Offering something distinctly different and threateningly confrontational, US metallers Markradonn make their introduction with the riveting Final Dying Breath EP. It is a release which challenges thoughts and ears whilst leading them on a fury of creative invention and experimentation. It is not a journey which allows an easy passage but it is one with the strongest rewards for the effort and intensive examination given.
Hailing from Florida, Markradonn take influences from death and black metal alongside progressive and symphonic metal into their self-termed ‘Experimental Atmospheric Metal Musical Expression’. It is a striking and gripping endeavour which on initial terms raises as many questions as it answers but emerges over time as a thoroughly absorbing and aggressively demanding experience which leaves a hunger for more. That raging appetite will soon be fed by the band’s debut album Ceremonial Abnegation Part 1: Ad Ex Carne Excoriation (Excoriation of the Flesh), it the first part in a series of concept albums that will include 4 parts in all, a 25 song concept epic about a man who has completely renounced his life and all of his beliefs in a ceremony that results in the end of his life, and the entire process of his soul/essence returning to the place of the first creation. Before its early 2014 though we have the vigorous appetiser the Final Dying Breath EP to preview things and set up the seeds of anticipation for the emerging project.
Recorded between the last waking hours of last year and the awakening of this, The Bluntface Records released Final Dying Breath opens with its title track and is soon washing the ears in ominous atmospheres and consuming rhythmically framed ambiences. The vocals of Haniel Adhar Markradonn squall with serpentine venom and toxicity across the expanse of the track whilst his guitar craft backed by Allen C Raia sear and burn with melodic intensive flames which singe air and ear. It is the rhythmic evocation though which commands the passions, the orchestral percussion of Jon Gabriel Katz a rising theatre for the drama and the creative slaps of drummer Tim Carter an evocative scourge of the narrative to drive the track deep into the imagination. It is a gripping start if one which frustrates as does the EP as a whole in its production. It may be just the promo sent over but the production is very muddy which certainly adds to the consumptive oppressive depths of the theme perfectly but defuses all the nuances and individual scripting which you know is sculpting the impressive effect and success of the song.
The following Internal Hate Unbounded heralds in the senses with a colourful fanfare within a stalking embrace which intensifies its predation as drums and bass carve their temptations in the underbelly of the caustic symphonic flight. The pestilent heart of the track soon prowls its cause around the ferocious bestial premise whilst the music opens up all its darkest corners and magnetic lures for a tempest of avant-garde vitriolic adventure. As nasty as its predecessor, may be more so, but with a more open welcome before its ruin, the track again leaves the mind and emotions enslaved in a turbulent and needy peril, unsure of where to run but wanting more.
No Redemption, No Forgiveness is a cavernous enticement, a climactic instrumental which parades a soundscape of desperate emotions, lost hope, and emotional turmoil. With brass flames coursing through its evocative halls from Chris King, trombonist Jesse Hudson, Matt Farrington, Nick Weaver, and Reebeka West, the piece is a thoroughly potent instigator to imagination and emotional exercising, each run of its landscape building to stronger hued thoughts and interpretations.
The EP’s finest moment comes with the final two tracks, Frenzied Winter Sorrow and Cathartic Spiritual Purgation. The first of the two smothers the ears in another delicious drum persuasion, the orchestral percussion joining its lure to cast more drama over intrigue before the track explodes into a torrential fury with the brass at times soothing its passage without lessening its malevolent angst. There is a folk metal revelry lurking within the bedlam too which only adds to the enticement but again with a more understanding production the track really could have risen to imperious heights, though the excellent guitar play and solo as well as the rhythmic cage leaves only strong satisfaction behind. The closing track actually emerges as the favourite, the song another rhythmic jungle with an infection clad appeal but one aligned to an aboriginal calling through the didgeridoo of Dennis Bottaro. Shards of guitar scar and wrap around the maze of rhythms whilst a synth-guitar colours between the rhythmic punctuation but it is the drums and percussion which steal the passions and inspire the imagination.
Final Dying Breath is a promising and adventurous burst into view by Markradonn with only the production an issue, though arguably a big one, but as the EP was produced by Haniel Adhar Markradonn maybe it is supposed to be this way. Fingers crossed not and the album sees a more rewarding touch to the undoubtedly outstanding ideas and sounds, we for one cannot wait.
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