Hollow – Mordrake

Hollow - Press Photo

There are some debut albums which impress, some which raise a depth of excitement sparking a long term connection, and then there are some like Mordrake from Canadian death metallers Hollow which simply have you shouting feverishly from the rooftops. The release is an extraordinary maelstrom of startling invention, mouthwatering imagination, and enslaving hostility which simply blows thoughts and passions away. There has been talk of great things about the Montreal quartet from their live performances and previous release, the six track EP Cynoptic Eschaton, but it is fair to say we were not expecting something so devastatingly brilliant for our first introduction to the band.

Formed in 2009, Hollow has earned a fine reputation and potent presence across Québec and Ontario moving across their homeland through their live incitements which has seen them excel alongside the likes of Voïvod, Suffocation, Sword, Jungle Rot, Iwrestledabearonce, Blackguard, The Agonist, Beyond Creation, Marduk, 1349, Tyr, Orphaned Land, and many many more. Cynoptic Eschaton drew further strong acclaim and attention with its release in 2010 which Mordrake is sure to emulate in much greater strength and expansion. Bringing new character to some of the tracks on the previous EP and plenty more new breath-taking encounters within its twelve song body, the Kevin Jardine (Slaves on Dope) produced, with Dan Lauzon (Entropy) and the band, album was recorded with an uncluttered ‘analogue’ like approach which brings a raw and honest dimension to the proposition allowing music and individual craft to paint a stunning fiercely textured adventure.

Opener Lament Configuration emerges upon a sonic prowl which is almost lumbering in its gait and thoroughly engrossing in its Album Cover - Hollow - Mordrake 2014 - smallsearching sonic exploration over the senses, the fingers and strings of guitarist Cadaver already capturing firm attention. Pungent rhythms add to the portentous tension brewing within the dramatic coaxing whilst orchestral melodies and harmonies soak the oppressive atmosphere lying thickly over the evolving scenery. Eventually the band step from the initial evocative smog with a surging stride of riffs and concussive beats from Blaac which vocalist Mott roars over with every muscle of his malevolence. It is an impossibly contagious charge which is just as compelling in its imaginative twists and enticements, not forgetting individual skills, as in its turbulent catchiness. The track is the thrilling declaration of things to come, a tempest of bewitching ingenuity and lethal aggression within a blackened pestilential beauty of sound and creative intent.

It is a staggering start which both Cryptic Howling and A New Life explosively reinforce. The first is a voracious torrent of rhythmic rabidity matched by an unbridled hunger in riffs and outstanding vocals, Mott gloriously unpredictable in his venomously corrosive varied delivery. Within the scourging onslaught, bassist Snow finds an even more intensive bestial voice from his strings to add to the hellacious web, a tone which is as at home sculpting a carnal texture to the vitriolic attack as it crafting deliciously haunting lures to the enthralling melodic hues which seduce robustly later in the track. The track is a severe examination of senses and psyche with more riveting rewards in its single body than most death metal bred albums offer across their full lengths, a treat repeated by its predecessor. Entwining ears in a climbing vine of sonic imagination which is soon under a tsunami of pungent antagonistic intensity and ravenous enterprise, the track adds to its surprises with contagious grooves which lead to a heavy metal endeavour beneath a symphonically seeded elegance. This is all around a heart which is predatory in the extreme and soaked in a simply irresistible rapacious appetite.

It should be noted that whatever description tracks are given here they only hint at the whole picture, so much going on and being sculpted that it is impossible to truly represent their brilliance and impossible to take all in on just a few encounters ensuring the album is a constantly giving proposition with every assault. The next up rampage of Landscape is instant proof, its ferocious vehemence in sound, vocals, and imagination a senses eroding, thought provoking ruin which wrongs foot with majestically flighted harmonies of keys casting seducing melodies. As ever it is just a twist in the soundscape of the song’s blisteringly shaped and exposed narrative, the track a purposeful sublimely designed meander that chains mind and soul from start to finish, whilst lorded over by the just as impressive vocal diversity of Mott, more of which coming later.

The pair of Iscariot and Sunriser throws senses and imagination into further exacting furies, both again intensive weaves of addictive hooks and toxic grooves upon exhaustingly adventurous and demanding canvases. As with every track on Mordrake, each is a distinct individual with the first finding a poetical grace in the keys within a uncompromising plague of voracity whilst Mott brings a brief but just as impressive clean twist to his vocals amidst another range of guttural and poisonously squalling growls. It is a glorious track which is followed by the just as staggering triumph of Sunriser, clean vocals given another outing whilst standing in a storm of demonic toxins from the raw throat of the frontman. The bass of Snow is also a real highlight in the foreboding drenched climatic air of the song, though to be fair to all the encounter is a scintillating blur of inventive animosity and imaginative pestilence for which all deserve the outmost credit.

     The emotively driven Vlad comes next, a track we assume inspired by a former band member from the band’s first days who passed away unexpectantly. With keys and violins an insatiable seduction, the song is another which rabidly suffocates as it inflames senses and emotions before making way for the provocative epidemic of sound and fascination that is Anomie, a track bringing orchestral flumes into an entanglement with heavy metal wantonness; keys, bass, and guitars conspirators in a savagely hued, magnetically cultured creative virus.

