Agiel – Dark Pantheons


    Press Release Band Photo for Dark Pantheons (3000px by 2808px)

    Creating a bridge between the past and future, the Dark Pantheons EP from US metallers Agiel is one exciting tempestuous fury drenched in unique invention and rapacious exploration. The release uncages five scintillating onslaughts of brutal death and symphonic black metal with plenty more teasing the appetite, a quintet of songs which suggests that the band’s return is the start of a new exceptional and unique chapter in the history of the Philadelphia hailing four piece

     Formed in 1997, Agiel began with a blackened death metal sound as a conveyance for the lyrical and musical expression of occult philosophy and ritual magic. Debut release The Works of War arrived two years later, pushing the band’s already distinctive and different sound into wider attention. In 2002 the band unleashed Dark Pantheons Again Will Reign, a well-received and acclaimed release which revealed more evolution in Agiel’s creativity and sound, symphonic elements courting the established potent technical skill and merciless aggression. From persistently igniting stages and releasing the three tracked Vessatu in 2005, the band decided to rest for a while in 2007. Five years moved by before the world saw Agiel return in the December of 2012 with a new line-up consisting of one of the founding members of the band vocalist/keyboardist James Taylor, guitarist Jesse Carson (Inmania, ex-Warblade), bassist Rich Buzzell (ex-Abdicate), and drummer Kevin Kostyk (Pig Rectum, Seize the Soul). Exploring the seeds planted in earlier releases to new extensive depths and adventures, the quartet have evolved into a proposition of intriguing ingenuity and sonic expression as evidenced upon Dark Pantheons. Almost switching the attack from ravenous death metal with symphonic endeavour to an immersive and consuming tidal symphony of imagination now in equal tandem with the uncompromising intensity the band is renowned for, the EP opens up a new realm and height for Agiel. The Deepsend Records released incitement contains re-workings of songs originally frequenting Dark Pantheons Again Will Reign, re-imagined and inventively twisted into new breath-taking and exhaustive encounters.

    The title track explodes in the ears from its first second, crippling rhythms and savage riffs turning on their recipient whilst the a3558114463_2 (1)keys sculpt a rising climactic atmosphere. The impact and strength of the song from its first moment hits like a tidal wave; one equipped with a predacious hunger within a sonically bred and melodic storm. There is no time to grip any mental safety rail as the track brawls and seduces the senses with a riveting maelstrom of invention and ferocious rabidity, every second featuring a landslide of activity that it borders on being impossible for thoughts and emotions to digest. Spiteful and alluring, barbarous and seductive, the track is an exceptional concussive joy, a chaotic yet precise and voracious provocation.

    Deeds Rendered Upon the Flesh soars into view on epic orchestral tones and a rousing imaginative awakening of the air, an opening premise which is soon drenched and smothered by an insatiable attack of rhythms aligned to spiralling and splintering guitar enterprise. It like the first is a delicious chaos of musical skill and unpredictable invention leaving senses dazzled and emotions ignited. For all the anarchy and torrential havoc fuelling the onslaughts, the body and heart of the songs are never lost or disrupted which only accentuates the quality and craft of the tempests.

    Both The Awakening and Serpent Masquerade exploit the already induced weakness of body and emotions; each providing irresistible toxicity to embrace and fear. The first of the two is a majestic titan, its muscles tall and threatening over the senses as the guitars and keys stalk with intensive flames of enterprise amidst a now expected rhythmic disorder, whilst its successor avails ears of its own particular scourge of enthralling mayhem and adventurous bloodlust. The clean vocals which parade and entice with anthemic bait in the back shadows of the track are additionally magnetic, an outstanding temper and assistance to the abrasive deep squalls which primarily lead the lyrical ferociousness.

      Dark Pantheons is brought to a close by the equally disorientating and sublime Andromeda, a track which scars and tempts with equal strength and imagination as completes the exceptional release. A mention has to be made about the production of the release, the only aspect which disappoints somewhat and does the band no favours. Its presence is like a tsunami washing away and suffocating too much of the individual ingenuity whilst submersing the whole thing in a cloudy brew lacking the clarity to illuminate all that is impressively thriving within the songwriting and music. The fact that the songs persuade so powerfully is a testament to their and the band’s mastery. With additional material set for later this year and a new full length album in production for 2015, Agiel has emerged as a tour-de-force which shows their previous and very satisfying presence as just the warm up act for something very special.


RingMaster 28/02/2014

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Portal – For All That is Damned to Vanish

portal band_pic studio

    The release of a new album after thirteen years from Swedish death metallers Portal might not mean a great deal to those like us only now discovering a band which emerged in 1996, but on the strength and quality of For All That is Damned to Vanish, to their fans it must be quite an exciting occasion. Without tearing down trees in originality, the Vic Records released blaze comes with a captivating body and accomplished deportment which hits all the right spots for a melodic death metal adventure. Spicily varied and with a ravenous intensity to intimidate and enthral, the nine track fury is a definite must check out proposition.

