in tandem to its own securely successful, something which you can lay at the feet of next up The Year I Cut The Cable too. With a swing to its jazz pop eighties whispering romp, the track exchanges heated ardour with the heart, the dual vocal tango of Wlaysewski and the delicious tones of O, her voice another standout glory of so many on the album, exploring song and listener with buoyant enterprise and keenness to match the sounds.

The pinnacle of the album follows in The Wolf, for this heart one of if not the best melodic thrill heard this year so far. As a fiery guitar opens up the airwaves and beats pounce upon the ear there is an immediate hook which the throaty bass and captivating gait of the vocals sends deeper into thoughts and emotions. The track is simplicity turned into a virulent conspirator to the passions, the wanton whisper to the twin interchanging vocals and Eastern delight lined lure playing in the background, epidemically anthemic.  Everything about the song is magnificent, pop at its most potent and triumphant and another where the varied and seamlessly twisting devilry has the voice and body of the listener adding their, in my case, blasphemous contributions.

Following such a powerful piece of brilliance would mean a dip for most releases but the likes of Patience Of A Monument with its gentle hazy aired persuasion and Made for Love, a track with a beginning which reminds of Wham!, sorry but it does, and goes on to coat the listener in a rich wash of hot melodies and pop punk sinew, without reaching the same heights have their own distinct plateaus of enjoyable textures and absorbing presences. Featuring guest appearances from violinist Tracy Bonham, Kevin Salem on elbow guitar, and Jack Hsu (The Hsu-Nami) on the erhu, the song is an emotive pleasure with a wonderful instrumental closure.

The track Ryan Gosling has led the band to stronger recognition as much as any song and again is a major force upon the album, the bulging rhythms and wickedly crafted hooks a charismatic grip laying an incendiary canvas for the equally galvanic vocals and harmonies. As with all the songs there is an honesty and lack of complication to the track which allows its rich heart to make the strongest arresting enslavement on what by now is rapture for the album.

The remaining songs continue the scintillating joy and craft already reaped with tracks such as the acoustic led summery skip of Poetry, the sultry Recipe, and the glorious Hypgnotica-Afternoon Special stepping to the fore though there is not one weak or track on the album all just powerfully magnetic. The latter of this trio is an imaginative predominantly instrumental canter through hot and suggestive melodic climes with evolving variation and intrigue to its gait.

Closing with Luddite, another bewitching piece of warm, a closing vibrant sunset featuring guest vocals from Brendan Brown and Gabrielle Sterbenz of Wheatus, Peach is a slice of musical brilliance in quality and effect containing most likely the song of the year, quite simply a must have release…



RingMaster 21/04/2013

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Hell’s Island – Black Painted Circle

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A vibrant blaze of multi-flavoured melodic flames, the new EP from Italian rock band Hell’s Island is an impressive introduction to the Brescia quartet for these welcoming ears. Black Painted Circle is a stirring encounter which pulls varied styles of rock into a metal forged storm of impressive enterprise, such its impact it inspires a sense of failure for not discovering the band and their previous sounds before now.

Hell’s Island was formed in 2002 and across its decade of existence the band has evolved and honed its music into the startling and invigorating proposition rife upon the new EP. Now consisting of Roberto Negrini (vocals, guitar), Michele Grizzi (guitar), Tania Vetere (bass), and Michel Tonoli (drums), the band has built on the acclaim gleamed from their debut EP of 2005 and especially its successor the album II four years later. Merging grunge and progressive rock with the sinews and barbed power of metal, the band in Black Painted Circle has now lit a fire in the passions and attention which surely like for us, will ignite a similar reaction in many others and spawn a deserved elevated recognition for the band.

Opening song G.O.D. (Guilty of Dying) immediately sends forth a notice of something appetizing in the air with its opening Hell's Island - Black painted circle (EP 2012) frontsprawl of guitar flames and firm rhythms. Settling into a slow stroll the bass prowls with a wonderfully deep voice whilst the guitars accelerate their searing touch with enterprise and greedy energy, both aspects with the still commanding drums brought to focus by the excellent vocals of Negrini, his clean expressive tones holding enough snarl to bridge the rapacious textures and melodic invention within the song. The track never settles in its imagination continually switching and involving further aspects and riveting ideas as well as being littered with varied directions, the unpredictable and fluid transitions wrapped in the persistent intensity and heart of the song for a deeply satisfying confrontation. The throaty growl of the bass is an extra treat in the song and carries right through the whole release though Vetere too varies its stance and gait to never allow assumptions a place in the scheme of things.

The following title track is a smouldering melodic temptation which offers the skies warmth and radiant sounds musically and vocally, though still shadows keep everything in context and emotively shrouded. Loud whispers of Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots are reaped across the magnetic stretch of the song to be bloomed into a muscular wrap of fascinating masterful songwriting with its realisation just as impressive. As comfortable and potent in its gentler moments as it is in the seamless flows into dynamic powerful crescendos, the song leaves the passions lit and enamoured.

