Lightfoils – Hierarchy

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Bringing a fire and fiercely textured depth rarely heard before in shoegaze, Chicago quintet Lightfoils release debut album Hierarchy to mesmerise, subdue, and inflame the senses. Like a voracious mix of The Capsules and The Mouth of Ghosts but openly individual, the band’s sound and release is a breath-taking wind of poetic invasiveness, an adventure of sultry landscapes within a hazy swamp of emotive and smoulderingly intensive melodic skies. There are times that the release truly imposes on ears and psyche but from start to finish the album is a compelling and fascination blaze of cavernous warm sounds and shimmering transfixing ingenuity.

Consisting of vocalist Jane Zabeth, guitarists Neil Yodnane and Zeeshan Abbasi, bassist Cory Osborne, and drummer John Rungger, Lightfoils emerged in 2010. Since their first steps the band has shared stages with the likes of Ringo Deathstarr, Telescopes, Nightmare Air, and Ume as well as playing at SXSW in 2012, all the time increasing their presence and growing fan base. Their self-titled EP of two years ago set attention and anticipation in motion which the Sanford Parker album is set to take to new levels and intensity such its impressive proposition.

An atmospheric caress wraps ears first as opener Polar Waves emerges to set the album off, its soft yet haunting touch soon joined by jabbing beats and a broody bass tone alongside a web of jangling guitar and angelically a3054064102_2harmonious vocals. It is a rich and enveloping mix which croons as it immerses the imagination into its presence, soaking ears and emotions in a melodically humid flight of endearing enterprise. It is also a merger of light and shadows, the rhythms and bass bringing darker depths to the slightly chilling yet captivating voice of the song cast by heated guitars and vocals. It is a striking and mesmeric start to the encounter but soon finding itself in the shade of its successor.

Last One is a killer of a song, from its first rhythmic anthemic tantalising swiftly joined by the rugged charm of raw guitar and the seemingly persistently cantankerous bass tones, it dances with the passions. Keys as in the first soar across ears and the ceiling of the song but spread a more expansive and potent emotive soundscape here beneath which there is a primal energy and irresistible bait enslaving thoughts. Adding a slight post punk steel to the canvas of temptation, predominantly through the bass of Osbourne, and a distinct flame of abrasing sonic colouring to the flaming climate, the track is a mouth-watering and thrilling wash of invention led by the siren-esque call and harmonies of Zabeth.

Those same mesmeric temptations permeate the dynamic emprise of Addict, a track which stirs the blood from the outset with its scorching sonic welcome and subsequent anthemic stride aligned to a bewitching weave of aggravated sinews and sweltering enchantments. The track boils with contagious intensity and squalling hues throughout, igniting ears through to emotions with its rigorously expressive, almost antagonistic heart and abrasing crystalline beauty.

Diastolic similarly grips attention and a by now raging appetite for the album, its first coaxing of that constantly delicious and grizzling bass tempting binding a concentrated focus. It is a lure aided just as rivetingly by guitar and crisps rhythms. The spine of rhythmic invention and contagion across the whole of the album is simply irresistible, the dark spicing a perfect temper and complement for the flowing summery vocals and steamy melodies swirling overhead. The track is like a passionately orchestrated sunset, its rich hues and intriguing sonic scenery a shifting enthralling composition which embraces and seduces the whole body.

The following Mock Sun is a more laboured persuasion, a song which superbly blends the darker ravages of sound with smothering blazes of aural sun and seductive melodies but loses the key to the passions which previous tracks held so forcibly. Its central snarl though ensures the track leaves satisfaction full and the voice of Zabeth in control of emotions before making way for the excellent Passage. The track glides effortlessly across the senses, a glaze of House Of love and My Bloody Valentine stroking ears before a fiery swell of endeavour and energy brews in its belly. The song is a lingering seduction, its melodic lips searching and glancing over every inch of the senses and imagination like a celestial lover spawned from a darker corner of temptation. One of the pinnacles of the release, the track gloriously sends emotions into rapture before an untitled instrumental comes in to treat the imagination. The piece is a spatial soar with heavenly whispers and pulsating tones but seems out of place certainly where it is on the album. As an intro or outro it would have been an embracing to dive within but where it is truthfully you are just looking to the next track.

Next up alovetodestroy seeps from its predecessor with an echoing swarm of sound which in turn triggers a feisty expulsion of grippingly aggravated rhythms and icy bass taunting around which Zabeth and guitars sculpt another sizzling romance fuelled further by the evocatively potent keys. The song is as busy and lively as it is rigorously beguiling, heating up the senses for Hideaway to cast its wily melodies and alluring charm over. A gentler floating of spiritual aural seducing compared to the previous track, the song engulfs the listener in a bordering on tempestuous atmosphere which you only want to bask in.