    Portal first made an acclaimed mark with debut album Forthcoming in 2001, which itself followed the decently received demo The Prophet three years earlier. Since that album it has been simply quiet from the band, certainly on the recordings front until now. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Kristian Kaunissaar, guitarist Stefan Johansson, bassist Emil Koverot (Blodsrit, ex-Carve), and drummer Matthias Fiebig (Blodsrit, Bloodgut, ex-Carve, Mordenial, ex-Paganizer, ex-Ribspreader, ex-Zombified), the Västervik / Stockholm based quartet look to re-ignite earlier awareness and enthusiasm for them with For All That is Damned to Vanish, something the album will easily achieve and more you suspect.

     As soon as the drums barbarously pound voraciously on the ears as riffs and an instantly infectious groove lays its grip on the portal front_coverimagination for the opening of In the Steps of Forgotten Gods, you can feel a rich temptation brewing. It is an enticement soon realised as the intensity increases to ebb and flow around the sonic endeavour veining the track. The hoarse grizzled delivery of Kaunissaar adds to the causticity just as eagerly as that which is gnawing away alongside the infectious melodies and grooves, his vocals aided by the backing of Johansson to great effect especially in the rarer clean moments. Every aspect of the track combines for an incendiary torrent of inventive adventure and technical skill which ok is not setting new boundaries but easily ignites ears and passions which is just as preferable.

   The strong start is soon reinforced and pushed by The Grand Gesture, a track rippling with muscular contempt and sonic creativity within a grazing squall of sound and passion. Again a seductive groove makes an irresistible temptation into the merciless tempest leaving an awakened appetite greedier, its hunger soon fed with the same potency and appeal by On Far Trails and The Wild and the Furious. The first of the pair uncages a torrent of acerbic riffing and vicious rhythms whilst vocally a fusion of guttural spite and clean harmonies keep things intriguing and unpredictable, baiting the imagination as enjoyably as the maze of sonic and melodic enterprise spiralling around its brawl. Its successor is seeded in the same maelstrom though with a slightly more laboured and deliberate gait within a violently offensive and thrilling barrage from Fiebig. Employing evocative textures and caresses within its savagery, the song its predecessor feed the ears and emotions with healthy slabs of metallic brutality wrapped in sonic fascination.

    As In Chase for the Sun enters on a similar charge and flavouring to the previous track there is a similarity which pervades the album provoking a need to focus all that more to pick out the individual traits and treats each song offers but it is not as much a defect than a distraction in the flow of things even after numerous encounters. The track itself like the following A Marschmans Belief nevertheless provides a thoroughly satisfying and magnetic experience to endorse the album over.

    The Celebration of My Fall brings a less intensive offensive, its slower provocative entrance a canvas for further impressive guitar invention and craft whilst bass and drums stalk the senses as a mutual incitement to the vocal predation which again comes in a flavoursome array of styles to match the sound. The slow burner of a track which increases its lure and contagion the more it graces the ears, is surpassed by Kamp, a rampaging scourge of a song armed with a horde of rhythms and a riot of riffery to fall giants and crush walls. As every other song, the track twists and fights around its core intent without losing control of its purpose and magnetism to leave another strongly pleasing scar on the psyche.

    For All That Is Damned to Vanish closes with the very decent instrumental Curse of the Fifth Crown. It is a fine end to a powerful and admirable release full of fascinating exploits and skilled adventure. As stated earlier the release will not have you singing from the rooftops but neither will restraint in appreciation and pleasure be a frequent part of reactions you suspect. With a touch of Amon Amarth about it, quite simply the album and Portal provides a refreshing addition to melodic death metal history, a more than worthy reason to check it out.


Ringmaster 28/02/2014

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The Committee – Power Through Unity



    Originally a doom metal proposition, The Committee has added and woven in a black metal breath and guitar enterprise to a sound which has begun drawing in attention and fascination within the metal world. The release of debut album Power Through Unity, with its chilling drone sculpted soundscapes around an equally cold tongue which licks and lashes the senses with blackened malevolence and abrasing persuasion, is sure to push the band into a stronger potent spotlight. It is not a release to ignite the most ferocious of passions but one with a menacing magnetism and certain craft which like a siren constantly calls attention back into its pestilential body.

      Formed as a one man project in the winter of 2007 by vocalist/guitarist Igor Mortis, The Committee expanded into a quartet with the addition of guitarist Aristo Crassade, bassist Marc Abre, and drummer William Auruman before unveiling the four tracked Holodomor EP to strong interest amongst the metal underground and various internet sites and magazines. Based in Belgium with its members bred from roots set in Holland, France, Ukraine, and Russia, the band has a blend and mix within its fusion of black and doom which persistently captivates upon their first album. Released via Folter Records with songs themed by ‘history, occult manipulation of the mind and fascinating past events’, Power Through Unity is like an intensive ritual, a passage of rites to the heavy dark realms the band find their inspirations. Their motto says it all, “History is written by the victors, we are the voice of the dead”.

