Mono Inc. : Nimmermehr

     MONO INC._Bandfoto

     Nimmermehr sees German rockers Mono Inc. follow last year’s acclaimed and successful album After The War with another slab of expansive gothic rock that takes the listener on an eventful and thrilling ride of sound and adventure. It is an album which employs the essences of numerous eager styles and their dynamic devilry whilst creating a fun and ultimately pleasing romp of invention and imagination.

Formed around 2000-2001 by then drummer Martin Engler (moving to lead vocals in 2006), guitarist/vocalist Carl Fornia, and original vocalist Miky Mono, three musicians who had played together previously in  both Wild Thing and Mono 69, the Hamburg band soon built a strong reputation for their stadium rock type of gothic bred sound. Albums such as debut Head Under Water of 2003 and re-released a year later, Temple Of The Torn in 2007, and Pain, Love & Poetry the following year all earned the band strong attention and impressed responses. The previously mentioned After The War set the band upon another level of world awareness which the vibrant Nimmermehr (meaning Nevermore) will only cement. Released via NoCut Entertainment it is a collection of tracks which tease with unpredictability and persuade with open passion and distinct charm, the line-up of Engler and Fornia alongside bassist/vocalist Manuel Antoni, and drummer/vocalist Katha Mia creating a shadowed sun of melodic and atmospheric breath with darkly emotive and tantalisingly provocative enterprise.

Opening track Heile, Heile Segen instantly cups the ear in roaming keys and a romping bassline, guitars brewing a scratchy invitation MONO INC - Nimmermehr - Artworkwhilst the German sung vocals of Engler bask in the great electro embrace punctuated with a breath of elevated energy. It is an infectious stomp which seizes the senses from the first second and leads them into a potent dance of electro contagion and pop rock urgency guided irresistibly by not only the vocals of Engler but the teasing sultry tones of Mia alongside. Arguably there is nothing particularly new going on but when it sounds this good and enjoyable there is not issue to be raised, the song a great mix of Konstrust and Hanzel Und Gretyl.

The following Seligkeit continues the great start, its muscular electro pulses a potent incitement going hand in hand with the cracking beats of Mia which vein the magnetic weave and drama of the keys, they driven hard by the sinewy riffs which spark up in mini crescendos throughout. As in its predecessor the vocals are a warm hug within the sturdy presence of sound, the combination an incendiary call for the passions. Again as the first song and across plenty of the album, there is a familiarity at seductive work which whilst pointing to an absence of ground-breaking ingenuity going on undoubtedly makes an imaginative use of existing and diverse rich spices.

The excellent My Deal With God is an irresistible anthem for the passions, the surprising seemingly Irish lilt to chorus and even the vocals at that moment just scintillating whilst the dynamic weave of melodic and electronic sound with a gothic emotive embrace, are pure virulent infection. A plea to limbs, voice (luckily it is sung in English to enable a full persuasion), and energy, it is an early major highlight of the album but just one in many as shown by the following Kein Weg Zu Weit with its sultry air and ambience washing a stern rhythmic pulse and evocative guitar narrative. As in evidence now the ability of the band to create choruses which resonate and ridiculously tempt is almost regal, this song a slow evocative walk with refined elegant twists as contagious as the riotous devilment of the previous song.

Both the outstanding Euthanasia and its mighty equal The Clock Ticks On cast accomplished fusions of symphonic winds within gothic rock expanses, the first a bewitching chalice of glowing melodies and enriching imagination whilst the second is a heavyweight stomp bringing the intensity of a Rammstein into the pop suasion of an Ace Of Base or Propaganda. It is a riveting melodically fuelled waltz smouldering with eastern mystique and driven by insatiable revelry, and in league with the first and the melancholic beauty that is Alles Was Bleibtnergetic which splits them, makes for another stunning stretch of triumph Nimmermehr.

The great gravel kissed vocals of Engler marks the impressive sorrowful croon of A Better Way To Die next whilst the invitingly busy lures of Herzschlag and the impossibly contagious Days Like This leave the senses and passions exhausted but invigorated, The third of the trio is a stirring and galvanic blaze of rock and pop. Like a union between Bryan Adams and the more pop spiced era of The March Violets, and much better than that sounds, the song is a fire of glorious anthemic enticement, quite irresistible and totally enslaving.

Completed by the electro rock pop provocation of Ich Teile Dich Nicht and the decent enough piano and vocal led title track, Nimmermehr is a powerful treat which shows no mercy in its capturing of the imagination and emotions. It is one of those bait loaded releases which simply leaves you full and basking in deep satisfaction.