Completed by another nameless piece of skilful composing and vivid realisation and as the previous piece against the other tracks less compelling even with its cinematic quality, Hierarchy is a cosmic and reflective fantasy brought to rich aural life. Lightfoils has crafted an immersive escape within which you can find hope, shadows, and unbridled pleasure.

Hierarchy is available now via Saint Marie Records @ http://saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com/album/hierarchy

https://www.facebook.com/Lightfoils

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Overpower – Greatness Within

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Casting a groove infested thrash bred temptation of modern metal Greatness Within makes a potent and intriguing introduction to Croatian metallers Overpower. The band’s debut album does not offer ground-breaking rages or startlingly unique tempests but grips attention with accomplished and enterprising twists on a fusion of sound which instinctively sparks a keen appetite for its recipe. It is a roaring and bruising onslaught of rapacious riffs with matching antagonistic rhythms all bound in a web of grooves and melodic acidity which easily ignites the imagination. Primarily it is an entrance which casts Overpower as a formidable protagonist of flavoursome hostile metal.

The band began in 2006, formed by guitarist Daniel Badanjak, bassist David Vukusic, and drummer Frane Velcic. Playing mainly covers from the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Judas Priest, the band searched for their own direction with original songs over the next couple of years. A few frontmen were tried whilst Velcic left the band, his departure seeing the joining of drummer Hrvoje Dizdar. After the leaving of another vocalist, the band contacted Velcic to come in as frontman for a gig they were playing. Such its success he decided to remain in the band as vocalist before the Zagreb quartet set about recording Greatness Within. With an open vein of inspiration from the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Slayer, and Down to the band and sound, the album boils up a skilled and magnetic storm of voracious metal which may not startle but definitely excites

As soon as the opening steely dark throated tones of bass opens up Paid Trip to Nightmare, attention and swiftly after appetite are caught and ready to embrace the opening song. A heavy swipe of guitar brings drama to the sinister air before casting a captivating web of slightly portentous but enthralling colour to the breath of the song. The kick into a thrash fuelled charge is quick and seamless, the track suddenly a savage rage of destructive rhythms and hungry riffs ridden by the raw and rasping growls of Velcic. Exhaustive and thunderously impacting, the track is an explosive start; a searing solo and anthemic tenacity all adding to the compelling bait.

The following Final Laughter makes a purposeful if reined start, riffs and rhythms again hitting hard with an even paced intent whilst the excellent bass suasion of Vukusic is grizzled in bestial voice and presence. More expectations feeding than its predecessor, the imposing brute of an encounter still draws an eager hunger with its muscular rhythmic punches, stalking riffs, and the excellent coarse tones of the frontman. It keeps the album on a richly satisfying course before being put in the shadows by the outstanding Conqueror. Instantly wrapping ears in a melodic enticement, the track has thoughts engrossed, especially when stretching its sinews with predacious riffs and again controlled yet intimidating rhythms. It is a commanding persuasion which steals greater glories with its step into a groove spiced melody inflamed passage of resourceful design led by the excellent switch into clean vocals. It is a masterful and riveting turn which works perfectly with the entwining voracity of sound and intent around it; the song easily the best thing on the release.

Both Life in a Lie and the title track give it a run for its money though, the first emerging from a haunting atmosphere with a Pantera like swagger to its stroll and savage tone to the bass. Soon aided by bewitching grooves and the continuing to impress vocals, the song lurches like a predator of carnal persuasion across thoughts and imagination, setting a danger bred canvas lit by searing flames of guitar enterprise. As most songs there is a familiarity to its body and heart but nothing to defuse its impact and absorbing call. In a different guise its successor is much the same, brewing up a less than strikingly new proposition but gripping attention with resourceful and imposingly attentive sounds to which the return of clean vocals alongside the dirtier delivery only increases the pleasure.

The grievous bass sound of Roulette again ignites a swift licking of lips to which the furious torrent of crippling rhythms and riff sculpted severity thrust forward by the raucous spit of dual vocals brings a wider grin. The track is a thoroughly agreeable rampage across ears and emotions. Anthemic and hard hitting, as all the songs, the onslaught of predation leaves passions full but ready for much more which Monster soon provides in uncompromising style. With a gentle guitar and vocal croon the song transfixes senses and imagination, its opening tale the fuse to exploratory thoughts which are given another dose of incitement by the heavy crawling bestial weight and intensity straight after. It comes with a net of sonic intrigue and vindictive rabidity, courtesy of the bass, a weave ridiculously gripping and deliciously infecting.

