Jago – The Wicked Try


Though it was released mid-December we would be failing if we did not give you the heads-up about the debut single from UK vocalist/producer Jago. The Wicked Try is a simply scintillating anthemic slice of dub/reggae alchemy, a rapture inducing waltz of melodic endeavour and creative swagger which leads the ears and imagination down a path of insatiable aural seduction. Already renowned for his work as one half of production duo Hylu & Jago, the artist steps forward alone as a magnetic proposition in his own right.

      Also one of the vocalists of the brilliant reggae band Onlyjoe, it seems fair to say that Jago shines in everything he puts his undoubted talents into right now and his first single is no exception. Released via Hundred Years, only the second release since the label recently formed with the first the debut Galak Spiritual EP, the single also features contributions from Ghost Writerz (the acclaimed duo of Harry ‘Sleepy Time Ghost’ Metcalfe and Jason ‘Jimmy Screech’ Bradshaw), Junior Dangerous, and Serocee, all bringing an expertise and individuality which adds extra spice to the tantalising.

     Produced by one of Britain’s most inventive producers The Sea, The Wicked Try is pure undiluted temptation from first note to last. The song takes little time in charming the ears, a rasping breath making way for a teasing percussive nod and a dub infused brassy sound from keys which dance around and seduce the imagination like an over flirty lap dancer whilst he vocals equally lay down a vibrant charm offensive. It is not long before the epidemically infectious chorus makes its appearance as the rhythms and keys simultaneously trifle with the affections. Strolling along its course with insatiable and skilled revelry, the subsequent cast of vocals exploit the already bred ardour from the emotions with virulent ease. The track just does no wrong, every aspect and tempter irrepressible persuasions as The Wicked Try courts the imagination and leaves a long term persuasion in its wake.

     The track alone would have made the most compelling purchase but it comes with a pulsating dubbed out hip hop mix from DJ Vadim and a rich dub version, both forcibly attractive alternatives to the original but truthfully they cannot steal the passions from their first infatuation. Released digitally and as a 12” vinyl The Wicked Try though released a couple of weeks before the close of 2013 is really this year’s first essential single, a song to set new standards and claim a love affair with the passions.




RingMaster 09/01/2014

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Legion Of The Damned – Ravenous Plague


Bitch-slapping the senses with every thrash driven note they can muster, Dutch metallers Legion Of The Damned unleash another torrential assault of their uncompromising unashamed thrash metal brawling. Careering through the ears with rampages of aggressive virulence since 2005, and the thirteen years before that as Occult, Legion Of The Damned offers no pretences of being anything other than what they are, a ravenous unfussy fury of thrash antagonism. With five studio albums under their belt plus another quintet in their earlier guise, the Limburg hailing quartet uncages a contagious voracity in the new shape of Ravenous Plague, an album which admittedly holds little surprises but feeds the hunger for all out thrash aggression with ease.

     Legion Of The Damned is one of those bands where you can heartily debate whether they bring anything new to the genre with each release or are simply reliving previous glories in a new aural twisting of confrontation but it is hard to deny that, as shown by Ravenous Plague, they more times than not serve up a rapacious treat which ignites the senses and fires up the passions. The foursome of vocalist Maurice Swinkels, drummer Erik Fleuren, guitarist Twan van Geel, and bassist Harold Gielen charge at the ears and chew their flesh from the very start once the exciting introduction The Apocalyptic Surge gets things under way. The epically brewed incitement was composed by Jo Blankenburg who has written music for films in the Harry Potter and X-Men franchise, and though it follows an almost predictable route still raises the emotions and drives blood rigorously through the veins in anticipation of what is to come. Howling for Armageddon is the first encounter to follow, its muscles rippling with almost spiteful energy as adrenaline fuelled rhythms are viciously wielded. With the great scowling delivery of Swinkels sprawling venom and anthemic enticement from every syllable it is a rousing recruitment of ears and passions, uncorrupted thrash primed to fill every untainted genre want.

