Cathexis – Shades of Apocalypse

cathexis promo

Hailing from Austin, Texas, death metallers Cathexis with their rapaciously scintillating debut album Shades of Apocalypse seem to be settling themselves for an all-out assault on the world of metal. From friends who spent numerous years listening to and absorbing a wide expanse of metal, they have developed and honed their creative natures and skills into one of the more exciting and riveting death metal introductions to come our way this year.

Now consisting of vocalist Ian Bishop, guitarists Chris Hillam and Sam Kang, and bassist Mason Weber, the band officially was launched last year and went straight to work on their debut album, the mighty Shades of Apocalypse. Self-produced and driven by technical craft and consumptive weight and intimidation, the album is a startling heralding of a band you can only assume you will hear a lot more of as they only get better, the small pockets of strong acclaim and eager responses it has already garnered showing we are not alone in that thought. The full September release of the album will only be fuel to that waiting fire one suspects if not right now certainly ahead.

The release opens with a dawning of epically suggestive rhythms and a threateningly brewing ambience, its touch and suasion the 16367_474457545936193_1122350030_nportent of something greater and soon realised when Inheritor of the Weak erupts to its full height. With riffs and rhythms dangerously provoking the ear and sonic grooves lashing themselves to the onslaught, the vocals of Bishop though as expected in many ways, reign with guttural and uncompromising supremacy whilst equally utilising a temptation which gives clarity to their venomous words and abrasive delivery. The song itself is a torrent of firm rugged beats and scarring riffs with flare for invention, and though it does not ignite any major fires as such, it is an impressive and intensive lead into the album.

From the ‘scene setter’ everything raises up a level or two with the introduction of Oscillation of Destruction. Bitch slapping the ear from the start with drums and vocals, there is also an immediate twist of tempting toxic grooves and open adventure that winds itself around the imagination, leading it through an ever shifting corridor of intensity and carnivorous antagonism lined with melodic flames and sonic paintings.  Bruising and seductive the track manhandles the passions straight into the title track which too goes for the jugular from the start, though with a more premeditated pace as it locks its muscular jaws tightly around the senses with crippling rhythms and lethally caustic riffs. Its early presence is pure predatory ferociousness drafted into a narrow vicious lure and has little problem in securing submission from ear and emotions. This is elevated by the quarrelsome bassline which is given its lead to entice the passions further before the song once again launches explosively at the listener.

Imagining that things could not get any better Prostration soon shoves that thought aside as it drags the heart to greater ardour with a web of grooves within a cage of rhythms which are lorded over by the ever impressive attack of Bishop. Almost teasing and taunting the senses with expertly sculpted sonic technicality and rhythmic enslaving before ravishing its victim with a torrent of insatiable and unrelenting riffs, the song impresses further with each twist, its merger of riveting guitar enterprise and rhythm cast invention sealing the deal with rapture the price.

Both Dethroned by the Pernicious and Immobilized by Consumption unleash their individual and exhausting intensive and ingenious wars upon the ear, the first carving its name in flesh with rigorous animosity and deceitful charm meshed into another carnally bred cyclonic fury whilst its successor rakes over the wounds with just as a violent and imaginative intent coated in barbarous invention. The textures and depths conjured and explored by the band is breath-taking but it is all done within the infernal unrelenting savagery which leaves, as with this song and album, the senses basking in blood soaked bliss.

You will not be surprised to read that the closer Celestial Pathogen continues the exceptional provocation, the track a final clawing and ravaging of the senses and passions, though strangely like the first track one which seems less prone to adventure than others. It still provides a blistering finale to a mouthwatering encounter from a band that is destined to greatness.  Cathexis and Shades of Apocalypse, two names you need to register and investigate as soon as physically possible.


RingMaster 04/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Infected Society/F is for Fuck You/Miserable Failure – Miserable Fucking Society Split


If you ask us, and I know you were going to, there are simply not enough compilations and spilt releases around these days to highlight and thrust upon the world the wealth of emerging talent out there. Luckily the seemingly can do little wrong at the moment Kaotoxin Records has the same mentality as they shove the Miserable Fucking Society Split release firmly down our throats with clenched passionate fists. Consisting of nineteen hate spewing tracks from three talented and angry French grindcore talents in the vitriolic shapes of Infected Society, F is for Fuck You, and Miserable Failure, the EP or should that be album, is a raging torrent of hardcore antagonism and grindcore brutality with a core of metallic vengeance. It leaves body and thoughts exhausted and passions riled through a trio of bands which maybe you will end up with a favourite from but all will leave a lingering welcome brand on the psyche.