RingMaster 09/08/2013

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Raving Season – Amnio

Raving Season pic 1

    Amnio, the debut album from Italian band Raving Season, is a release which challenges and provokes with a striking sound and imagination which however you feel about it lingers with its memorable presence. Hailing from Rome, the sextet has created an album which fuses the passionate melodic tones of gothic metal with the intense oppressive breath of doom, expansive almost carnivorous atmospheres soaking the listener in deep and forcibly expressive emotive atmospheres. Constantly intriguing and magnetic, if at times labouring within its own creative exploration and occasionally a battle on the senses, the release is a compelling and imaginative excursion through the melodrama and darkest shadows of emotions and life.

The seed of Raving Season came with the meeting of the band’s two vocalists Judith (clean) and Federica (coarse) with guitarist Sergio. Initially with the intent to blend death and doom metal with openness to other rich spices, the band evolved its distinct sound over the following years as firstly guitarist Marco S. joined the line-up and then after the release of the debut The Brightness Of My Disaster EP, came the addition of Paolo (bass), Laura (keyboards), and Stefano (drums).  Two years in the making and seeing a new bassist, also called Marco, and Luca now on drums, Amnio is the potent full introduction to the band and their impressively textured sound which persuades with a voice sure to please fans of the likes of Draconian, early Anathema, My Dying Bride, and Isis.

A warm yet almost ominous wash of ambience soaks the ear first as the first up Turandot opens its welcoming arms, intensity and Raving Season coverenergy rising the closer it comes into view expelling a scowl of shadows aligned to the great grizzled growls of Federica which court their temptation. The track conjures a dark embrace with guitars and bass scything a sinister narrative which is suddenly reined in as the melodic heart of the track opens up its sun with the full tones of Judith and her operatic strength scorching notes and air. On this track certainly, her voice takes a little while to take to, if ever wholly accepted when she is truly searing the ear, but it is a thing of personal taste only as like to the opposing style of her companion, there is an undeniable skill and depth to be admired. The song itself is a strong draw into the release if unspectacular but it does spark rewarding thoughts and emotions to its fluid course.

The following Dusk Dance and My Last Murderer continue the good start, the first an melancholic seduction with prowling shadows which goads and inspires the atmosphere to evolve with feistier dramatic colour and intensity whilst its successor offers a similar start before twisting back on the senses with a malicious technical taunting to the guitar and invention driven by the aggressive venom of Federica. It is a superbly mixed pairing of light and dark, a beauty and the beast like tempting to the sound which evokes gothic hues upon the imposing canvas of the song.  The second of the two is the start of an elevation in the impact and appeal of the already pleasing release, the next up Silent Lake taking thoughts on a darkly lit float through expressive and bracing emotion rife with menace and danger framed by powerfully evocative strings and keys whilst Restless Rain (The Noise of Rain) provides a stimulating and epic soundscape within the confines of dark corridors and troubled hearts. It has a doom laden gait, a slow and lumbering prowl ridden by an excellent mix of harsh vocals unleashing demonesque enticement within a patient beauty.

There are moments where the album arguably labours over aspects and its intentions, losing the spark and grip which enthrals in other moments and allowing thoughts to drift at times, though the best two tracks on the album My Darkest Season Pt. 2 and Suspanded in a Spiral have no problem in securing total focus. The first is a glorious emotive hug with Judith bringing her finest performance and balance on the album, the euphoric depth of the song tempered by fine growls providing the most inspiring and imagery crafting moment of the album, and the second a rapacious and hungry stretch of intensity and aggressive enticement, Federica leading the fiery and majestic assault. Easily the best track on the album it tests and seduces with skill and invention, showing the further promise of the band in which they will hopefully stretch out ahead.

With the fine instrumental title track bringing an end to the My Kingdom Music released album, Raving Season is a band to take note of, even if Amnio does not quite stoke up a blazing fire inside for its undeniably creative offering.


RingMaster 09/08/2013

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In Silentio Noctis – Disenchant The Hypocrites

In Silentio Noctis pic

It has been three years since Finnish symphonic black metallers In Silentio Noctis impressed and drew acclaim from a great many with debut album Through Fragments of Christianity. It was a release with a distinct voice and striking presence bursting with equally vibrant promise, something which has been realised on the return of the band with their new EP. It has been three years since the previous record and now the Vantaa band equipped with a new line-up which features members of Rapture, Rain Paint, Carnal Demise and Spirit Disease, returns with a trio of tracks under the name Disenchant The Hypocrites which scream quality and imagination capturing grandeur.

