When We Were Wolves – Heartless

When We Were Wolves

At the end of our review of the deeply pleasing The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP from Welsh post hardcore band When We Were Wolves, we added that this was “still a band in the making”. Now the Bridgend quintet unleash its successor in the stunning shape of Heartless to show that they are a creative tempest which has arrived at its first pinnacle whilst still offering the potential of even greater things to come. The five track fury of invention and intensity is a startling encounter exploring a broader and more mature landscape than its predecessor yet still passionately driven by the band’s now distinctive and imaginative post hardcore intent.

Formed in 2011, When We Were Wolves has built a rich reputation for their live presence, which has seen them play alongside the likes of Bury Tomorrow, The Blackout, Devil Sold His Soul, Malefice, Born Of Osiris, Exit Ten, Betraying The Martyrs, Martyr Defiled, and Carcer City. Add that to the success of The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same and it is fair to say that anticipation for its successor was ripe and full, a hunger swiftly sufficed as Heartless rampages through the ears.

Opening track Dying On The Inside straight away lays a feisty glaze of riffs over ears, their lure fusing a punk and metal attraction before the rampaging beats of drummer Josh Baker uncage their full weight upon the sonic turbulence. The bass of Matt Shaw prowls the gripping brawl of sound with relish whilst vocalist Mitch Bock roars with emotion and animosity. Riffs and grooves spill equal animosity through the craft and invention of guitarists Steve French and Rhod Evans too, their intensive proposal alone creating a riveting baiting of thoughts and emotions within the song. It is a stunning start to the EP, the track twisting and embracing the senses with enthralling imagination whilst further inescapable temptation is expelled through the outstanding and impressive vocal delivery of Bock. Like a collision between While She Sleeps and Slipknot with a twist of Cancer Bats, the song is an irresistible contagion.

Coating ears in an initial melodic yet fiery embrace, the next up The Devil You Know soon twists into a ferocious beast of vocal hostility and sonic antagonism. It is a demanding and compelling start but taken to another level as Bock PromoImageunveils more of his superb clean and melody rich vocals which had already enhanced its predecessor. Equipped and skilled to merge both extremes, he proves himself on Heartless to be one of the more exciting frontmen around. An essence of Dead Til Friday prompts thoughts towards the song but again a mere whisper to a sound undeniably belonging to When We Were Wolves. Predatory and seductive, it is a riveting adventure matched immediately by the voracious Blind. A sonic haze starts it off before grooves come out of the woodwork with insidious intent as pounding rhythms bring their equally enslaving thunderous textures. Vocals also explode with wide variety and unbridled passion across the destructive maelstrom smothering the senses. It is an exceptional savagery with a lingering spite ensuring it is one of the pinnacles of the release.

The following Confession takes its spark from the previous track, staggered riffs and venomous grooves an intensive and welcome intrusion as rhythms cast their heavyweight provocation. There is no respite from the vocals either initially, the fighting tones of Bock showing no mercy until his seamless slip into the equally impacting clean and velvet delivery he possesses. The encounter is a masterfully invigorating tempest which like most of the songs, perfectly sculpts its relatively brief length for the most dramatic impact before making way for the closing title track. Lighter in its presence in comparison to the last couple of tracks, Heartless is a radiantly emotive song, a melodically fired croon of sonic enterprise and vocal intensity which steals attention and ardour with Bock again exceptional though well-matched by the skilled sonic and rugged rhythmic charm of the rest of the band.

The Heartless EP is a major triumph for When We Were Wolves and the British post hardcore scene. The Welsh band has not only found its own voice but set out a new vat of promise and invention to inspire even greater anticipation for their next offerings.

The Heartless EP is available digitally through all stores on Monday 22nd September.


RingMaster 21/09/2014

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Apherium – Neoteric

Apherium Online Promo Picture

Spinning a web of varied and flavoursome enticements within their alternative metal bred imagination, UK band Apherium continue their potent emergence with the national reboot of latest EP Neoteric. Containing five tracks which not only reinforces the already established weight and creative invention of their sound but pushes it into an even more exploratory and expansive landscape, the release is a fascinating proposition which maybe does not light raging fires in the passions but certainly sets a lingering and brightly smouldering captivation.

Founded in 2011 whilst members were at college, the Yeovil quartet took little time to hone their intent and sound as shown by debut album The Cycle the following year, which itself followed a self-titled EP. Initially taking inspiration from early thrash and heavy metal, the band’s sound was swiftly evolving by their well-received full-length and even more so with the single Shadows which came out in 2013. It set a teaser for things to come and now explored fully through the Neoteric EP. There is an aggression and power to the release which has its seeds in the bands early days but also a melodic enterprise which revitalises influences found in the likes of Biffy Clyro, InMe, and more so we would suggest Funeral for a Friend. It is a tight and compelling mix which takes little time to thrill and persuade as the EP opens with New Light.

