Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Consciousness

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Eagerly on the heels of the must have From the Ashes of Nuclear Destruction album, a career spanning retrospective covering Toxic Holocaust rarities from the past decade, as well as The Yellowgoat Sessions  from the excellent solo project release from TH founder Joel Grind, the band unleash new album Chemistry of Consciousness. It is a rampaging beast of an album, a brutal tempest of punk edged thrash and rabid rock n’ roll which comes with the expected and richly familiar Toxic Holocaust stamp but also sneaks in a vein of contagion and addictive toxicity to move the release apart from previously albums and maybe more importantly the outstanding Conjure and Command yet still easily sitting within the distinctive, arguably expectations feeding course of the band. It is fair to say there is nothing ground breaking from the album for adrenaline fuelled metal but just as potently it provides one exhaustingly exhilarating and irresistible confrontation you will never tire of.

The Portland punk metallers as always are open with their inspirations, essences of the likes of Bathory, Venom, Slayer, Municipal Waste, GBH and more the additive to their own brew of creative petrol powering an explosive aggressive vehicle, in this case the raucously confronting Relapse Records released Chemistry Of Consciousness. The Kurt Ballou (Converge) mixed album has little need for niceties with opener Awaken The Serpent bitch slapping the ears with rolling rhythms, predation clad riffing, and the ever caustic tones of Grind scarring air and senses form its first breath. The addictive groove which swaggers throughout brings further temptation, showing that earlier mentioned intensive infectiousness to the uncompromising bait offered whilst the rhythmic assault of bassist Phil Zeller and drummer Nick Bellmore helps sculpt an enslavement which only Toxic Holocaust seems able to cast.

It is a senses stunning start soon taken further by the excellent Silence, the track a rapacious nagging of Grind’s guitar riffery and the chemistryofconsciousness_1500inventive rhythmic antagonism. A heavy metal flame is ever present across the song, a heat which explodes through incendiary sonic enterprise in the brief solo and the continually teasing melodic invention of the track. It is a refreshing and vibrant attack firmly backed up by the mighty Rat Eater. Opening with compelling, prowling intensity and rabidity, the guitar chugging purposely alongside similarly cagey rhythms, the track builds up a fiery and intimidating presence before throwing off any shackles to stomp rigorously through the ears with acidic sonic scythes and punishing rhythms behind squally gravelly vocals igniting further the already in place hunger.

   Salvation Is Waiting explodes with the same stance and power as its predecessor at the start, the track like many upon the album closely related in structure and intensity to others but inserting imaginative and in this case torrential outpourings of striking enterprise and riveting twists. The mix of familiar and new continues as a tsunami of unbridled rhythmic provocation marks out next up Out Of The Fire, a voracious crafting ripe within a sonic causticity which breeds greater appetite for the evolving cantankerous adventure and power that is Chemistry of Consciousness whilst the excellent Acid Fuzz simple provides another pinnacle for the release. With a fire of melodic metal and cataclysmic rhythms driving the song instantly into the passions as spirals of sonic addictiveness and Grind’s scowling delivery not ignoring his appetite filling guitar flumes turn the track magnetic, the encounter strides forth as a thrilling blaze of heavy metal sculpted thrash.

Every track is a lingering gem upon the album, very few striking up the turf of new pastures admittedly but all revitalising well-worn destruction littered fields, the likes of the carnivorously honed Deny The Truth and the punishing Mkultra continuing the persistently satisfying presence of the album whilst songs such as I Serve… and International Conspiracy almost bruise the listener into willing submission whilst feeding all thrash metal wants with that Toxic Holocaust individuality.