The song is a mighty end to an impressive release though there is the Outro to actually bring the album to a close but it is a decent but nothing piece of music which just sits showing its creative muscles. Greatness Within is a powerful debut which without drenching itself in originality marks out Overpower as a potential clad strikingly enjoyable prospect, with already the skills and sound to make large and potent statements.

Greatness Within is available now via Geenger Records and @ http://overpowerzg.bandcamp.com/album/greatness-within

https://www.facebook.com/overpowerband/

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Monolith – Dystopia

MONOLITH2 Photo by Fabian Sauer

It is very easy to have mixed feelings about Dystopia, the debut album from German doom rockers Monolith. On one hand it is so close to Black Sabbath in its sounding, with even vocalist/bassist Ralf Brummerloh offering a clone like Ozzy delivery as he unveils the individual narratives, that you struggle to pick out too much which makes a distinct and unique impact. Against that though, the release and songs are so magnetic and superbly presented that it is hard not to be compelled to indulge in its seventies seeded and sounding flight time and time again. It is an encounter which is sure to divide opinions but you suspect will persuade more than it disappoints.

Based in Bremen and formed in 2010, Monolith creates an atmospheric and sultry old school doom rock atmosphere which wears its heart and origins on every note and syllable expelled by the trio of guitarist Ron Osenbrück and drummer/backing vocalist Andre Dittmann alongside Brummerloh. Inspirations it is easy to assume include the likes of Electric Wizard and Pentagram but it is that Sabbath well where the heart and breath of the band’s first offering seems to be spawned from overall. With lumbering intensity and imposing predatory rhythms aligned to tightly binding grooves and searing psychedelic temptation, the predominantly live recorded Dystopia is a thick oppressive charm to easily enjoy, if probably not to be inspired by.

The album immediately engulfs ears with deep pulsating riffs, gripping rhythms, and a growling almost carnivorous bass sound, the latter persistently pleasing bait across the whole of the release. Won’t Come Down is an immediate Cover Artwork by Rocket & Winkand sizeable tempting to start things off, not a particularly dramatic offering against subsequent tracks but a clear hint of what is in store. The song strolls with a heavy yet eager gait, grooves and caustic sonic flames holding a creative grin as they smart against the senses and imagination. The vocals of Brummerloh as mentioned also show their influence boldly, whether by choice or coincidence, but still make an enjoyable colour in the sultry scenery of the song and its swagger fuelled, contagious chorus.

The strong start is matched and pushed a tad further by the following Cosmic Fairy. From a delicious throaty bass coaxing and a swiftly joining blaze of seventies washed acidic guitar, the track holds a steady and even stride framed by similarly gaited rhythms. Though the song does not have the infectious lure of its predecessor, it burns and sizzles with striking designs of sonic venture from Osenbrück to certainly grip attention and awaken a keen appetite for the unfurling proposition.

The next up Hole roughly caresses ears with an initial hot scrub of fuzz filtered guitar and a dark bass tone with an almost demonic tremolo resonance to its malevolence. Smouldering in breath and citric in flavour, the track winds around thoughts and emotions with potent melodic and hazy hues, easily recruiting intrigue and enjoyment. Again though there is no escaping the comparison to the Birmingham legends which dilutes any chance of passions raging before its undeniable skilled and appetising incitement, something applying across the whole of Dystopia to be honest.

The dark uncompromising title track slowly wraps its heated climate around senses next, it’s slowly imposing doom sourced evocation a thick engaging swamp of ebbing and flowing enticement which pleases without sparking real fire in the belly. Its successor Acid Rain employs similar intrusive textures amidst entwining spirals of sonic tempting and a great incendiary flame of funk infused adventure, to explore a successful but barely lingering path.

The album concludes with two highly satisfying encounters, firstly the infectious hip swinging Sleepless Eye. With its transfixing addictive lures and expressively charismatic melodic web of invention, it is the best track on the album; a richly enterprising treat of a song which is unafraid to glide through energetic festivity to suffocating doom crafted shadows, every twist lit by scorching guitar play. The closing Rainbow provides an epic journey of seismic intensity and rhythms within virulent psychedelic smog of imposing weight and heavy metal structures. It is a predator of a track, stalking and preying on the psyche whilst unleashing a contagion packed net of rapacious endeavour. Monolith saved the best encounters to the rear of the album, a closing packed with potential and more originality than shown before but still within well-trodden avenues.

There is no getting away from the core recognisable sound of Dystopia and its inspiration but even with that Monolith provides a strongly enjoyable and easy to return to release which has to be classed as a success.

Dystopia is available now via Finalgate Records @ http://finalgaterecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Monolith.doomrock

7.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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