     Opener Not Our Revolution makes a reserved entrance; an applauding ambience alongside an intriguing single guitar enticesThe Committee - Power Through Unity - Artwork thoughts with decent potency before the drums call in the full slow scourge of sound, guitars and bass prowling the ears whilst vocal squalls roar from within the oppressive breath of the song. The lowly slung voice of the track drags its heart and intent deep into the imagination whilst an almost cavernous wall of riffs aided by sadistic rhythms cages and enthrals with a ruinous and deceptively varied persuasion. The track is as imposing as a tsunami but as patient as an ice age in its consumption of senses and emotions.

   The strong start and intrusion is followed and matched by The Man of Steel, another track which is in no rush to devour but working at that aim from its first seconds with ravenous riffs and antagonistic rhythms plaguing ears. The melodic and sonic invention of the guitars merges drone and repetition within their invasively hued narratives laying a coaxing which as the drums and bass compel and intimidates with predacious efficiency. The threatening squall of sound envelops every inch of the senses and like the first track is dramatically bewitching.

    It is probably fair to say that the tempestuous surface of songs carry a too similar a temptation across the release and needs a more intensive dive into the corruptive hum at times to discover their uniqueness, but the rewards are always waiting and in a track like By My Bare Hands offered in a more easily visible and digestible meal of caustic charm and icy toxicity. The Last Goodbye also casts out more open bait and like its predecessor opens on an intimate melodic touching of the imagination before being consumed by the brute force and intensity of a hungrily howling ravenous storm. The production of the album provides a little uncertainty in the appreciation of the release though, its touch at times smothering and defusing the underlying melodies and tempering elegance which ignites a song like this and the following Katherine’s Chant, but simultaneously its glacial feel fuels the bone-chilling temptation of the release which it is hard not to find a small passion for.

   Through the insatiably pungent ruin of Katherine’s Chant and the even more rabid air of the closing title track, its appetite and mordant atmosphere the most voracious and eager on the release, Power Through Unity leaves the senses on an acerbic high and rigorously satisfied. The EP lacks enough diversity to truly ignite the passions and to be fussy that production issue does dull too much of the release’s success and sound to build a formidable stature for The Committee, but there is plenty to be drawn to often and with keen relish creating a strong and exciting first introduction certainly for us to a fiercely promising proposition.


RingMaster 28/02/2014

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Miserable Failure – Hope



    French grindcore band Miserable Failure first came to and viciously gripped our attention as part of Miserable Fucking Society, a three way split with Infected Society and F Stands For Fuck You. All of the bands stood out but in hindsight it was this Marseille quartet which left the richest lingering toxin in the emotions. The band now unleashes their new EP Hope, a release easily reinforcing a rising appetite for their brand of angry vitriolic confrontation. Released like the split via Kaotoxin Records, Hope provides four furies lasting a combined four minutes to excite and stimulate, the songs shards of sonic spite piercing and scarring the senses with lethal and pleasing venom.

    The Blueprints of Self Disgust initially unleashes a squall of guitar noise around a spoken sample to start things off. It is not long though before the ferocious rhythmic battering of drummer Elvis Jagger Abdul Jabbar is blasting through the ears within the equally violent sonic outpouring from guitarist Rom Sanchez. It is a corrosive rage of viciousness matched by the acidically abrasive squalls of vocalist Bleu, he a tempest alone squealing and spewing out lyrical venom with unbridled intensity and passion. Throughout the onslaught a groove links it all, forging a mutual course for every aspect of the song which the throaty basslines from John Culbuto embrace and entwine around its own distinctive temptation.

    It is an impressive start, if a blink and you miss it confrontation like all the tracks, and instantly matched by the acid dripping 760137627326_TOX034_Miserable-Failure_Artwork_600x600punishment of One More Reason to set This World on Fire. The blaze is a tart and castigating protagonist again with pressing grooves and infectious hooks adding their fleeting bait within a scorching rant of noise. Like its predecessor the song seizes a full submission which Goodbye & Good Riddance next abuses and complements with its distinctive and imaginative outpouring. Offering miniature breaks for a vocal and rhythmic beckoning to spark the primal instincts, the track scores and flails ears and beyond to take best songs honours.

   That is until the closing This World Ain’t Mine steps up and whilst eyeballing the listener flares up and uncages a bawling torrent of hook entwined sonic discipline. There is a swagger and bounce to the track which adds to its conviction and contagion, though as always it comes in a form as surly and acrimonious as the straight out scorn of the song.

     Hope is a thoroughly exciting and thrilling encounter, though whether the tracks hang around long enough to really fire up the imagination can be debated. The fact that we have been continually invigorated by its tirade across plays well into double figures since receiving it probably answers that. Miserable Failure are maybe yet to sculpt something which thrusts the band away from other genre bands but you sense they are well on the way whilst providing a full and lingering pleasure at the same time. Released as a free download for a limited time, Hope is an intrusion well worth losing your well-being over.


RingMaster 28/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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