The first track shimmers with a crystalline stroke of a guitar crafted melody to awaken attention before a throaty bass lure aligned to thumping beats sets down its own imposing bait. To that there is an unexpected growl of electro tempting, PromoImagethough it is soon immersed in the full weight of the song’s intensity. A slip into a restrained stroll follows with the vocals of Larry Turner stepping forward, well backed by the supporting calls of the band, to join a pulsating funk kissed bassline from Callum Shortland. It is just another twist in the song though as it ignites again with a raw glaze of riffs from Turner and Ross Derby against imposing strikes from drummer Ashley Jones before a folk stomp of strings joins the raucous revelry, these provided by guest musician Joe Labanowski. It is a riveting proposition, as unpredictable as it is magnetic with the short bursts of returning electro deviltry and the progressive ambience that wraps around its climax more striking invention to the exciting opener.

Silver Tongues comes next with a forceful wall of caustic riffs hitting ears first, though they are entwined with rich sonic lacing and slow jabbing beats. A melodic relaxation emerges soon after with emotive expression from Turner’s vocals and narrative. The progressive endeavour of Derby infuses further rich colour to the song whilst backing vocal scowls and antagonistic rhythms leave an intimidation which nicely tempers the surrounding warmth. Though strings make an enthralling and potent addition to the skilfully sculpted song, it lacks the spark of its predecessor mainly because the bold invention and unpredictability of the first is missing here. Nevertheless it is a deeply pleasing encounter matched by Angels Of Our Nature. The third song merges choppy riffs and crisp rhythms into a weave of glowing harmonies and poetic melodies which engulf imagination and emotions with ease. There is also a drama to the sound of the song which again without quite finding the heights of the opener leaves a hunger in the appetite already woken by the EP.

That early single Shadows is next, a track which is a ball of fiery energy and aggressive intent yet unafraid to venture into reflective vocals and emotive melodic ideation. Cored by a tempest of outstanding rhythms from Jones and Shortland, there is a robust yet seductive intensity to the song and it is easy to see why it raised strong anticipation in so many for Neoteric as it makes a stirring addition to the increasingly impressing EP.

The release is closed by the emotionally intensive and melodically fired Rise Again, another track which is missing something compared to other songs on the release, yet with the skilled musicianship of the band casting a tapestry of sonic adventure over a cauldron of melodic passion, it is impossible not to immerse eagerly into its thoroughly satisfying embrace. That pretty much sums up the EP too, a truly enjoyable proposition which has moments of outstanding ingenuity within a perpetually rewarding canvas.

The Neoteric EP is available digitally from September 22nd through all stores and on CD @ http://apheriumofficial.bandcamp.com/


RingMaster 22/09/2014

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Imicus -The Libertine

Imicus Online Promo Shot

They may have left us all hanging after their impressive first chapter and debut album, but after a two year hiatus UK melodic metallers Imicus return with a new line-up and single soaked in the same invigorating qualities and invention as before. The Libertine is a striking comeback, two tracks reminding us of how the Luton hailing band gripped attention and emotions first time around whilst providing a new expanse and depth to their fascinating and provocative sound.

Before the original line-up disbanded in 2012, Imicus was stirring up keen praise and eager support straight away from their first single Visceral, which was released on Transcend Records in 2009. Eagerly swooped on by radio and its video by the likes of Kerrang! and Scuzz TV, the song’s success was surpassed by debut album Animal Factory the following year. Alongside this success, Imicus equally drew strong responses with their live performances which across the years has seen them share stages with the likes of AC/DC, Bullet For My Valentine, 30 Seconds to Mars, Rage against The Machine, The Stone Temple Pilots, and Aerosmith as well as make successful appearances at festivals like Download, Hellfire, Hammerfest, and The Bulldog Bash where they played with such bands as Breed 77, Sepultura, Opeth, Skindred, Saxon , Motorhead, Status Quo, The Damned, and many more.

Last year saw the end to the break which followed for the band, when co-founder and vocalist Miller decided to take the band out of storage with a new line-up and intent in sound and invention. The Libertine is the first offering from the PromoImageband’s second chapter, and recorded with Russ Russell the single is a gripping incitement swiftly revealing evolution in songwriting and imagination of the band.

The Libertine swiftly encloses ears in thick layers of rugged riffs and sonic enterprise punctuated by punchy beats. It is a captivating web given further strength by the vocals of Miller and the hazy atmosphere sculpted by the skilled melodic designs cast by guitarists Matt Turnbull and Al Hutton. Expulsions of muscular attitude and intensity equally add to the compelling encounter whilst Miller sets brawling roars alongside his flowing melodic delivery and the rhythms of bassist Bradley Beech and drummer Antony Cardinal bring a predatory breath through their attack. Technically as enthralling as it is creatively melodic, the song is a rich blend of explosive textures and bracing atmospheric tension, and a mighty return from the band.

Its companion track is Medusa, a song bred from the same melodic and inventively tenacious template as its predecessor whilst uncovering even stronger evocative potency to its depths against sinews seemingly finding seeds in the likes of Stone Sour and Killswitch Engage. There is a definite feel of Johnny Wore Black to the track’s emotive hues and insightful expression whilst elegant melodies and direct passion feverishly drive its imaginative persuasion.

Both tracks combine for an imposingly pleasing and impressive comeback for Imicus, and the breeding of real anticipation for the band’s new album scheduled for next year. The band may have been away but it did not stop its potency and potential growing, as well as expanding with the influx of new creative blood.

The Libertine is released worldwide on CD and digitally September 26th from all major digital outlets as well as @ http://imicus.bigcartel.com/


RingMaster 21/09/2014

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