     Both the exhausting rampage of Black Baron and the magnetic Mountain Wolves Under a Crescent Moon thrillingly npr505_LOTD_RGBcontinue the bruising start, the first an unrelenting scourge of sinewed boned rhythms and rapacious riffing entwined with short but infectious grooves and skilful sonic seepages from the guitars. Its successor gallops from first note to last with a breath sucking energy and persistent riffing which is familiar but again sculpted to please the greediest appetites whilst the anthemic lure of the track is epidemic like in its potency just as the fiery solo which scorches the song’s climax.

      Ravenous Abominations raises the game in predatory rabidity, riffs and drums tearing through the ears with pack like hunger whilst grooves and vocals entice and intimidate respectively. Like its predecessors it is an addictive intrusion continuing the thoroughly enjoyable and pulse racing start to the release and little changes when Doom Priest and the excellent Summon All Hate parade their savage persuasions. The first of the pair from a doomy malevolent start with spoken scene setting vocals and slowly weaving sonic and melodic invention, rides the emotions with a blackened swagger. It is an absorbing slice of smouldering satanic emprise, a more slowly burning encounter than the previous tracks but no less effective and corruptive whilst its successor is a wonderfully nagging sonic irritant which coaxes and drags a primal satisfaction from the listener for its inflexible temptation. Though suspicions are rife quite early the track confirms the repetitious use of riffs and grooves across the album, not always exactly the same but closely related and truthfully it hardly raises an eyebrow as the album pleases the ears.

    From here on in Ravenous Plague fails to match the previous heights though it is fair to say that it and the caustically crafted Morbid Death and the dramatically grooved Bury Me in a Nameless Grave leave satisfaction full whilst Armalite Assassin nastily stomps with nostrils flaring and endeavour rioting to provide another chug fest of unyielding gratification. The only thing bringing the tracks down a little is that there is little openly different to that already served up by the release.

    Closing on the mulish Strike of the Apocalypse, a song again lacking new elements to stand away out from came before but still arrogantly thrusting forward a tide of corrosive riffs, bone splintering rhythms, and acidic grooves to devour selfishly, the Napalm Records released Ravenous Plague is a thumping aural carnivore of thrash metal. Ok it is not inventing or reinventing a great deal but it and Legion of the Damned have unleashed a thrilling tempest of unapologetic attitude and accomplished thrash pleasure; it is a treat which gets the genre’s year off to a fine start.




RingMaster 09/01/2014

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Perversity – Infamy Divine

     photo-perversityEntering their fourteenth year Slovakian death metal band Perversity is still awaiting that big step into world awareness but has definitely taken a strong and potent swipe at it with new EP Infamy Divine. Six tracks of death metal brutality infiltrated with an invention and melodic tempting which helps guide each track through the ears as adventurous and magnetic confrontations, the release is the witness to a band who has crafted and honed their sound over two decades into an imaginative and uncompromising aural malevolence.

     Perversity was formed in 1995 as a straight death metal band by vocalist Martin Marincak and guitarist Jozef Kosc. Their first two demos, The Embarrassed and Personal in 1997 and 1999 respectively, firmly placed the band in the death metal underground, both whetting plenty of appetite amongst fans and the scene as a whole. From debut album In The Garment Of Lust in 2003 the Prešov band has unleashed three albums, Words Like Poison (2004), Beyond the Reach of Heaven (2008), and Ablaze (2011), all to strong receptions as well as a compilation album and a further demo. Over the same years Perversity has also been through numerous line-up changes and an evolution in their sound moving to a brutal textured incitement and presence. Now with vocalist Juraj Handzus, bassist Slavomir Koval, drummer Peter Jakubik, and guitarist Martin Calko who joined the band just in December, alongside remaining founder Kosc, Perversity is look primed to take things to another level, the Lavadome Productions released Infamy Divine the powerful next step.