Founded in 2006 by vocalist Armi Päivinen and guitarist Elias Vihma, In Silentio Noctis released the Symphonies of Death demo the following year to be followed in 2010 by the previously mentioned  Through Fragments of Christianity, the point the band began reaching an awareness outside of their locality. The band seemed to disappear after that release as another shift in personnel wrapped its disruption around the unit but now with guitarists Tuomas Leskinen and Samuli Reinikainen, bassist Aleksi Ahokas, and drummer Veikko Ringvall alongside Päivinen, their unique sonic stimulation is back to embrace the world through the potent source of the My Kingdom Music released Disenchant The Hypocrites.

Themed by a concept dealing with the hypocrisy of both God and his servants, the EP opens with the beckoning charms of Chapter I: TheIn Silentio Noctis cover Pit, an initial bridge of dramatic high walled temptation leading the senses into an expanse of formidable epic toned melodic scenery. Sonic fires burn fiercely within a rhythmic barrage, both providing a cage for thoughts and emotions to envisage and explore the melodic narrative vibrantly explaining its premise. Into an urgent stride, a folk bred burst of enticement breaking out thanks to and blessed by the guest craft of violinist Ville Koponen, the song feels the warmth and operatic might of Päivinen fill its air and heart, her tones and style evocative and at times sirenesque, which shows her immense presence as we admittedly do not always find an operatic spawned style of delivery an easy fit for personal metal tastes. The track continues to stretch and exploit the imagination with a blaze of inventive and richly hued enterprise from songwriting and its realisation.

The strong start switches up a gear with Chapter II: Of Deception, the dramatic heights and inquisitive quest being conjured continuing to engage and enthral as rigidly as the sounds colouring its passage through ear and thoughts. Each track has its own story to tell sonically and emotionally, this song combining melancholic strings with rapacious riffing and rhythmic subjugation to send the senses into a maelstrom of inventive provocation and symphonic mastery. As with the whole EP, the track needs numerous encounters to delve into and experience all of its rewards and corners but gives more to digest and enjoy with each meeting.

At this point the ride offered is at its most scintillating and firmly cemented by last track Chapter III: Haunted. With the keys of the other guest on the release Johannes Salo honing the atmosphere into a smouldering weave of calm yet forceful suggestion whilst the guitars vein and sear its tender wrap, the track is a spectacular flight through a tempestuous but stunning landscape of climatic beauty and a ravenous exposition of passion and incite.

Disenchant The Hypocrites is an outstanding release with the only minor issue one would suggest being the mix between music and the soaring harmonics of Päivinen, where at times she is almost swamped by the sounds, though as the promo was a digital file which does not help present the true clarity of things at times, it is not a major problem. The return of In Silentio Noctis will deservedly be devoured eagerly by fans whilst Disenchant The Hypocrites will recruit a great many more into their refreshing aural arms, all developing a greed as they wait for a new album.


RingMaster 09/08/2013

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Kill Ritual – Harder Than Stone


AS US thrashers Kill Ritual complete the recording of their second album The Eyes Of Medusa, with a planned release of next year, the San Francisco thrashers unleash new single Harder Than Stone. Whether the track will be on the upcoming release or not time will tell but such its pleasing craft and stature, the new song will only breed a sturdy appetite for itself and the following album.

The seven minute song was initially recorded during the basic tracking sessions of the excellent album, The Serpentine Ritual.  It is an extensive piece of adventure from the quartet of vocalist Crimson, guitarist Steven Rice (ex-Imagika), bassist Danyael Laughing Bear (ex-Dark Angel), and drummer Gee Anzalone, a single that teases, challenges, and thrills the senses with commanding riffs , demanding rhythms, and sonic temptation.

A vocal call beckons in winding grooves and punchy rhythms as the song begins with the guitar casting sonic flames through it all to singe the hairs that dwell within the ear. It is a potent entrance, an irresistible invitation soon given bulk by the roving drums and probing bassline scorched by the now fiery guitar play. The vocals of Crimson emerge with a mix of clean and crusty growls which exploit the twisting course of the song whilst the track itself switches through strides of Metallica like urgency, Suicidal Tendencies like punk devilry, and Exodus like melodic blazes. The track is a constantly engaging and shifting piece of invention that just wets the whistle for future things.

The single is probably not the best thing Kill Ritual has unveiled to date, there are moments where it falls a little flat, though debatably that is down to production more than song, but as a tempter for the forthcoming full-length it is an infectious hook which successfully completes its mission in sparking a truly strong appetite.

Harder Than Stone is released as a free download via Rock N Growl Records.


RingMaster 09/08/2013

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