Where The Skeletons Play – Serotonin Blueprints

Where The Skeleton's Play Online Promo Shot

Last year saw a debut EP from a UK band which had the potential to take emotive and atmospheric enterprise into a new depth of inciting invention. Generation Wars from Where The Skeletons Play was a dramatic and absorbing immersion into thick ambiences and enveloping passion drenched provocation, a release which made a striking imprint on the psyche and opened up a promise which held excitement in its hands. The duo of Stitch (vocals and all vocal effect) and Bones (all instrumentation) return with new release Serotonin Blueprints, an EP which made what came before seem like a mere appetizer. The six track emotive confrontation is a scintillating fire of imagination and invention, a compelling flame which musically and lyrically either burns brightly and vigorously or slowly with a far reaching smoulder, but always with an engrossing searing of thoughts and emotions.

Forming in 2011 as solely a studio project, the band reaped the essences of the likes of Pelican, Deftones Nine Inch Nails, and Tool, seeding them into their own potent form of rock. It is a sound which despite obvious references which can be placed alongside it, especially the Deftones one, evolves a unique breath and presence. Unpredictable and as diverse as any release, it is a sound as evidenced by Serotonin Blueprints which shares its heart and ingenuity not only with the ear, but the thoughts, imagination, and passion of the listener.

As a ‘creaking yawn’ creases the opening ambience of Perspex Queen, there is an instant sense of an impending and possibly Where The Skeletons Play Cover Artworkintimidating atmosphere brewing. The first song on the EP gently opens its arms as emerging firm rhythms and an equally stoic breath of intensity fill the ear, it all eventually exploding into clear focus. Expressive angst drawn vocals sway and writhe within the now sinewy grip of rhythms and sonic temptation, their hold resisting full muscle but still intimidating within the mutually intrusive and inciting ambience. At times the track feels like it wants to declare its heart and shadows but when it does it comes with a spite and reluctance which overspills in attitude. It is a riveting soundscape of emotion and shadowed beauty, a personal expulsion unbridled in passion and framed by the outstanding bass lure and guitar sculpting.

The following Punctuate The Sky finds its fuel in the same emotive shadows as its predecessor but pushes it through sturdier metallic veins and energy, spearing it with a stoner/blues lilted groove and niggling bass pokes alongside acidic sonic scythes of intensity. Whereas first song had that Deftones/NIN there is a richer Kyuss/QOTSA flame to the second with a Placebo/Mind Museum spice, certainly vocally and melodically.

The outstanding If We Just Pretend…. is a thrilling evocation of mind and emotion, a song which teases and gently coaxes full engagement then expels tension fuelled shafts of sonic provocation and melodic persuasion honed into a lingering and cathartic fire. There is a familiarity about it at times, though there is nothing recognisable, which makes it soundtrack personal doubts and disappointments perfectly, its instinctive understanding wrapping every note and texture.

Your Innocence Exists is an acoustic led haunting, its vocals and lonely ambience casting their voices from a distant realm, a sheltered isolated stance offering whispered anguish. It is a fascinating and mesmeric temptation bringing further diversity to the EP and making a striking counter to the snarling title track. Serotonin Blueprints immediately growls and claws at the ear with resonating hunger but then reins it in with another atmosphere of unreserved impassioned utterances, their touch moving from reserved earnest persuasion to feverish potency, framed and coloured with an equally intense kaleidoscope of sonic imagination and melodic paint. As in every song the dark depths of the rhythms and bass hold everything tightly and set down amongst the blackest expression, and though at times, though not on this particular song, their contribution is a quieter prowl their heavy shadows shape the whole emotive alchemy.

Closing on the provocative piano led Serendipity, a piece of music as powerful and descriptive as anything on the release with its indistinct whispers and heart sourced despair, Serotonin Blueprints is a sensational release which not only feeds that promise we talked of fully but sets up even more staggering possibilities for Where The Skeletons Play, the thought that there is still much more within the pair exciting. This is a must check out release for all emotively bred appetites



RingMaster 24/05/2013

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Unhoped – Nuclear Death


We are not going to try and convince that there is anything particularly new going on with Nuclear Death from Finnish metallers Unhoped, but that the resourceful and fiery album is thoroughly enjoyable is a persuasion which is easy to declare. The six track release is an insatiable and brawling confrontation driven by a thrash metal core wearing at times a coat of death spawned malevolence, one which takes the band from the shadows into a sharper spotlight of promise.

Formed to the end of 2007, Unhoped first made an impression with their debut EP First Blood at the beginning of 2010, the release finding acclaim in the media and amongst fans setting the band up for a busy year. A change of vocalist followed as the band began working on second release Die Harder, the album also gaining strong responses and support. Released by Violent Journey Record, Nuclear Death has all the caustic charm and weaponry to take the Varkaus bred quintet into the widest awareness and as mentioned though it might not be breaking down walls of invention the doors of thrash have been kicked wide open by the band.

Pestilence opens up the ferocity, its immediate assault of crippling rhythms and raging riffs a squalling turmoil upon the ear, a unhoped-nuclear_death_cover_600sonic maelstrom of carnivorous hunger which the senses have to take a firm grip to stand tall in the face of. Once the opening strike has settled the band unleash a barrage of merciless destruction through the drums of M. Huisko, co-instigator bassist S. Parviainen growling with equal rabidity. It is prime thrash with the rapacious riffing from guitarists K. Laanto and A. Paasu as exhausting as it is enterprising in its unfussy but greedy barrage. The band’s influences such as Slayer, Testament, and Exodus are certainly more than strong breezes within the rampant fury working on the senses adding to an invention which is not unique but wholly captivating from Unhoped.