Generally in an album so incredibly gripping and awe striking there are going to be lulls or weaker moments but honestly Mordrake holds no such inventive languor, the following innovatory alchemy of both the chilled Snow where those cleaner tones of Mott are given extra time and the hypnotic maze of Birth, rhythmically and sonically as spellbinding as anything on the release. The same applies to closing tracks Hate and Death, two final incendiary expanses of fertile minds and musical ingenuity.

Mordrake is simply remarkable, one of the most promethean debuts in a long time and certainly within death metal this year, though Hollow have a sound and presence which you cannot confine to a single genre or singular mind-set. A brilliant album from a brilliant band, what more do you need to know?

The self-released Mordrake is available via http://hollowcanada.bandcamp.com/album/mordrake

http://hollowofficial.com/

10/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

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Svartna – Long Time Lost EP

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Crafting an experience which is just as potent on the ears and emotions as it is visually on the imagination, the Long Time Lost EP from Finnish rock band Svartna is one of those propositions you just immerse within without reservation. It is a mesmeric fascination of sound and feeling which envelops and consumes attention and thoughts, a rich emotive flight unafraid to court its shadows as deeply as its beauty whilst providing an absorbing canvas for the bewitching voice of project founder Janica Lönn, who has previously worked with Black Sun Aeon.

Svartna emerged to the end of 2012 within the thoughts of Lönn, its intent as an audio-visual creation already and to some extent secretively laying seeds within the artist across almost a decade of musical invention and realisation up to that point. Concentrating solely on the new adventure and fusing her love of photography and crafting new ventures into its music, Lönn has conjured a debut which invests the invigorating essences of rock and metal with a pop infectiousness, the result a trio of songs which merges numerous styles and flavours into startling and gripping melodic landscapes coloured by rich sonic textures and heavy emotional breath.

Evocative melancholic keys open up first song No Signs of Life. Already the heart of the track and its narrative are caressing ears before the elegant smouldering tones of Lönn and an orchestral ambience glide into the emerging picture. It is a symphonic seeded suasion which to its seductive coaxing brings a shadowed clad drama and to its expanding scenery slightly sinister whispers. Bass and guitars offer a subdued but clear snarl to the emotive beauty washing the senses too whilst the increasingly sirenesque vocals and poetic melodies ignite the imagination, the full incitement of the song coming with a broad and climatic wind which drives the compelling expulsions at the heart of the song. The track is a masterful musical canvas for the lyrical and vocal melodrama, a picture which evolves with every chord and flume of sonic endeavour. It is quite glorious and never falls into the over blown realms so many bands and artists find when emotions and passions align with orchestrated invention and epic tempestuous structures; at times it is almost earthy and certainly surprisingly intimate in the throes of its fullest impacting voice.

From the outstanding start Cornered by Death takes up the reins of the release’s persuasion next, again keys sculpting the initial premise as rhythms play within their graceful countenance. The song glides into view in comparison to its predecessor, keys and vocals the warm initial sun upon ears and thoughts before a stormier yet still relatively unthreatening swell of heavy intensity, rapacious riffs, and prowling rhythms cloud the simmering emotional flight below. Once more it is offers a powerfully evocative aural sight though it is with the subsequent enthralling crafting of the guitars that the song truly comes alive; their lyrical designs virulently tempting even in their brief shaft of light before the full body of the song comes over senses and emotions once again. Though not matching the opening triumph, the track is a transfixing and exhilarating creative soundscape.

The EP closes with Worlds Apart, its entrance emulating the previous pair in being shaped by keys and vocals alone. To be honest there is a little disappointment that it does not bring a completely different first touch to the ears compared to elsewhere but a thought soon forgotten as the breath-taking voice of Lönn and a sinew built range of rhythms roam the expressive radiance flaming over the senses through the provocative keys, blazing guitars, and always the persistently striking voice of Lönn. It is an ambrosial conclusion to a fascinating and sublime release from an artist and band which are surely destined to seduce ears and acclaim for a long time on this evidence.

Long Time Lost EP is available through Violent Journey Records now!

www.svartna.com

9/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Anti Nowhere League/The Damn Garrison – Split EP

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As criticised as they were praised in many quarters from their first days for their true DIY punk simplicity and unpolished confrontational often salacious musical craft and attitude, UK punk legends Anti Nowhere League soon outrode their critics to become one of the most loved antagonists. A new split through Rebel Sound release sees the band at their adversarial inhospitable best alongside New Hampshire Oi punks The Damn Garrison, a union made in middle finger heaven. The link up makes for four tracks of punk rock which are as soaked in aggression and mischief as in anthemic provocation, and on the Anti Nowhere League side unbridled irreverence. They are a quartet of tracks which unreservedly feed the base desires of all punk fans.

