Arcania – Dreams Are Dead

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It is hard to know how much of a secret or renowned French band Arcania is in their homeland but outside their borders it is probably fair to say that the quartet is still an undiscovered treat. But that could and should be about to change with the release of their striking second album Dreams Are Dead. A stirring and thrilling brew of multi-flavoured thrash with just as rich essences of progressive metal aligned to darker extreme tendencies, the twelve track creative riot has the potential and weaponry to thrust the band into a far brighter and wider focus. It is a proposition which offers enjoyable familiarity but also inspiring and refreshing invention to make it stand out from the crowd. It is an album which though not flawless also gets more addictive and anthemic with each and every encounter giving evidence to Arcania being one of the really exciting emerging propositions.

The band began in 1999, formed by vocalist/guitarist Cyril Peglion, bassist Guillaume Rossard, and drummer Gabriel Georgelin. A couple of demos followed as the band grew in presence but it was dealt a devastating blow with the tragic death of Georgelin. The trio regrouped and decided to carry on, their debut self-titled EP being released in 2004 to great responses. Numerous line-up changes occurred over the years before in 2008 guitarist Nicolas Alberny joined the band which was followed by the recording and release of first album Sweet Angel Dust a year later. Again the release was well-received and led to the band sharing stages with the likes of Gorod, Kronos, Trepalium, Ultra Vomit, Black Bomb, and Born From Pain as well as playing festivals such as Hellfest 2012, ), Motocultor, Hell’Oween Fest, and Les Metallurgicalles. The departure in 2012 of Alberny to join Gorod saw the entry of Niko Beleg into the band, the line-up which entered the studio last year to record Dreams Are Dead.

The album’s Intro is as so many other bands seem to open up their albums with, an orchestrated epically rising portentous piece of music and very appetising; a start which despite its lack of originality brings a twinge of excitement and anticipation to an already awoken appetite. Its chilling haunted close is instantly swamped by the fiery start of Watch us dying, guitars and rhythms launching themselves at ears with urgent voracity. The track immediately has attention enslaved and senses under-siege before settling into a more ordered sonic and rhythmic tirade driven by the excellent vocals of Peglion, his great tones almost sand like in texture and invasiveness. The energy and attack of the encounter never relents in force and hunger yet embraces inventive guitar enterprise and a great almost schizophrenic design from the drums of Olivier. Arguably there is nothing new on offer but boy is the track gripping as it sets up the listener for the brilliance of next up Rise and never fall and the album as a whole.

The third track also has no intentions on making a gentle coaxing, every element of the band and sound cascading down upon the senses Arcania-Dreams-Are-Dead1-e1398358060555like an avalanche. Virulently seductive grooves wind from within the invigorating tempest alongside wiry hooks and shorter lures from the guitars. It is a rigorously magnetic enticement beneath an exacting tsunami of rhythms which as the vocals unveil their narrative, ignites the imagination like a mix of Slayer and Bloodsimple. Peglion mixes up his delivery throughout though saving the best of his lures for the roaring chorus which is led into by a great guttural expelling of malevolence. Musically the track matches his delivery in crescendos and potency but adds compelling flames of sonic invention and more of those deviously addictive grooves. It is a glorious track and no surprise that it is the one leading most into band and album right now through its video.

The following Face in the Mirror has a darker breath and face to its initial provocation but one which is tempered by restrained but certainly predatory riffs and melodic intrigue. The chorus as with its predecessor’s, provides an anthemic contagion whilst the twisting landscape of the track enthrals and sparks thoughts as a new wave of hunger hits passions already lit by the album. Its reinforcing of the strengths of band and album already impressively paraded is matched by Dreams are dead, whose arguably stronger progressive intent and adventure brings further rich hues to the release. Though not always given as much clarity as in this track, the technical aspect of the sound across the album is as riveting as all the other inciting colours and here forges an almost mesmeric temptation within the storm of the forcibly evocative song.

