Lower Lands: Canvas

Lower Lands

A few short weeks ago UK band Lower Lands impressed with their outstanding single Eat The Rich, a track which woke up a lustful hunger for their sounds and the impending EP Canvas. That release has now stepped forward to stand in the spotlight and show that the expectations bred by its predecessor were nothing more than underestimations.  Consisting of five tracks which launch themselves at the ears with energy and passions, Canvas is the undeniable declaration of a band with the destiny to forge a new plateau in UK indie/alternative rock in their own inventive hands.

Hailing from Lincoln, the quartet of Benji Inkley  (guitar/vocals), Paul Howells (guitar/vocals), Jacob Jarvis (bass/vocals), and Rob Purkiss (drums) have already drawn acclaim and strong interest with not only the aforementioned single but also their previous EP Growing Pains. Their energy fuelled and imagination honed sound has earned the band a potent presence already but you can only suspect as Canvas leaps and toys with thoughts and emotions that things will turn into brighter flames of success and recognition from here on in.

The title track steps forward first and immediately has attention and senses wide awake and feeling a sonic abrasion on their coversurface with the bass an instant predatory provocateur. The intriguing beckoning is soon pushed into an explosive and punchy brawl of aggressive riffs and rhythms with impressive vocals and harmonies riding the intensive fire of the track. With twisting moments of enterprise and a constant charge of contagious temptation combining to create a song which is unpredictable but easily accessible, the devouring of its impacting hungry passion and incendiary sounds is a greedy given. Sounding like a mix of Max Raptor and Reuben with the barbed hooks of Billy Talent it is a scintillating start soon backed up with equal captivating might by Eat The Rich.

The track is another fury of energy and caustic intensity, vocals carrying a spiteful scowl to their riveting delivery and guitars a discord blaze to their jangly rubs. With the drums and bass casting their own inventive hypnotic web over proceedings, the track teases and taunts the passions with a virulently infectious call and charm whilst bruising the senses with another delicious stampede of melodic seduction pierced with massive hooks and potent temptation.

The following Line Check and Wasted Youth are less dramatic in their confrontation though no less alluring, the first weaving around the ear with a melodic dance of melodic craft and rhythmic sinews. Arguably less of an entrapment to the first pair of songs, it instead takes its time with a  seduction of thoughtful melodies and raging passion, its emotive heart a potent enticement rivalling the effect of the earlier addiction causing riots, especially with its virulent teases towards the end of the track. Its successor come in a similar suit of composing, though in its own distinct guise of warm and refreshing sonic colour. As with all the songs there is an anthemic pull which is impossible to ignore or refuse and though it lacks the intensive bait of the other tracks it still leaves you hankering for much more.

The closing Parasite brings a final unforgettable forage into the passions, its capturing of the imagination easy through the jagged riffs, fiery vocals scowls as well as harmonic excellence, and yet another torrent of infection soaked grooves and riff shaped hooks. It is the perfect finale to an impossibly irresistible release.

The exciting thing about Lower Sands is that you know they will get better and better and with the Canvas EP bordering on perfect that prospect is simple thrilling.

The Canvas EP is released as a name your price release at http://lowerlands.bandcamp.com/album/canvas

https://www.facebook.com/lowerlands

9/10

RingMaster 26/06/2013

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The Vein – Scouring the Wreckage of Time

TheVein-cover-Promo

Insidiously dark and imposing Scouring the Wreckage of Time, the debut album from The Vein is a release which secretes its doom laded death bred toxins in epic oppressively consuming tombs of sound and intensity. It is an unforgiving and imaginative expanse of light snuffing enterprise which certainly feeds on the senses and fears but equally brings a fresh if putrid breath to the mixing of genres.

Created in 2010 by Altar Of Oblivion guitarist Martin Meyer Mendelssohn Sparvath and long-time friend JBP, The Vein soon expanded with bassist C. Nörgaard and drummer Thomas Wesley (both also AoO) and released debut EP Born Into Grey Domains. Fusing sinister ambiences into menacing death fuelled soundscapes the band drew in strong attention including Shadow Kingdom Records with whom their first album is also unveiled to prey on the senses. Their sound is a heavy footed predator, an unrelenting leviathan of intensity and suffocation which in open diversity stalks the two chaptered release.

