Face Down – The Long Lost Future


Building on their well-received first EP The Runaway of 2010, French band Face Down return with a raging blaze of a release in debut album The Long Lost Future. Consisting of eleven tracks which consume the ear like a tornado and buffet the senses in a torrential downpour of thrash riffery and stoner/southern rock heat, the album is a pulse racing riot of contagious enterprise and breath-taking energy not forgetting accomplished invention. Not quite a ground breaking release but certainly offering something fresh and exhilarating to thrash, band and album is a ridiculously magnetic storm for which hunger and passion comes easy.

The Parisian quintet , complete with a new vocalist takes the essences and qualities of their previous release into a greater fire of passion and adventurous invention, each track upon The Long Lost Future superbly sculpted and unleashed with flare and thoroughly addictive energy. It does not take long for the band to corner and persuade ears and thoughts through opener Lone Ranger, the track an immediate fall of thumping rhythms and powerful riffs which settles before stalking and parading around the senses crisp commanding drum suasion and potent riffing which leaves the air heated and emotions alert. The vocals provide a scratchy gruffness which only enhances the presence of the song, especially when it ventures into an aside of bass led melodic restraint and temptation. The song is a strong introduction but only the appetiser for greater things to come which starts with the next up My Last Tequila.

As previously the band launch themselves at the ear with eagerness, a carnivorous tone to the bass a devilish coaxing whilst the fire bred riffs and sonic scythes do their devilry on the passions. The song as ultimately the whole of The Long Lost Future comes over like a bleeding union of Bloodsimple and I-Def-I with a healthy dose of Crowbar and Hell Yeah juice added to the mix. There is a familiarity to release and song which reaps those seeds for greater attraction whilst equally the band unveils their own distinctive charms and invention to leave them standing apart from most.

Horse Power makes a compelling entrance, its southern breath around the acoustic and guitar elegance quite irresistible. The seduction offered soon leads the listener into a towering weight wall of heavy metal excellence, sonic mastery veining the almost tsunami like energy and rhythmic provocation. With the vocals continuing to impress as richly as the instrumentation, the song leaves lips being licked and emotions stoked harder. Its chugging climax lays down even stronger bait to excite the appetite once again for the following Smokecoat. Complete with opening sonic teases, punchy rhythms, and the required cowbells, the song is soon into a stride of prickly riffery and grumbling bass stalking. As its predecessor the track inspires easy submission to its tempting and melodic flames, and though it is more of a slow burner compared to earlier tracks the song eventually takes the same grip of the passions as anywhere else on the album, its passion and fire in the belly impossible to refuse.

There is an interlude of sorts next, well more an allowance of breaths being taken. Under the Sun is an absorbing evocative instrumental of southern sultriness within a medium paced caress watched over by a brooding shadows wrapped ambience. It is a glorious piece and fits perfectly within the album even if of a different kin to its thrash and adrenaline fired companions, especially Kiss of Death. The track is a raging storming stomp of thrash rapaciousness, guitars and rhythms as well as vocals all surging through the ear with instinctive exciting rabidity and mouthwatering raucousness.

Both Only Human and N°1 Must Die swagger across senses and imagination with eager attitude and in the case of the first a towering almost intimidating mountain range of rhythmic demanding and lyrical/vocal causticity. It is a glorious brawl which like all the songs is unafraid to quickstep expectations, the song twisting and turning its body into numerous imaginative detours and through epidemically magnetic ideas. Its successor is more of the same in structure and individual in voice, riffs and rhythms finding a barbarous intent matched by the intensive vocals which offer fury and vitriol without losing the great clarity which allows the whole song and words to breathe.

Blow Away the Dust brings another flavour to the album, its expressive melodic colour and sonic hues creating a scenic narrative whilst still taking the lock off of some of the most hellacious intensive and thoroughly pleasing torrents of sound and energy on the album. With the excellent Poker Time providing a final full hand of southern spawned thrash and almighty passion it is just left for the short instrumental of Evil Blues to bring a close to one deeply satisfying and thrilling encounter. Whether The Long Lost Future is rewriting the future or direction of thrash is debatable but it and Face Down certainly gives it a new vein of impressive adventure.