The album finishes with the exceptional title track, a song which certainly bids for top honours and maybe steals it with its rhythmic ravaging of the ear and savage riffery guided by the constantly combative delivery of Grind. It is a compelling brawl of a conclusion to a typical yet ridiculously satisfying Toxic Holocaust album. Chemistry of Consciousness may not quite be the album of the year in the cold light of day but without doubt it is one of the most enjoyable and arousing to cross our thrash lit paths.

http://www.toxicholocaust.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 31/10/2013

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Black Crown Initiate – Song Of The Crippled Bull

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Scintillating and breath-taking, Song Of The Crippled Bull from US progressive death metallers Black Crown Initiate is a staggering debut which adds another pinnacle to the year and the genre. To be fair, the Reading, PA band cannot be simply tagged as above as their imagination, craft, and invention explores and employs an extensive expanse of styles and ingenuity for a fluid and magnetic ever evolving tempestuous adventure. Whether seducing or gnawing the senses to within an inch of their sanity, the band and release is a torrential storm of extremes and skilled enterprise merged into one giant and seamless ravishment.

Formed by Andy Thomas (guitars/clean vocals) and Nick Shaw (bass) with James Dorton (vocals) last year, Black Crown Initiate has taken little time in igniting the imagination and passions with their mouthwatering technical skill and ingenuity applied to exhaustive extreme and progressive metal brilliance. Recorded with Carson Slovak at Atrium Audio in Pennsylvania, the four track Song Of The Crippled Bull EP thrusts the threesome straight to the frontline of extreme metal brilliance and boundary pushing, ferocious invention. Now since the recording of the EP a quintet with the addition of Jeff Willet (drums) and Rik Stelzpflug (guitar), Black Crown Initiate stand poised to bring a new inciting melodic fire and corruptive provocative fury to the world.

Playing as one complete journey made up of four compelling movements Song of the Crippled Bull opens with Stench of the Iron Age, a BLACK_CROWN_INITIATE-COVER_300x300piece which tells you all you need to know about the inventive intent and superbly crafted technical exploits bred within the band. A tender guitar caress makes the first temptation, its touch emotive and gentle. It is soon joined by a riveting bass presence, its snarl vibrant and eager, and equally energetic and festive rhythms. Once the outstanding mellow vocals of Thomas unveil the narrative over the mix the band already has attention and imagination dancing to its tune, the song at its start a tempting Opeth/Absolace like suasion. There is a jazz almost avant-garde air to the offering which without ever coming near to slipping into indulgence magnetises thoughts and emotions but it is once the track explodes into a carnivorous foraging of the ears and beyond that the fire is truly burning brilliantly and severely. The causticity of the harsh carnal tones of Dorton are as potent and addictive as the clean persuasion of Thomas and musically the storm of rhythmic intensity and sonic savagery is a destructive annihilatory rabidity which leaves the listener wasted and blissful. It is only the start of the persistently shifting and evolving triumph though, a melodic weave with a Muse like seed wrapping its tendrils around the brawl and a doom bred weight smothering any emerging light for a Meshuggah like predation to overwhelm everything in its creative path. To its end the track continues to writhe and flame with a delicious blend of electrifying toxicity and intoxicating imagination, merging into Ghosts She Sends to ensure no gulp of air is allowed to be taken and the listener given respite.

The second track expels a carnal swagger from the corrosive breath it starts with, a rapacious tempting soon immersed within the oppressive storm cloud but still laying down deep irresistible hooks impossible. The fury breaks as a golden melodic evocative glaze strokes new flumes of emotions and thoughts into action, guitars and bass providing an inventively woven walk through understanding, respectful sceneries. Shadows still lurk and Dorton is never far away from unleashing his powerful squalls which are met and empowered further by the scorching cleaner cries of Thomas. Again skill and adventure is a boiling persuasion across the track and hunger for its excellence as greedy as the intent of the sounds it craves.