Another pinnacle is sculpted with next up Inside the crowd, a blistering suasion which from its fiery and earthy start suddenly whips out impossibly infectious and addictive strains of guitar forged toxins. They are honed into delicious short grooves courted by climactic riffs which in turn are aligned to ridiculously catchy and anthemic vocals from Peglion and the band. The track continues to pull out twists and turns across its scintillating creative body, each move unpredictable but seamlessly masterful and soaked in contagion whether marching with almost military precision over the senses or unveiling an atmospheric elegance and emotive expression. There are moments the track brings thoughts of October File to mind but it is a wholly unique track which takes best song honours

The breath-taking instrumental Dreams end all days floats in next to show another impressive element to the band and its songwriting. Nearing eleven minutes the piece is a mouthwatering adventure giving the imagination and emotions a wealth of melodic colours to paint their own evocative canvases with, to which the guitars add their poetically skilful and inspiring hints. For personal tastes the song is too long for where it is upon the album as before its finale you are locked in an urge to investigate the next track. It would have made a sensational closer for the album but with another instrumental waiting there, it is where it is.

Both Suffering for an answer and Scar in our mind keep things burning brightly for Dreams Are Dead though neither matches what comes before them. The first of the two carries a slight Testament feel to its more melodic classic metal air, within which vocals and the whole design of the track from rampaging rhythms and throaty bass enticing to the constantly developing weave of guitar emprise captivates. It lacks the same unpredictable element though which pushed earlier songs into something startling but despite its really annoying fade-out the song is a richly pleasing encounter. Its successor rides a thunderous tirade of beats before the guitars unleash ear smothering flames of caustically melodic rapacity, a proposition which again deeply satisfies without lighting fires.

The closing Days ends all dreams is a sultry smouldering finale to the release, again impressive in its craft and expression but easily second best to Dreams end all days. Personally putting it aside for another release, though it makes a good book end to the intro, and closing with the first instrumental would have been more successful. Nevertheless it makes no difference to the success and immense pleasure unleashed by Dreams Are Dead, the album a powerful wake-up call to the world to the presence and might of Arcania.

Dreams are dead is available via Great Dane Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ARCANIA/214904209725

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fleshdoll – Feeding The Pigs

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If you like your death metal voraciously brutal and old school bred but with the balls to twist that template to its own devious ends, oh also with a tongue firmly in someone’s cheek at times, then Feeding The Pigs from French metallers Fleshdoll is one recommendation to definitely check up on. The third album from the Toulouse quintet is not a proposition sculpting something new or scarcely trodden before but for uncompromising yet mischievously adventurous extreme hostility, it is a thoroughly contagious and satisfyingly exhausting protagonist.

Formed in 2001, it was the band’s debut album [w.o.a.r.g] five years later which really awoke the French underground metal scene to the arising presence and force of Fleshdoll. Released via French label Thundering Records/Manitou Music, the album was well- received and lauded as the band spent their energies playing show after show on the way sharing stages with the likes of Svart Crown, END, Blockheads, and Zubrowska. In 2006 Fleshdoll became the first death metal band to play in Casablanca, bringing their raw spice to the Moroccan scene treading in the line set already by Kreator and Moonspell. The following year second album Animal Factory is uncaged and again the band is garnered in acclaim and attention as they take it on the road, playing with bands such as Malevolent Creation and Loudblast. A line-up change stepped up next before Fleshdoll stepped into the studio with Gorod drummer Samuel Santiago to record Feeding The Pigs. Its triumph has thrust the band into another soaking of eager plaudits and focus, a new spotlight enhanced already this year as they went on tour across France with Loudblast and Benighted, Europe with Resurrection and Cremation, and before that Japan with Vomitory, Beyond Creation, and Defeated Sanity.

The album launches at the listener with its title track, an instantly vicious and ridiculously compelling maelstrom of annihilatory rhythms, Fleshdoll coverguitar violations, and vocal predation. Into that delicious hellish mix sharp and short acid spewing grooves infest the psyche to further spawn eager rapture. It is an immediate enslavement as the rhythms settle into a controlled prowl whilst still making the most intensive demands and threats alongside a devilish swagger which drives the vocals and guitar enterprise. It is an extraordinary track, one as suggested in regard to the album, not necessarily breaking boundaries but certainly caging the essence of the genre in a virulently infectious and explosively incendiary design.