RingMaster 04/10/2013

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Abysse – En(D)Grave


Three years in the making, En(D)Grave the debut album from French instrumental metallers Abysse openly reveals all the passion, fire, and determination which went into its creation. The seven track release is an extensive exploration of bold adventurous lands and emotions; ventures fraught with warriors and bravery, shadows and danger but all brought forth with a potent sinew driven narrative that leaves no emotive intensive stone unturned and inventive imagination untapped.

Formed in 2004, the quartet from Cholet, Maine-et-Loire of bassist Jérémy Cas, drummer Sebastien Pineau, and guitarists Vincent Barbaud and Geoffrey Veron, unveiled their first demo Eight Hours Before Dawn two years later. Followed by the De Profondeur en Immersion EP of 2007 the band was already igniting thoughts and passions towards their experimental progressive metal composing and its accomplished realisation but it was the Le Vide est Forme EP the following year which really put a match under acclaim for their inventive offerings, a fuse which has been replaced by an explosive trigger with En(d)Grave. The previous release was also the key to seeing Abysse touring France and further afield, the band sharing stages with the likes of Kruger, Rosetta, Hacride, Impure Wihelmina, and Klone whilst also lighting up stages at festivals such as Hellfest and Motocultor. The new album has all the strength and invention to send the band into further passions and lands as the band brings world metal a real taste of French ingenuity.

From a sonic brewing ambience Eagle Of Haast makes a gentle Eastern breath toned entrance to start off the album, strong punchy rhythms making a welcoming frame to the already inviting melodic allure. With muscles flexing and the initial sonic mist turning into an evocative storm the track leads the imagination on an adventurous and darkened flight through intimidating shadows with barbarous atmospheres and incendiary colour rich melodic flames. It is a track which offers thoughts of bravery and savagery simultaneously but as a union rather than a battle or of destructive intent. Certainly with the rhythmic craft and intensity there is no doubting the menace and rapaciousness of the narrative yet with superb imagination and sculpted evocation of the guitars it is a journey of rewards and passion rather than unbridled danger.

The following Ten Thousand Changes discovers a voracious passion and energy to its charge through the ear but again it is a landscape of emotive persuasion which ebbs and flows in the energy and force of its attack whilst burning up thoughts and vision with its poetically charged sonic painting. The song suggests intensive climactic occurrences in large crescendos whilst allowing breathers and recovery through mellow yet no less intense melodic coaxing. It is a stirring track which though not as instance for the emotions as the first emerges just as impressive and pleasing for the rampant appetite already inspired by the release.

Mastodon as you would expect from its title is not lacking muscles and weight or an intensity to smother and consume the ear and beyond. It is a ravenous treat, the bass as vociferously throaty and snarling as anywhere on the album whilst riffs drill and grind away at the senses as sonic flames light up the oppressive and addictively contagious body of the track. At times there is a Metallica groove teasing and peering through the heady atmosphere whilst other moments you are reminded of the song’s namesakes but from start to finish the confrontation is an immense and formidably commanding joy.

Through Forest Monument and Sharp & Chrome, Abysse continue to impress and ignite the passions, the first of the pair a classic metal seeded fire with spirals of melodic and sonic craft searing its walls. It takes its time in investigating and painting the surrounding textures and hidden corners of the landscape parading their beauty and perils with again rhythmic incitement and deliciously descriptive guitar ferocity in league with melodic cunning and craft. Its successor is just as strong a persuasive image instigator, the white hot flames of the guitar’s imagination and skill a prickly rapture breeding provocateur skirted by the ever imposing and lead taking rhythmic hunger and predation of bass and drums. A tempestuous piece the track is a furnace of passionate intensity, and just as magnetic, fierce, and beautiful.

The Blue Wave Recordings released album is completed by the air sucking Golden Life, a track which smoulders and seduces, scalds and combusts into irrepressible beauty and broiling expansive heights, and the corrosively candescent Light For Wheke. The closer alone provides an exhausting wholly rewarding traverse of climactic and illustrious climes and within the might that is En(D)Grave, provides the final glorious invigorating flight through a union of darkness and light, a union constantly on the edge. Abysse has provided without doubt one of the most scintillating and emotionally rewarding not just instrumental but metal album of the year.