The brutal finale of the song makes the initial challenge of The Mountain Top, though the drums and bass twist out an individual irresistible and lethal tapestry of addiction alongside the despoiling riffs and grievous vocals of Dorton. It is a savage enslavement but one which imperiously brings a stunning melodically cast infection drenched chorus into the mix with such skill and insight that it feels as organic within the violent bedlam as the on-going side by side swipes of destruction. The shortest track on the release it, as all slips magnificently into the next, the exhilarating closing title track. Bringing the EP in many ways full circle, the final piece is a fiery stroll with the bass again sheer contagion and clean vocals similarly enthralling. With melodies and premises closely aligned to the starter if not repeated, it makes for a circular passage of reflection and danger which is as malevolent and engaging as at any point on the release and as magnificent.

The PRC Music released Song of the Crippled Bull is quite monumental, the rising of a new ingenious progressive leviathan for extreme metal in the startling shape of Black Crown Initiate. Dare you miss one of the best things to imaginatively assault the ear this year?

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Tribune – Tales

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Rich in diversity and imaginative enterprise, Tales the new album from Canadian metallers Tribune is an encounter which acts like a magnet for the passions and a vibrant instigator of thoughts. Merging extreme and melodic metal into a fiery compulsion which is never less than contagious and more often than not potently riveting, the Vancouver quintet in their third album have created an encounter to eagerly prey upon and devour greedily. It is not one equipped to set the metal world on fire but in keeping it simmering and thoroughly engaging it is an undeniable success.

The seeds of the band began in 2004 with guitarist Terry Anderson and drummer Jason Brown deciding to form a band together. Already friends the pair soon recruited bassist Jess Garner into their heavy metal based project as well as vocalist Bryan Baker, the quartet emerging as Blacklist. The departure before the end of the year of Garner saw Ryan O’Shea brought into the line-up whilst 2005 saw the band firstly rename themselves as Tribune and release debut album Home Sweet Hell. Guitarist Shawn Culley expanded the band’s line-up soon after as Tribune continued to write and hone their sound. The Rotting Core EP emerged in 2009 showing the continuing evolution of the band’s sound with second album Elder Lore / The Dark Arts drawing good acclaim and eager responses last year. With a fine reputation earned for their live performances which have seen Tribune alongside the likes of 3 Inches of Blood, Titans Eve, Archspire, Unleash and many more, Tales looks set to lift the profile and stature of the five piece to greater strength and awareness  as well as leaving plenty of appetites fulfilled if not bloated.

A nine chapter concept album taking inspiration from the works of some of the world’s most renowned authors, including H.P. Lovecraft,T00963_Digipak_FrontCover H.G. Wells and Homer, the Corpse Corrosion Music released Tales opens with its instantly impressive title track. The movement of paper and pages makes an initial impression before the track erupts into an adrenaline honed blaze of firm rhythms, stirring riffs, and great vocals. Predominantly clean with bursts of aggressive scowls, the vocals of Baker draw thoughts of Volbeat singer/guitarist Michael Poulsen whilst musically the resourceful mix of death and melodic metal strides around him with a confident and contagious swagger. The song does not burn new avenues of metal but certainly ignites an enthusiastic appetite for the superbly crafted sonic adventure and vocal persuasion on offer. Rife with addictive hooks and melodic flames which singe the imagination the song is a formidable lure into the release, a vibrant enticement which also inspires flickers of Dommin meets Lamb Of God in thoughts.

Both Insectoid and The Butterfly Effect provide further intensive persuasion for ears and thoughts even if neither manages to reach the same pinnacle as their predecessor. The first unleashes a savage assault from the off, rhythms and riffs an unbridled predation but equally the gateway into infectious melodic climes which emerge within and wrap around the persistently voracious intensity and carnally rapacious sounds. Its successor with the bass of O’Shea simultaneously enthralling whilst enjoyably almost at odds with the rest of the song, is a less destructive venture but does not short change on senses barracking riffs and bone splitting rhythms. There is also a familiarity to the songs which does them no harm as it is an undefined source and makes them easily accessible if lacking the wow factor.