The opener is such a stunning song that certainly for a while the album struggles to match up to its strengths and toxicity though right away both Collateral Murder and A Feast For The Rats give very worthy shots. The first of the two virtually stalks down senses and imagination, its bestial provocation sizing up and crawling all over the ears and emotions whilst rhythms juggle skilfully with their bait whilst the guitars in league with the bass swarm over the listener in horde like fashion but with enough sonic endeavour and creative invention to cast a constantly intriguing premise. Its successor sits back on the tail of urgency initially before twisting its gait and body through persistently changing and unpredictable turns of direction and pace. It also is loaded with impressive craft from guitars and brutality from Santiago but like its predecessor lacks the explosive spark of the first song as well as the vaunt and open smile. Nevertheless the pair healthily feed an already greedy want from the album bred by the title track as too does the following song, The Wolf.

The album’s fourth song lives up to whatever the imagination can conjure for the song name, its vocal roars and the unrelenting jaws of the riffs worrying and tearing at the senses whilst the heavy paws of the bass and crippling swipes of the drums only compound the mouthwatering attack. Spiteful grooves latch onto the charge of the song soon after before its body switches between prowls and all out assaults again and again ensuring expectations have nothing to latch on to and full attention is taken on a feisty captivating ride. The track gets closer to bridging the gap between the starting pinnacle and the rest of the album especially with its fiery hues of the guitar and solos.

Dead Monochrome is a demonic pestilential fury which sears and consumes from its first malevolent breath, a dark venomous scourge complete with deceitful melodic tempting and addiction sculpting grooves which offer respite knowing the rest of the ruinous intent of the protagonist will suffocate any hope. From this point in many ways the album goes through a slight evolution starting with the sinister breathing instrumental The Hollow Men. It is not a big twist in the premise of the release more a stronger investigation of the melodic and adventurous hints shown in A Feast For The Rats but it does bring a slight movement from animalistic intensity to inventive exploration. The Shadow Of A Man right away certainly shows no signs of diminishing its carnivorous appetite, riffs and rhythms uniting for a tunnel of grievous chastisement, but that is subsequently joined by a flood of melodically seeded flumes. As its mass continues to fill ears, the song brings in a rhythmic enticement which in turn moves into an oppressive swamp within which acid running veins expel sonic tempting.

The pair of Ecstatic Random Carnage and King Of Patusan more dramatically bring something distinctly new to the tortuous fun, the first wrapping its savage and imposing weight around the senses before unveiling a weave of furnace bred melodies and psychotic patterns around the gutturally spawned vocals. Imagination is lit right away but given a greater thrill as the song sweeps into a heavyweight passage of invention which is jazzy in its colour and funky in its energy before returning to a keen ravaging of ears and beyond. The second is technical/progressive flavoured metal imagination within a severe and tempestuous domain and again as the previous song easily seduces thoughts, both songs stepping forward to not equal but definitely rival the first peak in the album.

Completed by the excellent North Sentinel Island, an absorbing encounter which can be onerous at one moment and within a single lung’s expulsion seduce with entrancing ambience and beauty, Feeding The Pigs is a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable intrusion. Certainly Fleshdoll can be compared in varying degrees to the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, and Kreator as a reason to check out their album but it shows that the French band is working on forging their own unique path and it is coming along very nicely.

Feeding The Pigs is available via Great Dane Records now!

http://www.fleshdollband.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Torch Runner – Committed To The Ground

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There is nasty, there is vicious, and then there is Torch Runner, a band where sonic violence is seemingly an instinct which just has to be expelled and in the most striking and invigorating way going by debut album Committed To The Ground. Hailing from Greenboro, N. Carolina, the trio of vocalist/bassist Rob Turner, guitarist Scott Hughes, and drummer Josh Platt is an aural pestilence which gets into every bone, synapse, and emotion to splinter, wither, and savage respectively. Committed To The Ground was first released to strong acclaim in 2012 on vinyl only but their recent signing with Southern Lord ahead of a brand new encounter in the Autumn, has opened up a new worldwide CD release for the band’s startling debut. This enables all of us who missed out the first time around to have our senses and bodies violated in a manner they are definitely not but could easily become accustomed to.

Torch Runner and their ferocious brew of hardcore, metal, and dirt clad punk caught attention initially with a nine-track EP at the beginning of 2010. Locust Swarm shook the underground scene and instantly pulled an eager focus upon the band which a split with Young And In The Way the following year added more energy and urgency to. As mentioned 2012 was the initial launch of Committed To The Ground, a bruising malicious onslaught which thrust the band into another intensive spotlight. Ahead of the new album the band recorded with Kris Hilbert, it sends out a timely reminder and introduction to fans and newcomers to ignite their anticipation for a new fury you can be sure will be as pleasingly vitriolic and damaging.