Both Opaque Solo and Down Again bring further irresistible craft and scintillating presences from their individual fires, the first an emotive yet hungry tempest of infectious creativity which offers a wrap of energetic and contagious imagination to the lyrical core of isolation and loneliness, the guitars and rhythms sizzling with industry and invention and that bass again growling to move the passions. The closing Down Again also leaves thoughts and the aftermath of an ended relationship soaked in emotional strength and lively venture, its melodic weaves and keen sinew gifted gait a final thrilling entrapment of the passions.

Black Painted Circle is an outstanding torrent of rich and finely defined invention veined with melodic fire and immersive imagination. The EP and Hell’s Island itself may not be shaping brand new directions for rock music but rarely do releases have the immediacy and total persuasion upon the passions as brought by this release…a must for all melodic rock fans.



RingMaster 21/04/2013

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Electricjezus – Грязь поколений


Hailing from Russia Electricjezus creates a monster of a sound, a heavy expanse of weight and sonic oppression which absorbs the essences of multiple flavours and turns them into one exhausting corrosive pleasure. Their debut album Грязь поколений (translated as Mud Of Generations) is a consumptive introduction of their intense presence, a raw and merciless release leaving one drenched in their textured onslaughts and full promise.

Electricjezus is the two man project of Ruslan Frolov (guitar/bass/vocal) and Oleg Skorohodov (drums), two musicians who have reaped the seeds of their influences such as Melvins, Electric Wizard, Earth, Jucifer, Today Is The Day, Sunn O))), Monarch, Flipper, Dystopia, Pantera and many more , and twisted them into their individual forging of post rock, sludge and doom metal, black metal, hardcore, stoner and a further plenty of loud whisperings of other flavourings. With successful shows under their belt across cities such as Moscow, the Moscow region, and St. Petersburg, the pair entered the Go!Monkey studio in Dmitrov and recorded their debut album live using only analog equipment spanning years in age and from across many countries, the caustic, organically raw, and carnivorous results rife upon the release. With songs sung entirely in Russian, and an intriguing potent veining of audio samples from horror movies throughout, the album eats at the senses and oppresses the safety of thoughts and emotions. It is not the easiest listen to come across but one which lingers and inspires rich eager reactions.

As its title suggests, the album is a thick dirty expanse of sonic intrusion which starts with Корм. The track opens with an excellent film sample soon skirted by a resonating impacting bass provocation and sonic carving of the air whilst rhythms wait patiently to unleash their venom. As it moves forward a groove is equally just itching to expel its heart but first a filthy rub of expressive malevolence grips the ear before interchanging with its counterpart to tease and mistreat the senses impressively. Into its stride the instrumental gallops with a stoner urgency to its sludgier breath and continues to incite the senses with fluid and incendiary shifts in energy and enterprise. The abrasive air of the track adds to the pleasing scrub upon the ear and littered with the melodic flames of imagination and great synth crafted extras from guest musician Sasha Selezneff, it is a storm which pulls the senses right into its live heart.

Connected by a bedlamic soundbite the opener passes on to Петли обмана another track which immediately engages intrigue and appetite for its hungry intensity. Harsh squalling vocals bring another raw uncomfortable additive to the album and within the prowling course of the song, scars with insidious malevolence. A black metal embrace through the vocals especially, lays intrusive shadows within the piece whilst its successor Улицы twists it all again within an infectious beat inviting rampage. With the vocals enclosed in a seemingly secluded environment, like they were recorded in the bathroom compared to the hallway for the music which for most releases this would just fall flat, upon Грязь поколений it all adds to the villainous and satisfying experience.

The following intensive title track with its epic soundscape in length and malicious pressure upon the senses, the blink and be consumed swift attack of Плеть культуры, and the predatory Бассейн, all immerse the listener in their violations of sonic invention and rapacious greed. The last of the trio is a stoner/sludge/hardcore punk confrontation speared by a tempting groove and acidic blues lilted guitar, the rasping punishing vocals feeding on the passions and sore senses with further thrilling results. It is hard to pick a favourite track on the release but certainly this steps forward boldly with each deliberation.

The album ends with Все позволено, the song a furnace of sonic fortitude and flesh peeling grooves. As throughout, the guitar is a scything blade across the ear, its abrasive edges searing and cauterising the senses at every turn whether in a slow laboured intent or an urgent annihilation, whilst the drums chain and slap with unguarded treachery. The song is a great end to a great album. Its coarse breath and dirty touch will not be for all but for those it does enflame, the album pushes Electricjezus forward as one exciting prospect.

Grab the album as Name your price release @ http://electricjezus.bandcamp.com/



RingMaster 21/04/2013

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