First up is Infected Society with seven acts of barbarous intent. Formed by guitarist Fack (ex-Yyrkoon, ex-Drowning, ex-Decline Of infected societyHumanity, ex-Burgul Torkhaïn, ex-Ashura) and vocalist Brédin (Decline Of Humanity, ex-DSK, ex-Tridus Elasticus, ex-Altered Beast) in 2010, the band has already impressed and set out a formidable stature with the also Kaotoxin released Get Infected EP of last year and another spilt, Snuff Fetish Infection earlier in this. Their contribution to this release is as uncompromising as ever and arguably their most vicious and corrosive presentation yet. From the opener Old-School Traditional Butchery, the title telling you all you need to know, the band let rip a furious creative maelstrom which buckles knees and has synapses weeping. The first song is a torrential shower of crippling rhythms and devastating riffs speared by flesh failing sonic malice and grinding grooves which strip layers and skin from the senses. With an equally malicious dual vocal attack it is a mouthwatering blood curdling introduction which only is a portent of what is to come.

Both Definitely-Dead and Ultimate Slavery savage the already set in wounds with greater venom and predation, their notes and aggression pack like and just as vicious, yet especially in the second incitement there is a distraction from the carnivorous assault of irresistible grooves and hooks, though venom always wins out. This is in full evidence with the just plain ferocious Mentally Derange and the intensive pestilence that is Crack-Whores. Addictive and magnetic the second of the two is a major highlight of the album though surpassed, after the more than ok but underwhelming in comparison Life Eraser, by the excellent Raw Quad Orgy. Led in by thumping beats, and it has to be said that the drum and bass work on the tracks is exceptional, the track explodes into a tempest of abrasive ferociousness and rhythmic battering veined with grooves and virulently barbed lures which remind of Coilguns and Kunz at times. The most inventive and exploratory of their songs it is a stunning conclusion to their part of the split.

F is for Fuck You    Next band up is F Stands For Fuck You, and it has to be said the band right away kidnapped the passions and emerged as our clear favourites on the release. Making their recording debut on Miserable Fucking Society Split, the St-Etienne trio of drummer Kevin Foley (Sepultura, Benighted, Nervecell, Mumakil, The Seven Gates), vocalist Adrien Guérin (Benighted), and guitarist Alexis Lieu bring an inventive and scintillating breath to a central grindcore heart. From the growled squall of vocals marking the start of Zero, the song twists and writhes with imagination and lethally infectious hooks and grooves driven by excellent rhythmic enterprise and skill of Foley. The track ignites a ‘light-bulb’ in the passions almost instantly and has them celebrating something fresh and magnetically compelling. Thrusting waspish grinning grooves through the ear from the start before roughing up the same victims with bruising intensity and desire, Sound Of Nothing continues the impressive offering from the band  before both Fit and the sensationally riveting metal cored The Dead Men stomp and rampage on a swollen appetite with further furies of creative ingenuity and lung sucking energy. Debatably more hardcore than grindcore for these tastes with the band reminding at times of Irish bands Gacys Threads and Lantern For A Gale, both tracks set up a greater hunger which is immediately satisfied by the best song on the whole release.

     Fuck Off is pure sonic and anthemic alchemy, making its initial persuasion as a brawling hardcore bred outrage before with a drop of its shoulder slipping into a virulently contagious dance of hypnotic devilry and sonic festivities. Already in control of the emotions the track then invites in a southern Pantera and stoner like blaze of seduction to run off smiling broadly with the passions. Easily one of the best songs heard this year it is one of those tracks which marks a band as a keeper.

With their offering completed by Firesky and The Bombing, two more songs that only impress with their raw and rapacious creative rabidity, F Stands For Fuck You declares themselves as one of the most thrilling and promising bands to emerge this year anywhere.