Everything about the album from its opening second to the intrusive last is agreeably toxic, its veins running wild with a venom which spews destruction physically and mentally against seemingly everything, be it religion or society. Opening track Current simply goes for the jugular from its first breath, the visceral roar of Turner savaging ear and air as his bass equally imposes a heavy lure whilst the guitar of Hughes scars and cremates the senses with pure animosity. Spearing and entangling all of this is the breakneck attack of Platt whose skills and physical malice makes a tsunami look weak. Forty five seconds long, representative of the album which delivers twelve torrents in less than twenty three minutes, the track provides more thrilling devastation and crippling intensity in its grind/crust fused ravaging than hordes of releases can do across their whole body.

The impressive start is soon kicked up a gear in spite and enticement by firstly the hellish unbridled attack of Incendiary and the following corrosive tempest that is Feeding where grooves and rhythms represent the title by ripping apart and feasting on senses and psyche with vicious jaws of sound and might. The pair is in turn then exceeded by the outstanding Canon Cast which emerges from instantly intimidating sonic smog with venomous grooves and blistering riffs which converge together for a predatory prowl directed by the increasingly raw scowling tones of Turner. All the while the guitar winds cruel temptation around the imagination, unleashing grooves which just as purposefully stalk mind and emotions.

Clocked In follows suit, blending in a rapacious dark stealth with untethered hostility as it crawls over the senses snarling and ripping slices from their defences. Its climax expels an acidic flume of enterprise but it is the heavily brooding basslines and rabidity driving guitar and drums which sculpts another prominent highlight on the album, one matched by the excellent title track. Its haunting stark opening premise is soon the canvas for a lumbering bestial bass scourge to roam, its threat then enclosed in a sonic fog. Holding the thick substance of sludge and heavy noxious darkness of doom, the track spreads like poison through pores and psyche, its lumbering malignancy defined further by swathes of guitar contempt and vocal rancor. It is a riveting despoiling, one that has you mesmerised whilst it rips out your soul.

The torrential sonic maiming of Rede and similarly ruinous assault of Harrow keep senses cowering and thoughts fascinated, both equipped with short grooves and rhythmic enticements which again tempt as they decimate whilst the transfixing The Holy Are Broken in similar vein to the title track, brews a cancerous consumption of heavy invasive flavourings into a unrelenting laboured march which simply ignites the imagination and appetite for more of their slow and erosive invention. The main and only fault of the album is that with the majority of tracks so short and intent on causing the most violent results quickly, many never have time to show something unique which makes them blend together without distinguishing elements no matter how good they are, as evidenced by the final three songs. When like their predecessor the band takes a premeditated slow stalking as the core, tracks leap out to a new plateau, something hopefully the new album will show more of.

The threesome of Tolled, Pulpit Plague, and Vestige are ferocious treats to end the album, even with that just mentioned element, the first of the trio especially incendiary to the passions with its vitriol swinging gleefully from guitar scrubs and rhythmic spite.

We like a great many are newcomers to Torch Runner and now have a greedy anticipation for their new release thanks to Southern Lord and the reprise of Committed To The Ground. If a mix of Napalm Death, Weekend Nachos, and Kunz sounds tasty, then this is a band and release for you.

Committed To The Ground is available digitally @ http://torchrunner.bandcamp.com/ and physically via Southern Lord @ http://southernlord.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/torchrunnernc

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Room Colored Charlatan – Primitives

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Every now and then we come across a release which certainly impresses and is very easy to recommend but at the end of the day just does not excite as much as it should and that is just the case with Primitives the new album from US metallers The Room Colored Charlatan. Musically and emotionally the encounter is glorious and technically bewitching but for all the moments which have thoughts basking and imagination captivated without reserve, for us it fails to light a fire in the passions. It is still very easy to suggest exploring its stylish merger of progressive and technical metal filtered with the voracity of extreme metal aligned to soaring ambiences, as it is a fascinating and striking adventure.