The first pair of songs provided by Anti Nowhere League are a couple which previously could only be found on their Pig Iron CD and tracks which Captain Oi refused to release. Day The World Turned Gay pulls no punches as it uncages potent hooks and insatiable grooves into a mesh of punk rock causticity lyrically and sonically straight away. The Tunbridge Wells quartet of vocalist Animal, guitarist Tommy, bassist Shady, and drummer Nato, cast a riff and rhythmic slavery which is simply prime punk rock. Certainly the song is not touching new plateaus in originality of band or scene but equally it is virulent choice ANL which stands apart wantonly and excitingly from the rest. Its might is replicated and increased by the following The Adventures Of Peter Vile, of course another song with no regard and blinkers to ‘boundaries’, going places where most fear even contemplating. Once again a weave of intrusive hooks and riling riffs create a web of ridiculously catchy bait to which vocals unfurl an equally riveting, irreverent, and forcibly honest narrative. Again it is what you expect an ANL track to be and stand up as, and again a wholly invigorating provocation reminding just how important and rigorously rewarding the band has been and still is to a great many of us.

Hailing from Dover, N.H. and formed in the summer of 2012, The Damn Garrison has swiftly made their presence a potent and thrilling one OB-GD17D.pdfon stage where they have played with the likes of Murphys Law, Infa Riot, The Warriors, Bishops Green, Evil Conduct and many more and through their four track 7” release through Arrest Records, Unsung Heroes. Consisting of vocalist Mike Day, guitarists Ritchie and Sammy Plante, bassist James Morin, and drummer Chad Lafrance, the quintet instantly unleash a thick infectious anthem of a bruising on the split with The Real Ones. An intensely coaxing bassline and crisp beats sets things in motion, their strong bait scythed through with thrusts of guitar. It is an immediately enticing affair which increases its call with a raw scowl of vocals which enter the fray as the track settles into a voracious charge, group shouts and juicy hooks adding extra spice to the temptation. As with the ANL tracks, the band is not forging new avenues but certainly lying fresh addictive and thrilling designs on to an established template.

The band’s second track Pride & Honor again leads with a great bass enticement which is soon smothered with irritable beats and rowdy riffs matched by excellent vocal squalls, singularly and as a group. As great as both songs are it must be admitted, as suckers for toxic basslines with as much groove and infectiousness to them as contagious spite, that Morin steals the passions in what are wonderfully fiery and contentiously evocative songs. Again stacked to the gills with hooks and raging riffs, the track rampages into the passions with merciless efficiency matching its partner track, and the incitements of their cohorts in crime upon the release, in exhausting punk bred appetites.

Two great bands birthed in different eras but united in sculpting strenuously exciting punk revelry across four outstanding tracks, the split is a mouthwatering stomp confirming the lingering adversarial might of Anti Nowhere League and announcing an emerging force in The Damn Garrison; another slice of evidence that world punk is possibly heading to another major heyday.

Anti Nowhere League/The Damn Garrison Split EP is available @ http://www.rebelsoundrecords.com on vinyl (200 Black vinyl, 200 Halloween Orange vinyl, 100 Lime Green vinyl).

https://www.facebook.com/antinowhereleague

https://www.facebook.com/TheDamnGarrisonoi

9/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tree Dwellers – Come Up and See

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    Tree Dwellers is a Manchester father and son partnership of whom we can reveal very little but what is openly apparent through the UK duo’s new single Come Up and See, is that they have a sound and presence which just feeds imagination and emotions with enthralling creativity. Brewing up an evocative and vivacious sound from a fusion of electronic spices with rock and funk juices, the band certainly on the evidence of their new release casts a festivity of sound and adventure which entices with organic bait.

Consisting of Mark and Jake Haslam, Tree Dwellers have the intent and vision to stretch and explore the boundaries between funk and electronica, enriching their exploration as shown on the single with exotic rhythms and highly vocal melodic ambiences. The result is a sound and release which takes thoughts on a sultry colourful adventure whilst providing a narration which sways and seduces like an erotic temptress within the captivating instrumental. As well as the single, the band appears on Melted ONE, a compilation featuring a range of artists who are uniting to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and The Teenage Cancer Trust; all the profits from its sale being donated to both charities.

Guitar and oriental words open up the emerging proposition, their instantly compelling lure soon reinforced by agitated scrubs of guitar and bass before everything falls into the arms of an elegance breeze of synths which with an almost glancing touch is itself infused with funk spawned enterprise from the guitars and bass. It is an intriguing picture with expanding hues but it is the joining of glorious mouthwatering strings with a shadowed almost growling tone to their beauty which ignites the imagination and passions without restraint. They make a gripping expressive attraction to the already enthralling scenery, steering the imagination into another thick evocative venture. With rhythms and a percussive dance which are chilled to their core and a smouldering glaze of melodic flames courting the flight of the colourful tango, the single is a delicious incitement and a piece of music which surely should find a place in the soundtrack of an upcoming World Cup presentation.

As said at the start, there is not much we can unveil about Tree Dwellers but plenty about their single to spark real eager anticipation of their future journeys and bewitchments.

The Melted ONE released Come Up and See is available digitally now on iTunes.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tree-Dwellers/1432174900357297

8.5/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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