Made up of vocalist Bleu, guitarist/vocalist Rom Sanchez, bassist John Culbuto, and drummer Elvis Jagger Abdul Jabbar, Miserable Failure doMiserable Failure not worry about making gentle introductions, well gentle anything as their five slices of rabid violence soon show. The Marseille quartet is pure anger and vitriol which pours uncontrollable from their first track Summoning Chaos right through to the last. The song opens with a menacing spoken vocal upon a slowly dawning ambience though it has no time to take hold as the band expose a heavy handed oppressive breath and launch into two minutes of unbridled sonic and vocal animosity. It is a nasty destructive confrontation which leaves senses and thoughts running scared and satisfaction widely awoken.

As the following even shorter red hot hellacious stabs the senses through the equally severe fires All Women Must Die, No More Friends, and None Shall Be Saved, Miserable Failure leave no doubt as to their promise and powerful craft but are given no favours by the production on their contribution which swings too far to the raw and caustic extreme leaving elements lost and almost toothless. In saying that, as they close with the acutely turbulent Inside Me you only want to hear more, just with a more understanding hand around the maliciousness.

     Quite simply the Miserable Fucking Society Split is an outstanding release bringing attention to three promising and impressive bands. What more could you ask for?

Full album now streaming at:

Infected Society 8.5/10

F Stands For Fuck You 9.5/10

Miserable Failure 7.5/10

Miserable Fucking Society Split 8.5/10

RingMaster 04/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nephren-Ka – The Fall of Omnius


As irresistibly addictive as it is feverously brutal, The Fall of Omnius is a riveting blaze of furious and technically magnetic death metal from a band which has already suggested it could be a big force within extreme metal.  French band Nephren-Ka not only further that promise but with their debut album but confirm they are the real and potent deal with a release and sound which is as carnivorous as you could wish for but stalked by an insidious undercurrent of melodic enterprise and barbed grooves which sneakily distract and seduce from the ravenous annihilation of the senses being raged above.

Hailing from Clermont Ferrand, the quartet of vocalist Laurent Chambe, guitarist/backing vocalist Sébastien Briat, bassist/ backing vocalist Alexandre Phalippon, and drummer Thibaud Pialoux build upon earlier successes with a masterful display of deliciously sculpted venomous invention and lethal imagination with their first full-length release. Following their Revenge and Supremacy EP of 2012, the album carves out a formidable and lingering presence on thoughts and senses. Inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune saga, rather than maybe the more expected Egyptian/Lovecraft premise as suggested by the band name, the Kaotoxin Records released, The Fall of Omnius is a full and vibrant, dark and intimidating confrontation which leaves hunger and passion a ripe response to its thunderous assault.

Butlerian Djihad immediately cascades heavily down on the ear, riffs and rhythms insatiable torrents which launch at the senses like a 760137902720_TOX027_Nephren-Ka_Artwork_600x600-300primal swarm of caustic animosity in bestial form. Entwining its ferocity is a waspish groove which licks addictively at the ear to raise the strongest seduction, the drum work of Pialoux is an unrelenting tempest of craft and fury. It is a towering start which secures full want and need to dive deeper into the release, its invention and unpredictable underbelly a teasing discovery beneath the more demanding surface which offers and gives more with each encounter.

The following Mastering the Voice slowly prowls and skirts the senses with a blackened almost doom laden intent before taking a serpentine breath and expelling a gaseous sonic venom through rhythmic and riff crafted malevolence. The track merges its lumbering predation and merciless rabidity into a compelling and at times swift savaging of the sense’s jugular with precise and taunting guitar temptation wagging its beckoning claws. Without quite matching its predecessor the song is a fanatical constantly shifting provocation softening up any resistance for the scintillating violence and virulence of Legend of Selim (Pt. 1: The Seeds of Discord). Torrential in its climate and annihilatory in its intent, the track is a resourceful and invigorating consumption leaving no synapse and fear unrifled. Once again though as invidious as it is, the technical craft and melodic acidity which flares up and washes eagerly over the imagination are enthralling and a balm to the otherwise vicious sonic typhoon.

Arguably without in depth investigation there is an uniformal violence at work which leaves its track seemingly mere steps away from what surrounds them, the likes of the crudely feral but inventively sculpted The Rise of Omnius and the gut borne Feydakins Storm forging a close surface savagery to those tracks prowling alongside them but holding an undercurrent of individuality and ingenuity which has to be worked for.