From Funeral to Funeral coats the ear in intrigue and mesmeric sonic craft from the start, the guitars placing an incendiary narrative upon the crisp rhythmic canvas while its premise is explored and elevated by the again impressive vocals paraded across the imaginative tempest. It makes for an attention holding storm which intensifies through the following Horror, another lofty highlight of the album. A melodramatic piano sculpted ambience teases the imagination first before the song charges through a ravaging expanse of insatiable vengeful invention. Every aspect of it is unpredictable and rigorously enterprising, the explosive endeavour seemingly pulling elements of the likes of Disturbed, The Black Dahlia Murder, Clutch and more into its scintillating proposition.

The fiery King of Ithaca, where that earlier Volbeat reference also reaches the music, and the sadistically stalking and heavily bestial Vengeance both keep the engagement secure and intensive, whilst Red Crescent is a serpentine temptation which as in all songs fuses its nastiest darkest elements with its most acidically enflamed to create an absorbing attraction and subsequent slavery of the passions. Leaving That Bleakest Shore to finish things off with another major highlight of inventive exploration, Tribune has forged one exciting and deeply satisfying album. Tales will not take you down unknown paths or into dangerous unchartered corners of melodic death metal but undoubtedly provides a torrent of impacting and pleasing exploits which fulfils from start to finish and leaves you wanting more.

www.TribuneMetal.com

8/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Hybreed Chaos – Dying Dogma

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    Dying Dogma is far from being an easy listen or is the kind of company which rewards a casual attitude attention wise, towards its fury but for violent, uncompromising technically bred progressive death metal it is a confrontation which once struck down by, is a scar which deeply lingers whilst inciting strong reactions. The album comes from Canadian metallers Hybreed Chaos, a band featuring ex-Paroxysm drummer Franck Camus and current Cryptopsy session bassist Olivier Pinard. It is a release which has little time on seduction, its every breath and action a vicious rage of sonic imagination and brutal enterprise, and provides little comfort in its touch or exploits, just savage intensity and intentions aligned to a craft and endeavour which ignites the imagination.

The PRC Music released Dying Dogma moves through its brief intro, Birth of Chaos, into the instantly ferocious and debilitating A Machine for Pigs. From its start the vocals and guitars need little persuasion in scoring and threatening the senses, the guttural squalls a vindictive causticity with equal poison in the twisting and intriguing guitar exploration. Around this the rhythmic framework has an intimidation and eagerness which can snap at any moment, whilst grooves and hooks add their unique insidious temptation throughout the tempestuous fury to lure in the emotions to greater depths, their poise and fascination waking further an appetite for the challenge ahead.

Dismembered Purity crawls through the ear and all over the senses, its doomy presence a canvas for the crippling inventive rhythmic battering and the corrosive riffing to add their ruinous nature to. There is arguably not the fluidity to the song of its predecessor, some of the certainly enthralling elements lying uneasy within the soiling intent, but equally the jagged mix of ideas, though making the encounter less persuasive at first, creates a carnal torment which grows into a strong convincing of the imagination across numerous violations.

The following Emperor also takes a relatively slow consumptive meandering of the senses and psyche, its smouldering toxicity expressing a transfixing furnace of inventive manipulation and technical maliciousness which tests and provokes the listener into eager if distressed attention. Its successor Defiled Servitude is much the same, it’s even more bedlamic ingenuity and torrent of ideas a gripping yet nasty compromise for the passions and imagination. Repetition, a tempting drone, and sonic psychosis all litter the experiment on the psyche whilst its riffery and rhythmic frame enslave a now greedy appetite for the assault of the album.

