Shevils – Necropolis EP

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Earlier this year, Norwegian hardcore band Shevils blew us and a great many others away with their single We Walk On Shattered Glass, a song which is deviously addictive with its flame of abrasive enthralling noise. The recent release of the band’s previous EP Necropolis in Indonesia, and it has to be said to a full flood of hunger and acclaim, gave us the excuse to take a look back at the four track confrontation and a wise move it turned out to be.

The Oslo quartet consists of vocalist Anders Voldrønning, guitarists Christoffer Gaarder and Andreas Myrvold also bass, and drummer Anders Emil Rønning, a group of musicians who seem to have an instinctive touch when making noise and abrasion seduce and invigorate whilst it scars and bleeds dry the senses.  Formed in 2010 the band has entrenched their unique brand of sound in the psyche of their homeland through debut album The Year Of The Fly, the singles Is This To be (Our Lives)?, which also opens up Necropolis, and the aforementioned We Walk On Shattered Glass, the last we suggest the trigger to the widest recognition as the band works on their second full length release.

The EP tumbles onto the ear with a clutch of beats before unleashing the full burn of sonic enterprise within Is This To be (Our a3674181538_2Lives)?  The guitars scorch the flesh of the ear to raise the temperature and impact upon the senses with vocals equally abrasive with their intensive squalls. The band is tagged as hardcore but there is much more to their presence and invention, the song alone a tempest of punk, noise, and sonic discord weaved into a hardcore ferocity making bodies stagger back and thoughts grip to any sanity as they search for the eye of the battering storm which never comes.

It is a tremendous start immediately surpassed by the title track. Again the drums of Rønning open up the initial provocation but are soon joined and wrapped by the blaze of guitar fire and bass intimidation, as well as of course the vocal maelstrom of passion and energy from Voldrønning. The sinews of the track have a twisting flexibility to their intrusive incitement which entraps and cuts off any sign of escape, not that you will want to, whilst Myrvold and Gaarder rub and graze the psyche with their exhausting and rapacious riffs and sonic invention. The only thing wrong with the track is the too brief a presence it offers though that is soon forgotten once the rabid destructive breath of Sleep-Waking careers over the senses. As its consumes and aggressively launches it sonic tirade, the track provokes an emotive if violent narrative for thoughts to fall before though to be honest such the intensity of the vicious torrent of sonic spite they barely have time to spark into life before being numbed by the exhilarating assault.

Closing track is a remix of Necropolis by Tiikeri, a version which flirts intriguingly and impressively with noise and psyche rock, the result a mix which sounds like a cross between Pitchshifter, early Killing Joke, and The Gaa Gaas and almost rivals the stature of the original.

The Necropolis EP is sonic manna, which though their last single still holds the passions the tightest follows a mere breath away in its wake. Roll on the Shevils album is all we can impatiently say, it promises to be epic.

www.shevils.com

9/10

RingMaster 11/06/2013

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Arrayan Path – IV: Stigmata

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Courting their darkest shadows and intent yet, metallers Arrayan Path return with fourth album IV: Stigmata, a release which will ignite the senses and appetite of all melodic and power metal fans with ease. With stampedes of riffs and fanfares of melodic flames coursing through the release, the album builds on the acclaimed encounters offered by previous releases whilst finding an enthralling epic narrative of its own distinction.

Formed in 1997 by singer/songwriter Nicholas Leptos alongside guitarist Clement Fung and subsequently with the addition of guitarist brother Socrates Leptos, the then called Arryan Path made an early impact with a pair of demos, Return to Troy in 1999 and Osiris the following year, but more so with debut album Road to Macedonia released in 2004. This was followed by a six year hiatus before second album Terra Incognita emerged, a release which got nominated for IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award, the only metal nomination amongst 20 others. Third album Ira Imperium lifted their reputation and presence further as it continued evolving their ear catching inventive and imaginative sound. The Pitch Black Records released, like the previous two albums, IV: Stigmata is arguably not a massive step forward for their already accomplished and potent sound but certainly a new aspect to its descriptive power and colour.

Opening track Clepsydra bursts through the ear with riffs galloping at break neck speed to set their stance before melodic majesty Cover_550x500_lowweaves its absorbing tendrils across the senses. The rhythms of drummer Stefan Dittrich then frames the emerging sounds with punch and forceful endeavour whilst bassist Paris Lambrou brings a snarl to the track which chews on the ear as the keys of George Kallis seduce with epically woven washes of warmth and beauty. It is a fiery and energetic rampage of a song but veined with melodic flames and emotive atmospheric enterprise which ignites thoughts and feelings to embrace the lyrics and their fine delivery from Nicholas Leptos.

Following track The Bible Bleeds opens with a carnivorous fury of riffs and rhythmic confrontation whilst the triumphant vocals lead the listener in to a bloom of heralding calls from the keys, a Middle Eastern imagination teasing the ear with grace and seductive elegance at the heart of the song. It is an excellent track which sets up a hunger for the rest of the album whilst retaining its place as the pinnacle of the release.

The less dramatic but equally as compelling Midnight and The First Born Massacre steps up next opening up even wider melodic arms whilst symphonic whispers permeate the still predominantly darkly cast voice of the song. There is also a deceitful air to the encounter which is even more and understandably pronounced in the following Judas Iscariot. A fire of vocal and harmonic potency veins the track as it takes mere moments to grab the emotions and once the returning Eastern flourish returns to tease the ear before a towering solo from Socrates Leptos, the track sears itself into the passions.