The sonically and rhythmically ruinous The Cymek Revolution brings another storm of barbaric enterprise, its unquenchable hornet like stinging grooves an irrepressible niggle within a juggernaut of sanguinary riffing and drum violence whilst its oppressive weighty climax is a lime pit of corrosive and vehement creative fecundity. The track simply chews up and spits out the senses before treading the debris beneath its cyclonic and purposeful spite.

The final trio of songs are just as magnetic and fearsome, the unpredictably fiendish Legend of Selim (Pt. 2: The return of the Worm Rider) and the draconically fiery Praise Shai-Hulud though close in presence further demanding  and welcome malignancies whilst the closing To the Golden Path is a final flesh flailing pestilence to fall before with a willing purpose.

Wrapped in the artwork of Stan W. Decker (Avalon, Vanden Plas, Dysmorphic…), The Fall of Omnius is an outstanding album which just needs time to unveil all its nasty and insidious treats. With the only moan being it is impossible to make out the lyrics from the otherwise excellent vocal tsunami of brutal passion, Nephren-Ka has unleashed one extremely accomplished and thrilling beast which suggests that they will only go from strength to even more hateful strength from here on in.


RingMaster 04/09/2013

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The Mezmerist – The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty


    The Mezmerist , a project which few have heard of and even less has music from, is the centre is attention from the newest release of Shadow Kingdom Records. A reissue of two EPs the band recorded back in the mid-eighties; The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is an intriguing and riveting insight to a band almost lost to time with a background as interesting as its engaging sounds.

The band was the project of Thomas Mezmercardo, a young guitarist taking influences from the likes of Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and Mahogany Rush into his own ideas and creativity. With a sound which merges psychedelic and classic/heavy metal driven with a strong mix of vocals highlighted at times with falsetto squalls and expression, The Mezmerist released The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty in 1985, the ‘double EP’ release filled with tracks recorded over two sessions two years apart.

The first notable thing about the release is that the 1983 4 track EP section features Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward alongside Mezmercardo and bassist Roger Abercrombie. As Ward was with Sabbath at the time his contribution was un-credited for legal reasons on the 500 copied pressing, which with the band holding on to a great many of the copies has become very collectable with those in the know and selling on eBay for extreme high prices. Mezmercardo himself has been a sought after and hard to find man since for many interested parties in re-releasing the EP, but finally tracked down and coming to an agreement with Shadow Kingdom for its reissue, which took five years to come to pass even from that point, the described as ‘ by far one of the best cult classic metal albums you’ll ever hear’, is finally available for all.

Whether the release does fit the label’s declaration is debatable but certainly it is an engrossing and enjoyable step back in decades which is very satisfying to have encountered. The first quartet of songs come from that previously mentioned 1983 session featuring Ward and starts with The Forsaken, a caustic atmospheric confrontation with the droning hum of destruction soaring its skies and stark chilling winds wrapping their cold intimidating tendrils around the spoken narrative of Mezmercardo. It is an excellent intro to the release though arguably what follows is an anti-climax to its ruinous suggestion as they seem to steer away musically from the menace and aggression laid down.

The following Dead Ones Cry No More is instantly expelling a scorched heat of guitar and sonic persuasion, a sizzling psychedelic haze on the wasteland of its predecessor. A Middle Eastern temptation lines the immediately skilful and entrancing guitar work framed by the appealing bass prowl and strong rhythmic craft of Ward, though neither of those steal the glory from the guitars or attention from the vocals of Mezmercardo whom when hitting those high levels takes a little getting to use to, his lower cleaner presence more preferable for personal tastes. The song is a sultry caress which opens up the appetite for the next up Arabian Nights, another song reaping those seductive eastern essences to fine effect.  There is a Led Zeppelin/Sabbath feel to the sound which draws in the emotions potently though this is tempered by the vocals which at this point has for these tastes, lost their flavour.

Victim of Environmental Change completes the first part in more than decent style though feels far more of a demo than the other tracks, before the three songs from the 1985 session take their place before the ear. With a line-up of Mezmercardo, bassist Steve Conrad, and drummer JR, as soon as Kingdom of the Dead steps forward there is a breeze of freshness and clarity over the previous songs. The bass has a swagger and mischief that has lips licked whilst the drums are easily an equal to what Ward offered previously. The vocals also have a greater control and persuasion with Mezmercardo staying to a less acidic delivery which with a raw and unfussy breath really works well with the great sounds around them. The track has a doom clad crawl and stalking to its presence whilst guitars and bass twist and turn with enterprise and invention.