Dying Dogma is completed by Charogne and Silent Agony, both two more mountainous and monstrous sonically esurient savages built on technical invention and warped imagination. The first of the pair offers the album’s most contagious and almost addictively straight forward moment yet, though it still explores a depth of ideation which is just spellbinding. The closing song matches this to leave the album at its strongest point, the track a devil bred slab of creative vehemence that works on every aspect of the senses and emotions. A release for those with a taste for the likes of Gorguts, Cryptopsy, Immolation, and Devourment, Dying Dogma is an album which makes you work and work hard before revealing its full might but makes it all worthwhile in the long run. If an easy metal driven life is for you than Hybreed Chaos certainly is not.

https://www.facebook.com/HybreedChaos

8/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Mongrel – Snakes

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The first release since the outstanding Reclamation album of 2012, US punk metallers Mongrel unleash their new single Snakes and continue to set new standards for themselves and aspiring rock/metal bands. Taking from their upcoming Evolution EP which is slated for an early 2014 release, the new track employs all the renowned and expected inventive and addictive aspects of the band but gives them a new fire to burn explosively within further exploration from the band and their songwriting. As anthemic and contagious as you would expect from the Boston quartet, Snakes reinforces the hunger of their fans for their bruising, riotous sounds whilst laying down plenty of bait to recruit new greedy hearts.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has over the years evolved into a highly sought after live band and a formidably potent studio encounter with a wealth of releases strikingly marking their steady and continual rise. Since forming the band has laid waste to stages alongside the like of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, and the Misfits numerous times as well as touring with others such as FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, and Michale Graves, all the time continually drawing acclaim. Equally from the start their releases have lit up the passions of fans as well as the independent airwaves, the band a regular on the likes of shows at http://www.Audioburger.com and The Bone Orchard podcast, but it is fair to say that the full potency and heart of the band exploded when they enticed vocalist Jessica Sierra into the fold, her snarling vocal beauty igniting something lying dormant in the band with previous frontmen. Through The New Breed of Old School and Declamation EPs on to Reclamation, Mongrel has grown and evolved into an intensive and magnetic force which Snakes only elevates further.

The single wastes no time in tempting the ears as the guitar of Savage skilfully strokes the extremities with his inviting riffs, its call soon a0370760246_2joined by a pulsating bass call from Michael Ariza and the crisp beats provided by drummer Mike Hogan. Settling into an open temptation, the power and thrust of the song is taken up another level as Sierra punches the lyrical intent forcibly and melodically into the imagination. All the while there is a reserved but persistent groove which wages seduction upon the senses throughout the song, it enticing greater passion and hunger from the listener and it is fair to say that at this point the single has submission already in its hands. This is not enough though it seems as the instigator then shifts seamlessly into an evocative and intimidating yet smouldering flame of sonic endeavour and emotive persuasion which has the band pushing their boundaries and ideas without losing their core energy and intensity. The moment is brief but potent and makes for a building step for the final adrenaline lit finale. There is a certain pop punk element to Snakes which arguably has not appeared before with Mongrel and it is a refreshing move brought with craft and adventure which avoids eroding any of the band’s confrontation and  inciting invention.

It is hard not to be excited and full of impatient anticipation for the Evolution EP thanks to Snakes, but the wait will be relatively short and the single ensuring the time is well fed with its incendiary exploits. A name your own price release at Mongrel’s Bandcamp profile, the single is the perfect invitation for those new to one of metal’s best ‘undiscovered secrets’.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com/music

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Whores – Clean EP

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It is generally agreed that the Ruiner EP of 2011 was one exceptional introduction to its creators, a release which thrust US intensive noise rockers Whores straight into the centre of eager attention and marked them out as a band with the promise and armoury to become a possible tour-de-force to come. Their new release, the Clean EP not only confirms those early suspicions and expectations but in many ways blows its impressive predecessor out of the water whilst still declaring there is still plenty more to come from within the Atlanta trio. It is an unrelenting juggernaut of power and invention, a brute before which the passions soon fall to gleefully bask in the merciless ravaging triumph it unleashes.