     Thumping beats split the air as first track Vermin makes its initial steps before erupting in the ear. Within moments it 1479468_10152130311524228_481101832_nstretches to full height with a dramatic sonic narrative speared by intimidating riffs and an intensifying rhythmic bombardment. It is a towering entrance, demanding and commanding attention with confidence and ease before relaxing into a scourge like onslaught which ravenously consumes the senses whilst dangling a tempting groove and slithers of inventive melodic teasing from within the pestilential ravishing. The drums of Jakubik are especially potent but equally the guitar play and rapacious bass lines around the caustic vocals squalls of Handzus are lingeringly magnetic. The track as shown in hindsight by the rest of the release is straightforward in many ways but fully satisfying and sets the EP off to an imposing start.

    The following Angel Of Prostitution is a formidable back-up, vocals malevolently spilling bile from every gruffly delivered word as rhythms barrack the senses and guitars spark acrid flames of sonic enterprise within the smothering intensity. Not quite as explosive and riveting as the opener the song still grips with intrigue and vicious predation as it stalks and pesters the senses. Its fade-out is a little annoying though only until a brief but elegant piano cast interlude links the track with the excellent Goddess Of Maggots. Immediately gnawing the ears with a torrent of carnivorous riffing, gutturally bred vocals, and deliciously niggling grooves, the track is a ruinous slab of tempestuous contagion, every element as nasty and violently delivered as they are irresistible and toxically infectious.

     Incest Of Flesh continues the new plateau for the release, the track not as immediate and accessible as certainly its predecessor but writhing and twisting with more imagination and mouth-watering invention than the rest. The continuing to impress vocals of Handzus are enjoyably backed up by the even rawer uncultured roars of Kosc whose guitar invention leaves ears and imagination ignited alongside the equally salacious calls of Koval’s bass and the ever incendiary craft of Jakubik. The best moment on the EP by far, though the previous track is not far back in its wake, the song alone sums up the creative power and still awaiting potential of the band.

     Supreme Accusation ruptures the air as the darkest malignant part of the release, every breath and note it spews a virulently rancorous entrapment and violation of the emotions and another unassailable treat to wax lyrical over. Its aural malcontent is in dramatic contrast to the closing Infamous, a just about one minute long instrumental which is quite exceptional. Coated in melodic grandeur and orchestral beauty, the piano and synths brought piece is a captivating enchantment. It blends sinister haunting shadows with emotive radiance and is sensational as well as powerful. Whether it fits in with what comes before is arguable but it is so good who really cares.

     Infamy Divine is a must for all brutal death metal fans; not quite the perfect hostility but with an imagination and skilled employment of expressive  challenging sounds to set it aside from other similar genre bred releases, Perversity has made an extreme statement the metal world should pay attention to.




RingMaster 09/01/2014

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Altar of Betelgeuze – Darkness Sustains the Silence



Not completely convincing but feistily compelling Darkness Sustains the Silence, the debut album from Finnish metallers Altar of Betelgeuze is a proposition which has thoughts and emotions leaping all over the place in satisfaction and uncertainty. The eight track release makes an attention grabbing but puzzling initial encounter with successes and deficiencies almost roaring out their persuasions but given plenty of time and listens it slowly emerges as a release metal fans with a wide taste should investigate.

     Released via Memento Mori Records as 2014 opened its eyes, Darkness Sustains the Silence is the successor to the band’s first release, the At The Shrine Of Light EP of 2012. Consisting of members current and former of Decaying and Sclerosistake, the 2010 formed Altar of Betelgeuze employs and infuses a plethora of styles and intrusive flavours into its creativity, so much so that there is not exactly a predominate distinct core sound to their music. Across its muscular body, the album blends doom and death metal and in many ways that is the base for their endeavour, but with thick tides of sludge and groove metal also making their suasions as well as classic metal and stoner rock. It is an ever evolving and testing incitement which challenges your preconceptions and the band’s own ability to merge it all and place the distinct flavours side by side. Determined attention reveals that for the main the band do succeed with a strong craft even if there are elements which just do not cut a potent presence against the stronger towering aspects of the release.