From the tall epic emotive walls of Stigmata, a song which stands astride the listener and takes them on an invigorating ride through melodic climes and sweltering soundscapes with again harmonies infusing the air whilst the bass of Lambrou growls and intimidates with a bestial presence beneath the textured power ballad, the album continues to sweep the listener up in an evocative embrace. The likes of Cursed Canaan with its enchantress of melodic sound welcoming its recipients into another bound of careering riffs and glorious vocal harmonies, and the melodic antagonist Pharaoh’s Wish, in varying degrees continuing to ensure the early hold and persuasion of the album is still a vibrant temptation.

As with the second of the just mentioned pair, some tracks do not quite grip the imagination as others, sparks rather than fires being ignited but there is never a moment where barren emotion is brought to bear in response to the songwriting and its skilled realisation. Equally for each which do not quite raise a flame there is others like Harbingers of Death which stoke up full passion.

Further elevated highlights come with the magnetic track The Storyteller and its irresistible epic stature and the predatory gem Mystic Moon, a song like Charming Paranoia which can only be found on the CD version of the album. IV: Stigmata will undoubtedly and deservedly be swamped in acclaim by power and epic metal fans, but it also offers plenty to recruit the enthusiasm of other melodic metal fans especially with its guest appearances by vocalist Jimmy Mavrommatis of Armageddon and guitar solos by Kikis Apostolou also of Armageddon, Alexis Kleidaras (ex-Deceptor) and George Kousa. Arrayan Path stand distinct to most power metal bands and with this album reward just as uniquely.

https://www.facebook.com/arrayanpath

8/10

RingMaster 11/06/2013

 

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Famous Underground – Self Titled

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Canadian rockers Famous Underground is the return of ex- Slik Toxik frontman Nick Walsh, a band soaked in the hard rock essences of Guns N Roses with plenty of additional and varied metallic coaxing. The vocalist was no stranger to acclaim with his outfit before it called in a day in 1995 and listening to their engaging and energy fuelled debut self-titled album, it is easy to imagine Famous Underground following suit. Consisting of thirteen inventive and accomplished slices of muscular rock ‘n’ roll, the album offers rebellion to its air and riotous enterprise to its body and though arguably it is not climbing over fences into new pastures of sound it is a constantly satisfying and incendiary encounter.

From spending ten years fronting Revolver, Walsh with long-time bassist/musical partner Laurie-Anne Green began working on songs seeded in the breath of their original band, 2011 seeing the pair starting Famous Underground and recruiting like-minded but variously inspired musicians to realise their vision, people who in their independent previous projects have garnered critical acclaim and supported the likes of  Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Kid Rock, Black Sabbath, Billy Talent, Yngwie Malmsteen, April Wine and many more. Guitarists Rick Corvese and Darren Boyd join Green, Walsh, and drummer Desche Sparboom in creating an album which seizes attention from its opening seconds, the Walsh produced and Darius Szczepaniak (The Black Crowes, Sacrifice) mixed release an honest and unafraid to challenge rock rampancy with open views on the human condition.

Opening track Wasteland instantly stands toe to toe with the listener, staring them down as attitude drenched riffs snarl and prey FamousUndergroundCoveron the ear with contagious potency and craft. Soon into its stride with the rhythms of Sparboom jabbing and punching with cantankerous hunger, the vocals of Walsh scowl and prowl over the melodic flames and within the ensnaring web of riffs. It is an easy to climb on board riot of energy and sound which is unfussed with breaking down barriers but intent to inspire full pleasure and passion, which it does with ease. It is an impressive start soon matched by the following Overdrive, another predatory snarl of a song with the bass of Green deliciously laying down a carnivorous temptation behind the anthemic strikes of guitar and expression fuelled vocals. There is a familiarity to both songs and sound but equally they hold their own individual presence though with a persistent GNR feel there is at times a Megadeth aspect to the sturdier moments of the album.

Such the power and excitement of the first pair of tracks there is a slight slip from its initial plateau across some of the consequent songs, though Dead Weight, the easy on the ear yet finely crafted Love Stands Still, and the emotive ballad Forever And A Day leave a welcome glaze on thoughts and appetite, the third of these with an anthemic call from within its smouldering melodic embrace.

Necropolis swaggers up next to rival the first two songs as best the album has to offer, its jagged riffs and crisp beats teasing the ear with eager teeth whilst vocals and sonic blazes ignite its sinister corners with their impassioned shards of excellence.  It is soon backed up by the equally stirring intensively fuelled Wheel Of Misfortune and the sleaze rock gem Mommy Is A Junkie, both tracks firing up the senses and already seeded hunger further for band and release.

After On Broken Wings, another accomplished ballad but a song which fails to leave any lasting imprint on thoughts, the album offers a strong climax to its main body with firstly the riff heavy and melody sculpted Bullet Train followed by the heavy footed and infectiously captivating Hell To Pay. They enthusiastically seal the deal on a richly pleasing and fully enjoyable release.

Ending with a couple of bonus tracks in an acoustic take on Dead Weight and alternate version of On Broken Wings, the album provides a balanced meal of prime rib rock ‘n’ roll with a rich dressing of melodic invention. Famous Underground seems sure to invite in the success its members have already felt elsewhere and maybe much more.

www.facebook.com/famousunderground

7.5/10

RingMaster 11/06/2013

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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