Formed in 2010 Whores took little time in igniting the energies and hunger of fans locally with their rapacious heavyweight blend of aural provocation which plays like a voracious mix of Helmet, Jesus Lizard, Melvins, and UK band The St Pierre Snake Invasion. Their Brutal Panda Records released debut soon placed the band before worldwide awareness, its ferocious no hold barred invention an undoubted gripping entrance. With acclaim and success breeding around the band for that release and their live performances which has found the band alongside the likes of Torche, Kylesa, The Atlas Moth, Royal Thunder and many more, Whores now unleash their sophomore attack and quite simply the Ryan Boesch (Melvins, Helmet, Tomahawk, Fu Manchu) recorded Clean is the band taking another major step forward.

Again unleashed via Brutal Panda, the EP immediately stands snarling at the ears with the guitar opening of Baby Bird. The riffs of 1006024_605198922834746_308244883_nChristian Lembach are a cantankerous rub soon joined by the earthy bass growl of Jake Shultz, its throaty prowl instantly irresistible alongside the swinging thumping rhythmic assault of Travis Owen. It is a potent combination which takes on another guise and toxicity when Lembach restrains his fingers to let his vocals impressively swagger across the now primarily rhythm cast crowding of the senses. The track is an evolving, exhilarating contagious brawl of punk predation and riff clad incitement which feeds the senses as well as the already brewed hunger to the fullest enterprising meal of nose rock.

The immense start is continued through Last Looks, another track with a carnal breath to its bass and sonic endeavour and an antagonistic ingenuity to its invention. Vocals and guitar provide a rapacious presence which crawls over and permeates the psyche with intimidation, though it withholds any violent intent to make a seductive caustic embrace rather than a vicious assault upon the senses. Like its predecessor there is a rampant imagination to the track and a craft which elevates every lure and idea to another potent depth whilst its infectiousness defies any refusal from thoughts and passions.

      I Am Not A Goal-Oriented Person from its first seconds is a stalking temptation, the bass a cantankerous reptile coring the tempest whilst the sonic web of guitar and aligned riff rabidity oppresses the ear with a deliciously magnetic sonic squall of adventure and senses ravishing toxicity. Without quite matching the previous tracks, the song still easily feeds the awoken keen appetite for Clean which its successor, Cougars, Not Kittens equally matches and inspires a little more greed from. Verging on psychotic in its early sonic breath and exhaustingly expressive vocals, the track unfolds a groove which winds pleasingly around the ears before the heavy tempestuous doomy aspect of its heart takes the brief and impacting slab of muscle to a pungently intensive conclusion.

Next up Blue Blood lumbers through the ear with a sludge rock texture to its virulent bait, a heady full on weight which across the leviathan of a song steps aside for rivetingly addictive restrained garage punk spawned teases and lures where vocals and slowly chugging riffs play over an awaiting rhythmic confrontation. It is a masterful animalistic hunt sculpted with invention and epidemically enthralling mastery, a mix of Queens Of The Stone Age and Mclusky honed into an imaginative sonic scourge.

     I Am An Amateur At Everything completes the EP with a fire of sonic infiltration and rhythmic badgering, both aspects driven brilliantly by the ever compelling vocals and equally dramatic and corrosive bass marauding. It is a song which manages to be immediately addictive and also a smouldering slow burning entrapment of the passions to thrillingly close out an outstanding and aggressively intoxicating feast of noise. Skewering the passions with every barb on every hook offered whilst ensuring that anticipation for future releases from Whores will be impatient and rabid, Clean is one of the highlights of the year and another declaration of just how major Whores is destined to be.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whores/108004672554176

9.5/10

RingMaster 28/10/2013

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Ann Scott – Venus To The Sky

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Wrapped in the warm and mesmeric tones of Irish singer songwriter Ann Scott from within songs which equally transfix with seductive elegance and smouldering beauty upon her latest release, it is very easy to see why the artist has been richly acclaimed in her homeland and beyond. Her new album Venus To The Sky is a magnetic persuasion, one which toys with and evokes the imagination into exploring self-reflective climes as well as those offered from inside the ten track evocation. It is a masterful release which has attention and emotions lit from start to finish, and appetite for the darkly sirenesque charms of Scott dipped in hunger.