RingMaster 04/10/2013


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Beaten To Death – Dødsfest!


Though oxygen was needed in copious amounts in the aftercare needed following listening to the raw and nasty deluge that was Xes And Strokes; it was a violation with a destructive intensity which was viscerally hostile but well worth the suffering such its creative ferocity and mischief. Now a year and a half later or so, Norwegian band Beaten To Death return with its successor, another must have corrosion of grindcore for which paramedics on speed dial is a must. Bestial and malicious with that underlying devilry and humour which marked their debut, the Oslo quintet turn up the agony and pleasure with twelve tracks of vicious corruptive noise to leave ears bleeding and passions seeping.

Beaten To Death was formed in 2011 by guitarists Martin Rygge and Tommy Hjelm (both of metal quartet Insense), and drummer Christian “Bartender” Svendsen (of Tsjuder, The Cumshots), the trio soon joined by bassist Mika Martinussen and vocalist Anders Bakke (of She Said Destroy). Debut album Xes and Strokes immediately set the senses running for cover whilst aflame with addiction, its nineteen minute onslaught causing more damage and pleasure than a fair number of the weighty extensive extreme metal releases savaging the ear at the time. Now Dødsfest! does the same to again leave so many other bands simultaneously seeming lumbering and lightweight.

Like its predecessor, the new album is released via Mas-Kina Recordings and instantly has ear and senses in its jaw with opener Vulpes beatentodeath_dodfestVulpes, Mustela Lutreola, Praedium. Drum slaps trigger a fury of sonic pestilence with a blackened breath to vocals and intensity before dropping into an intensive groove which ignites a flame of contagion gripped passion, even with the caustic animosity of the vocals which twist around their delivery across the two minute torrent of evolving thrilling noise. Getting stronger and more potent the further into its squall the track epitomises the album and its creative tempest in one lethal stroke.

The following ravishments of The Egg Thrower and Krepsekamp keep flesh and emotions sore and greedy, the first with its rapacious rubbing of the ear through acidic riffs and intertwined melodic teases and the second with a hellacious serpentine fire of sonic blistering veined by again deceptive melodic taunting and rhythmic punctuation to the furious confrontation. The tracks are short, barely enough time to make that emergency call but so powerful and potently virulent that hunger is the only real lasting outcome.

True Norwegian Internet Metal Warrior is a carnivorous predator which starts with a mild, well in comparison to other moments, scrubbing of the ear and like the opener takes time to boil up its toxicity which subsequently emerges in a senses chewing, imagination coaxing, annihilatory prowl. Its strong presence is soon matched by firstly by the unbridled aural violence of the title track and then the perilous Erik Og Skrik. With vocals a guttural maelstrom rising and falling through numerous textures and sounds which find a predation even packs of wolves would run from, this twenty seven second cacophony of discordant grindcore toxin is a scintillating burning treat.

Next up Døv, Døvere, Død is almost tame, it’s opening melodic weave enchanting even around the insidious vocals and rhythmic juggling of enticing and crippling beats. It pushes the already open variety of the album further and into greater clarity whilst still uncaging some of the most repulsive riveting infectious animosity and sonic sadism possible. It is at this point where the band seems to explore other depths and corners of their creativity, the likes of Obliteration Of Nekromantheon and The Flesh Prince With Swell Hair employing more melodic entanglements for the senses and imagination to climb over as well as a hardcore element which brings to mind fellow Norwegians Shevils, through the pure spiteful fury of Nazi Slippers in between ensures there is no escape from or ideas of safety with Beaten To Death. The emergence of the violent sonic abuse and almost at times tender and mesmeric adventure is seamless and perfectly crafted leaving the listener cowering but equally seduced.

Aspen Hellweek and Vinni Butterfly complete a brilliant album in fine fearsome style, the first of the pair a snarling merciless beast and the latter an equally predacious cruelty with the bass and riff ingenuity which marks the whole album, especially vindictive within the rhythmic enslavement. They make for an exceptional closure to another ghastly joy from Beaten To Death. At times during Dødsfest! you wonder if there is a joke being also played beneath the turmoil on the listener, or a revelry we are not being let in on but it all adds to a thrilling and exhausting provocation with more rewards than a supermarket club card.



RingMaster 04/10/2013

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