No Family, No Friends has a definite punk stroll and snarl to its riffs, their hungry belligerent course seared and entwined in defined and potent sonic spirals of imagination and skill whilst the rhythms again cage it with eagerness and craft. Like the song before it is an excellent taunt for the passions and easily the pair steal the honours on the release.

Completed by the instrumental The Jam Song, a track which feels like it says, an improvised playtime for the musicians which flows and courts the imagination with ease, especially the underlying surf rock dance to its controlled charge, The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is a release all heavy metal fans should take a look at. A cult classic…maybe not, a thoroughly entertaining and flavoursome treat…undoubtedly.


RingMaster 04/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Houston – II

Photographer Linda Åkerberg

Photographer Linda Åkerberg

Not to be mistaken with the excellent Italian band Houston!, the Swedish band of the same name earned plenty of acclaim and deserved praise with their self-titled debut album. Consisting of melodically enflamed passion drenched songs  the release soon found its place at the top spot on the Classic Rock Magazine’s top AOR albums of 2010, whilst Houston went on to garner further recognition through live performances including a successful tour of the UK the following year. Now they return with their imaginatively named second album II, building on that strong plateau with more potent melodic rock which will feed the needs of all AOR, Foreigner, Journey, and Survivor fans.

With producer/keyboard player Ricky Delin becoming a full band member for the new album alongside vocalist Hank Erix and drummer Freddie Allen, the album again sees the band bringing in some of the best Swedish melodic rock musicians including Tommy Denander for the majority of the guitar work and long-time band associate Soufian Ma’Aoui on bass. Also featured across the ten tracks are the likes of Calle Hammer and Jay Cutter, whist offering backing vocal talent there is Victor Lundberg, Geir Ronning, Jessa Slatter, Kristoffer Lagerstrom, and Catharina Lindqvist. Released via Livewire/Cargo Records, the album is a flourish of melodic might and striking songwriting from start to finish and as mentioned if their genre is your chosen pleasure, the release is like aural manna at best and poetic expression in its least dramatic breaths.

As the opener Glory shows, there is also plenty to entice for those of us with a heart stoked by more aggressive and intensive delights. Houston_II_CoverThe track immediately engulfs the ear with the outstanding keys and craft of Delin, their embrace a soaring pull of the senses into the heart and sky of the song where they find the fine vocals of Erix courted by accomplished guitar flames and an inviting bass stroll. Whether the song offers anything new or unexpected, which can be applied to the album as a whole, can be debated between AOR enthusiasts and the more casual visitor, but undoubtedly the skill of the band and poise of the song leaves the senses more than eager to indulge the album in greater depths.

The strong start is followed by I’m Coming Home, the recently released to strong responses first single from the album. Vocal harmonies and the ever persuasive keys shape a vibrant and emotive narrative to enjoy with real appetite though there is a strong familiarity to something elsewhere, though at this point in time it escapes definition.  It makes a good appetiser for both Return My Heart and Talk To Me, the first a keen but restrained melodic blaze with anthemic lures whilst the second merges power ballad grandeur with a smouldering temptation with female backing vocals adding an extra kiss of warmth to the emotive embrace.

The likes of the expansive yet precisely honed 24 Hours and the radiant Losing with a great bass tone from Ma’Aoui marking its territory, leave the ear basking in pleasing heat and melodic prowess but all are blown away by Just Friends, the best track on the album. Led by the delicious tones of Minnah Karlsson, a Stevie Nicks lilt raising their potency, the song is a thrilling wind of dual vocals and harmonies, Karlssson and Erix complimenting perfectly to lift the passion and heights of the song to lofty levels whilst musically the track wraps their seduction with equally magnetic textures and charm.

With the easily accessible and infectious Believe closing off the album, II is a release which will leave AOR fans basking in its open triumphs and the rest of us admiring its craft and alluring presence though maybe more from afar than close up. Definitely for and recommended to every fan of Michael Bolton to Foreigner, Styx to Journey.


RingMaster 04/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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