From her well-received debut album Poor Horse, Dubliner Scott has been no stranger to acclaim as she forged a position of being one of the Ireland’s most creative and unique emerging artists. Her blend of folk and indie pop imagination has seen her twice nominated in the best female category for the Irish Meteor Awards and the albums We’re Smiling and Flo garnering her an ever increasing and potent critical acclaim and greedily growing fan base. Live she has also earned a striking reputation, the sharing of stages with the likes of Patti Smith, Howe Gelb, and Fairport Convention whilst her collaborative projects and touring duties with a great many has only increased her stature. Fourth album Venus To The Sky finds Scott fronting a full band and stepping in to even greater pastures of shadowed aural dreamlike textures and lyrical adventure. Co-produced with Karl Odlum and with a line-up of Dave Hingerty, Kim Porcelli, Katherine Atkinson, Gemma Hayes, and Katell Keineg helping bring her songs into compelling realisation, the album makes a thrilling persuasion which plays within the realms of riveting to irresistible with every breath it takes.

The song Hoola opens up the release with bewitching guitar crafted ambience and a slowly beckoning melodic invitation. It is instantly a Ann-Scotthaunting lure to which attention is inevitable and full focus given once the vocals of Scott enter to caress the ears. Her voice is a smooth and mouth-watering melodic flame but one which is emphasised even more in other tracks as having keen adventure to its invention like her music. With repetition a contagious air to a harmonically droning enchantment the track is an enthralling start for the album one which is lifted another level by the following You To Me. A lone guitar strokes the ears first before soon being joined by Scott, her voice finding an organic texture which is as honest as the narrative it portrays. With restrained military rhythmic juggling skirting the vocals and guitar, there is an undefined familiarity about the song which adds to its instant appeal whilst the building spires of rock bred emotive and intensive melodic fire only provides a stronger pleasure to eagerly enjoy.

Both Unite and Stripes offer their individual temptations to continue the grip of the album. The first has an atmospheric embrace and impacting emotional wash which reminds of the A Forest era of The Cure. Aligned to the vocals which play like a mix of Tanya Donelly and Dolores O’Riordan, the song again pushes levels to be backed firmly by its successor, the track a melodic flight with a plumage of melancholic strings and harmonic grace which dances tenderly with the senses whilst coaxing the imagination into a delicious seduction.

The opening bass sway of Joy again reminds of The Cure in many ways, its throaty respect the major vein to a weave of emerging poignant stimulation which again hold senses and thoughts tightly. Like the album it is fair to say it is a bit of a slow burner, more textures and shadows being discovered the more company you allow it with greater awards given in return. It is the same with the sultry simmer of Coming Up and the slow winding kisses of For The First Time, the two songs offering a mesmeric contact which is only a tip of their depths and need time to immerse within, something easy to do such the initial arousing allurement they tease with.

Solemn is another track which took time to fully persuade, its country laced folk bait not immediately convincing for personal tastes but the song evolving from there, whilst still employing that spice, into a wholly enticing encounter with guitars and vocals especially beguiling. There is no need to wait for the glory of next up All About Love to engulf ears and passions. The song is a magnificent slice of enchanted pop, its golden breeze of melodic wonder a breath-stealing sunset of craft and ingenious enterprise which seduces the emotions into an evocative frenzy of pop alchemy. It is easily the best moment on the album in an expanse of only impressive songs and alone shows why Scott is thought of as one of the most exciting emerging artists.

Completed by the celestial dream cast fascination of Stars, the song a final enchantment, Venus To The Sky is a full bodied temptress which leaves only intensive pleasure in its wake. Though the album never explodes into the fire it sometimes suggests is waiting, Ann Scott leaves satisfaction full to the brim with songs which tell the most arresting stories lyrically and musically.

http://www.annscott.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/10/2013

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