Hailing from Indiana, the quintet has been compared to the likes of Between The Buried And Me and The Contortionist, two bands which indeed have inspired The Room Colored Charlatan along with the likes of Painted In Exile, Born Of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, and Animals As Leaders. Listening to the new album you can see what breeds those references though equally there is plenty about the release which sets the band apart. Building and increasing their reputation live, playing with bands such as TesseracT, Veil of Maya, Born Of Osiris, and The Contortionist over the past years, the band brought concentrated attention upon themselves with debut album Between Mirrors: The Quantum Immortality in 2012 which was released, as the new album, on Subliminal Groove Records. Primitives take all the qualities of its predecessor into new expansive dramas and evocative climates, across sceneries which roar and claw at the senses whilst seducing with a melodic and atmospheric beauty. Inspired by the theme ‘that humankind is not as civilized or as modern as we like to think’, the album is an epic imposing journey broken up into individual musically poetic chapters.

A chilled breeze around a lone guitar opens up the album and Instinct, and it is a beckoning soon full of melodic intrigue and rhythmic Primitives-covresonance as the song grows into full view. It is a hypnotic entrance potently luring in attention before the grizzled vocal delivery of Jared Bush brings a raw imposing into the creative elegance already cast by guitarists Justin Seymour and Brent Edelson, his presence seemingly a spark for an expanding intensity which stalks with djent seeded stabs, oppressive breaths, and rapacious shadows. The weave of melodic enterprise becomes more acidic but still seduces within and tempers the more vocal tempest of sound. It is an enthralling proposition, the composing and craft of the band alone gripping as the soundscape of the sonic narrative consumes the imagination.

The starter evolves into the brief and invigorating instrumental Native Habitat, guitars and drums sculpting a mouthwatering terrain for thoughts to explore before it then flows into the following Apex Predator. The rhythmic enterprise of Adam Dixon swiftly has its heavy skilled hand on a definite appetite for the impending adventure as a sonic web spins an absorbing and perpetually shifting picture, one nicely courted by constantly dark and agreeably imposing bass hues from Michael Miller. As the track permeates thoughts the aggressively caustic growls of Bush fail to sit easily but to be fair it is just down to personal taste, just like eyes maybe lack a kinship to the colour green, at times his delivery fails to persuade our ears. It is no reflection on his presence and attack but to our loss it does defuse some of the might of what is an impressive track, especially its vivaciously ravenous climax.

The intensively bruising emergence of the title track has senses rocking back on their heels next rugged riffs and similarly predacious rhythms badger and assault before an entrancing melodic mesh wraps the heart of the song, caressing and soothing the sores spawned by the formidable and pleasing storm. The subsequent body of the track does not quite inspire as its entrance but again the individual skills combine for an almost romantically colourful view of an intimidating premise.

Keys make another potent and important texture to the album, none more so than within Questions of Origin, their vigorously simmering dazzle impregnating another virulently aggressive, almost rabid exacting landscape. With guitars searing as they simultaneously entwine the senses in melodic beauty, the track is one which lights a fuse to more keen ardour alongside again nothing but impressed respect for the album so far; oh and note Bush is exceptional too, his bordering vicious snarl resting very nicely in the ears, yes we like to be contrary.

The sweeping synth grandeur within the following Survivalist Notion soon captivates whilst beneath riffs grind and chew through ears, the fusion a riveting endeavour which is only accentuated by the first appearance of clean vocals, something the band should definitely explore more ahead. The bass of Miller has its finest hour here, though maybe it is just it is allowed a little more space to enslave away from the smothering tempests it so richly helps create. Like many of the songs, there is very little to criticise or question, though for a still indefinable reason, as the album, it does not ignite the heat of passion it probably deserves.

The Atlas Artifact from its first touch floats and rigorously pursues an epically honed expansive progressive flight, though it is soon perpetually buffeted by clinging almost hostile eruptions and vigorous creative rabidity. The song again unveils exceptional harmonious vocals which once more impress thoroughly whilst the guitar invention and imagination between Seymour and Edelson is breath-taking at times; everything combining for a gripping and highly enjoyable emotively driven conclusion to the main thrust of the album.

Closed by the outstanding bonus track Nexus Point, which as good as steals the album’s pinnacle moment, its voracious enterprise and outright creative aggression savaging and firing up ears and emotions, Primitives is a fine album which only offers impressive bait to acclaim and eager recommendations. The Room Colored Charlatan is potentially a major force in the making, the album makes that easy to say and who knows they might even get us over excited at some point too.

Primitives is available via Subliminal Groove Records and @ http://theroomcoloredcharlatan.bandcamp.com/album/primitives

https://www.facebook.com/TRCCBand      

8/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com