Chapter I: The Poisoned Chalice opens with Pale Dawn Rising, a track which slowly hunts the senses with demanding rhythms, hungry riffs, and rapacious guttural vocal growls. It is the excellent bass sound though which catches the attention, its metallic twang unexpected and unusual in doom/death metal onslaughts and thoroughly welcome and compelling. Lurching from each inventive twist to the next with melodic imagination and atmospheric seduction making their emotive presences known, the track is an impressive start which might not exactly ignite the passions into a full fire but has them totally enthralled.

     Seeds of Blasphemy continues in a similarly grievous vein, its tyrannical toxicity permeating senses and thoughts from within intensive lyrical narratives and aural provocation. It is a lung sucking emotive tsunami of sonic taunting, a sound and presence which devours the air of warmth and hope surrounding its poisonous vicinity to unveil the vilest ravenous shadows though a laborious but hypnotic consumption.

Allowing a breather and for warmth to find a foothold in the darkness the album unveils the evocative beauty of  Acedia, an elegant instrumental which as melancholic and sorrowful as it is provides a ray of sun to pierce the austere climate.  The Poisoned Chalice soon brings things back into the shadowed clutches of vehement intent, its primal breath and contagious toxin of a groove twisting around the psyche and emotions before the rhythms and carnivorous bass chews upon their caged submission. Absorbing and threateningly intrusive it is an immense wall of murderous imagination and passion, a voracious prowler of the senses and thoughts.

    Chapter II: Born into Grey Domains is brought from even darker realms with The Great Deception, its ponderous burdensome gait pure malevolence, drums and bass laying waste with every punch and distorted note whilst the guitars unravel their own inciting and sonically honed persuasion. It is a serpentine cancer within a funereal suffocation leading to the final blackened journey of Carving a Labyrinth of Despair. Immediately drenched in a sobering gloom with an alluring yet dour guitar welcome veining its presence, the song expels a wash of sonic corruption in league with an equally despair toned intensity. The song is arguably the most impressive of all the tracks, its passage an evolving blend of light and dark with hope constantly on the run from a prowling hateful malignancy. Epic in length and presence, the track is an impressive conclusion to a very satisfying album.

Scouring the Wreckage of Time is not a release to be taken as a passing listen, its demands requiring and seizing a much more intense companionship but rewarding with a craft and invention that leaves a lingering mark and pleasure. The Vein have offered something different and inspiring to doom and death metal, a flavoursome enmity  sure to find even greater depths of despair and invention ahead.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vein/189452581105086

8/10

RingMaster 26/06/2013

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Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

AMON AMARTH by JOHN McMURTRIE

Continuing their ever impressive and powerful stance within melodic death metal, Amon Amarth unleash ninth album Deceiver of the Gods, a thunderous expanse of aggressive energy, dynamic enterprise, and melodic flames. Bursting with the prime essences and sounds the band has become legendary for, the release also sees the Swedish quintet pushing those elements into newer intensive imagination and adventure. It is being hailed as the band’s finest moment, something which can be debated long into the night considering the might of some of their previous releases but it is certainly an album that leaves a potent satisfaction and pleasure in its wake. The downside to the album is that despite all its strengths it is fair to say that there are few tracks or moments which linger in thoughts and memory when away from its undoubtedly impressive presence. It is hard to say why this is so when it is an openly thrilling companion when facing its immense stature eye to eye and certainly in its muscular embrace it is a richly enjoyable confrontation and that is in many ways all that matters.

The Metal Blade Records released album has been recorded with legendary producer Andy Sneap (Cathedral, Arch Enemy, Cradle Of Filth) and comes with a definite live feel which the band was seemingly looking for, vocalist Johan Hegg saying “We wanted more of a live feeling to the recording and we felt that Andy’s style of producing could definitely help us with that. At the same time, knowing the records he worked on previously we felt he could probably help develop our sound so it became a little bit more angry and dangerous, without that polished sheen of our recent records.” It is a fiery encounter with an abrasive edge to its ravenous  exploits, a rampant raw and explosive persuasion of classic and melodic death spun enterprise around an expected narrative seeded in Norse mythology.

The title track opens up the release with warm winds of sonic and melodic tempting, its initial embrace soon squashed under Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Godsrolling sinews from drummer Fredrik Andersson and a tirade of ravenous riffs. The rhythmic intimidation gallops into deeper provocation as the vocals of Hegg, as impressive as ever, squall and add caustic animosity to the now charging sounds. Into its heart the melodic craft of guitarists Johan Söderberg and  Olavi Mikkonen sculpt a colour emblazoned temptation before handing over to another rabid burst of urgent and predatory intensity. It is an impressive start which awakens sure appetite for the album ahead, a hunger duly satisfied in varying degrees by all tracks.