     The album opens with the intro/instrumental Epitaph, a more than decent piece wrapped in a skilled melancholic embrace AOB DSTS coverfrom guitars and bass. It does not give away much as to the rest of the album except proof of the impressive melodic skill which the band openly possesses. The track leads into A World Without End and immediately a wall of doom clad intensity smothers the ear, rhythms colliding with the ear drum and the guitars of Olli Suurmunne and Juho Kareoja casting sonic weaves which tempt and sear. The instant stand out element is the bass of Matias Nastolin, its voice and predation magnetic and its employer’s craft riveting as he goes on to prove across the whole release. Nastolin also provides the dark growling vocals which match the heavy intent of the music, his tones grizzled and malevolent, soaking every chugging riff and bass groan with venomous bile. The track stalks and lumbers across the senses sparking the imagination and appetite, especially when it picks up the pace midway and the bass swaggers with invention and tantalising enterprise around the now spoken vocals of Nastolin. It is a strong and thrilling start to the album and sets up expectations eagerly for the rest of the release.

     The Spiral Of Decay opens with an emotively sculpted coaxing from guitars and bass, again to potent alluring effect. With the drums of Aleksi Olkkola the ignition for the song to expand and stretch its heavy rock flavouring, there is a less intensive pressure on the senses but with the dark growls a still intimidating one…that is until Suurmunne adds his clean vocals to the mix. I have heard people suggest he provides a poor offering to the album but it is hard to agree, his voice for a hard rock track is strong and expressive but it is the style of delivery which just does not fit the track and for the main the album. It is a shame as the guttural and dirty vocals are again thoroughly enjoyable but for personal tastes and thoughts this is where the merging of such varied and different flavours comes unstuck on the release, though admittedly the song is still an appealing and creative encounter.

     There is no such issue with the next up Steamroller, easily the best track on the album. From fiery guitar flames and thunderous slow rhythmic slaps the song stalks the ears with a ravenous chugging and melodic devilry all within a sinew cage provided by Olkkola. Once more the bass finds a tone which seduces infectiously and with the cleaner delivery working well in the context of the song this time and a constant surface snarl covering all, the track is a riveting consumption of sludge/stoner invention. Whether the extreme difference in presence and style of this and say A World Without End works is debatable as being a positive for the album but individually it is a masterful and thrilling brute of an incitement.

      The Middle Eastern kissed opening strains of Smoldering Clouds Above Orion ignites the imagination with ease which the again mouth-watering bass and guitar play runs with across the excellent heavy weight carnivorously vocalised predator of a song, whilst The Approaching Storm bursts upon the senses with cascading rhythms, lingering sonic scorching, and a voracious bass invention and sound which violates and seduces with irresistible craft. The classic metal like clean vocals again leave thoughts and emotions unsure, the track calling out for a bestial delivery throughout as shown as a must by the toxic return of the earlier vocal pestilence, but it is an impressive song overall and another compelling reason to check out the band.

     The album finishes with firstly the death soaked Out Of Control which succeeds and suffers as its predecessor, and the seventeen minute title track. As masterful and enthralling as it is, and skilfully presented, the final track is just too long to earn the focus it deserves for its epic sonic narrative. By the tenth minute, and being a three minute provocation fan at heart it was a proud moment to last that long, thoughts do waver  and hanker a return back to the start of the album as elements repeat and stretch at the final straight. All the same it is rich evidence of the ability and adventurous songwriting of the band, something which again makes Altar of Betelgeuze a deeply promising and captivating provocateur.

    Darkness Sustains the Silence is not perfect by any means but it proves to be an adventure which more than earns the right to be given the fullest attention, and if the lesser issues are ironed out this could be a band to set standards still undiscovered by others.




RingMaster 09/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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