The vocals of Jyrki Luostarinen steer and guide the opener through creative waters, his snarling breath and choppy textures when shuffling things up richly pleasing and it continues into the following Modern State Of Sodomy. The track admittedly does not have the ability to hook the listener as its predecessor and most of the subsequent songs, but as a tempest of well-crafted and effective intensity it leaves one wanting little else.

The album steps up another gear with the excellent Eternal Infernal and gets better and better across the remaining songs. The track abrases and slaps the ear from start to finish, again the tempestuous invention across the stance and delivery of the song unpredictable and thus riveting, whilst the chugging appetite of the beast is insatiable and infectious. Originality maybe scarce but passion and imagination has a prime seat in the adrenaline powered song and release.

Empire Of Lies is the best track on the album, its chunky throaty bass grind and sabre sharp riffs welcoming in the impending furnace whilst the drums scythe through bone with thunderous and honed spite. In full gait and muscular expanse, the track exploits the air with venomous enterprise, offering a range of grooves either of serpentine of carnal spawning and shards of sonic flame in searing solos. As ever the vocals graze and scowl with potent antagonism to intimidate and accentuate the strength of the provocation elsewhere.

The closing title track is old school thrash and shows there is nothing wrong with returning to roots and rejuvenating them with fresh maliciousness and energy. It completes a thoroughly pleasing release which makes no demands or promises but leaves a deep depth of pleasure to feed upon regularly. For thrash fans of all tastes Nuclear Death and Unhoped is a contagious treat to keenly devour.



RingMaster 24/05/2013


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Burial Vault – Incendium


Taking the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as its theme, Incendium the new album from German death metallers Burial Vault is an intensive and dramatic expanse of atmospheric provocation. A release which works with a concept ‘that embodies a metamorphosis of a human in an inconvenient future both on musical as on textual level’, it triggers full thoughts and emotions across its dark and diverse confrontation. Musically as with the song writing it is superbly crafted and riveting in its intrigue and imagination whilst sonically it sears and entices full engagement but, and it is a pretty big but, the album despite pleasing throughout and defying any predictability or expectations fails to fire up the passions as strongly as maybe it should have. The thirteen track album does everything right though and for the main sets itself apart from most other recent melodic death metal albums and releases. Our review will seem, and rightly so, nothing but a continuous praise and recognition of its impressive creativity and invention but that one important ingredient to truly fire up the senses and passions is lacking.

Since forming in 2006, Burial Vault has forged a sound distinct to them from a thrash and black metal spiced melodic death envelopment additionally washed with loud progressive whispers. From appearances at festivals and shows alongside the likes of Drone, Jack Slater, Lay Down Rotten, Cripper, Torture Squad, and Sinister (o.a.), as well as a pair of EPs, There Is No Resort and Come To Grief, and their first album last year, the Papenburg quintet has earned acclaim and a rich place within extreme metal, something Incendium will only enhance.

The follow-up to their highly regarded debut Ekpyrosis, the Apostasy Records released album is certainly an absorbing encounter cdarc010_burialvault_inc_300dpiwhich works on and with the imagination through a continually shifting expanse of ideas and skilled enterprise, a craft which colours and chews the air around the imagery spawned narrative. It opens with flames shooting through the air as a melancholic grandeur lifts its emotive head to follow the embers of paper and freedom sweeping on the melodic breeze. The intro to Stench Of Burning Thoughts sets the scene ready for the rest of the emerging track to unleash its malevolence.  The song rips through the ear with the rhythms of Immo Groeneveld caging and provoking the senses whilst the rabid riffs of guitarists Tobias Schaub and Alexander Petri incessantly snarl and gnaw the already forged tenderness. It is an impressive and scintillating start which takes a step back for the guttural squalls of Raimund Ennenga to lay out the lyrical premise, his raw throaty rasps a contrast to the sonically harmonic and acidically melodic enterprise conjured by the guitars. The song is a fascinating persuasion, one which is as caustic as it is a dark beauty, and pushes the doors open to incendiary imagery and emotion.

The following A Blind Follower And A Watchful Hound unleashes its individual blackened shadows next, the predatory breath and tone of the song a heavy fire consuming the ear with the intense and inventive drumming of Groeneveld driving and punctuating each aspect pushed on by the equally rapacious crawl of David Speckmann’s bass. As exploratory and dramatic as its predecessor the track does fail to find the same lure and grip on the attention even with a striking and pleasing adventure to its sonic tale.

Through the inspiring instrumental Soil & Green and the excellent Peculiar, where the vocals from the deepest venomous growl switch to a strong clean temptation within a constantly changing musical landscape, the release arguably makes its strongest persuasion yet whilst the likes of The Nightly Horror with its exceptional bestial call and hunger as well as rampaging imagination, the atmospheric aftermath like unsettling scene offered by instrumental Prelude to Peripety, and Fatal Accident explore and incite further compelling shadows and corners to discover. The last of these intrudes with blazing sonic eyes, its leer and touch a scorching on the senses and startling evocation to thoughts, especially with the delicious additional string inducement supplying its own emotive caress.

The mesmeric acoustically coaxed Struggling Doubt with again strings and especially the cello toying with the passions, seamlessly follows the previous song for a solemnly colourful embrace though the vocals here slip in quality, before just as smoothly evolving into Moment of Truth, a song which merges light and dark, beauty and abyss, into an emotional sonic portrait. From this point though the likes of Awareness, Catharsis, and Black into White impress strongly enough, there is no longer the focussed attention bearing down upon the release; no song deserves to be ignored or passed over easily though. Incendium is a fine album even though it does not switch on the passions, but for its craft and imaginative adventure satisfaction and enjoyment is the only reward.



RingMaster 24/05/201

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