The following As Loke Falls is an open contagion of rapacious riffing and equally inciting rhythms, a track employing intense and harsh manipulation of the senses through near brutal energy and skilful melodic shaping of the song’s voice, whilst both Father of the Wolf and Shape Shifter step up to tease the passions with recognisable yet evocative invention. The first is a primal collision on the senses, its ruinous impact persistent and invitingly savage with the bass of Ted Lundström a beckoning lure, whilst the second, one of the biggest highlights on the album, is a bestial tempest of charging riffs, sonic teasing, and rhythmic goading. With vocals equally predatory and delivered with a great diversity to its pack like menace, the track bends the will of the listener into full compliance for its imagination and instinctive inducement.

The biggest and one moment which does not disappear with the trailing whispers of sound of each song, is the outstanding Blood Eagle. A melodic barbarian, the song is a coarse and savage storm which ignites the strongest emotions and primitive urges, riffs and rhythms colossal purveyors of vengeful and ingenious barbarity whilst once again the melodic imagination intrudes and fingers the very heart of the passions.

Through the likes of We Shall Destroy and Hel, which features former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin, the release only feeds the needs of the best melodic death metal and Amon Amarth albums with adventure and innovational thought whilst the closing Warriors of the North brings an immense epic conclusion to Deceiver of the Gods. There are so many great things to say about the excellent album and its individual songs when in its company but the fact that even after listening to it multiple times that it is very hard to recall its contents without sneaking another listen stops it from being a classic and a pinnacle of in the band’s creativity. Despite this for melodic death metal, Deceiver of the Gods is an album worth every second of your time.

http://www.amonamarth.com

8/10

RingMaster Review

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Lantern For A Gale – Cut Throat Blues

Lantern For A Gale

A fire of passion and caustic might, Cut Throat Blues the new single from Irish melodic hardcore bruisers Lantern For A Gale simply takes all the great impressions and work of the band through their earlier releases to another level. There is not exactly a massive leap forward in sound or the open invention previous songs carried but there is a new depth and animosity to their ideas which you cannot help being seduced by.

Formed in the spring of 2010, the quintet from the North Coast of Ireland has earned a rich reputation for their heart bred devastating attack of hardcore spite and melodic acid as well as intense live performances. The Land More Hostile EP of last year set the band on a new stature of awareness whilst evolving the promise already in place on the previous self-titled debut EP. Released as a limited double A sided Cassette Tape via Savour Your Scene Records, Cut Throat Blues pushes the  boundaries of the band again to another compelling and abrasive level.

The instant grazing of the senses brought by Cut Throat Blues sets the scene for the maybe expected but even more intensive Cut-Throat-Blues-Artconfrontation offered by Lantern for a Gale, the rhythmic avalanche opening the ear for the simultaneously brewing explosion of sonic and emotive maelstroms to lay their near savage embraces on to the listener. The drums of Allan Starrs pound mercilessly, each beat a resonating boulder of sound and impacting power whilst the guitars of Danny McConaghie and Richard Tweed twist around the damage with sonic flares and melodic fire. It is an intensive evocation of heart and anger which through the exhausting and coarse scowls of vocalist Paul Michael reaches deep into the senses and thoughts. The track is relatively brief which only makes its bruising presence even more potent and pervading, the intensity steering all the emotion via a tempest of aggressive purity.

Second track The Atlas Experiment immediately sears the ear with a sonic scorching with Michael again unloading his heated spite. It is a lethal entrance ensuring a painful and full submission which when it shifts into a hook laden storm of punk coated rock almost seems like the band is taking it easy on us. In fact it is another intensive if less open corruption with grooves and melodic enterprise of the strongest temptation. The bass of Jamie Thompson adds intimidation, as if the song needed it, to ensure shadowed menace is prowling every ‘lighter’ element of the again passion driven sonic toxin. It is an outstanding track and the best of the pair, though both inspire only rich acclaim.

Lantern For A Gale just get better and more powerful with each release with Cut Throat Blues undeniably their finest moment to date, though you feel it is still only a step in their evolution to something even more immense and impacting.

http://www.lanternforagale.com

http://www.facebook.com/lanternforagale

9/10

RingMaster 26/06/2013

 

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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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