Forcing dreams with realisation: talking ESCAPETHECULT with founder Peter G. Shallmin

Peter G. Shallmin

A proposition which increasingly impresses and continually reshapes thoughts and emotions the more time shared with it, All You Want To is one of the year’s most intriguing, ingenious, and exciting progressive metal explorations. It comes from ESCAPETHECULT, a band created and driven by Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin and filled with the further creative talent of Uneven Structure vocalist Matthieu Romarin, Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander, and guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate. The project has been a passion brewing away within Peter for years and their first album a compelling and striking incitement for ears, and imagination. We had the pleasure to learn about the band and more with Peter who kindly shared his time to talk band, the search for specific elements, the debut album, and much more….

Hi Peter and thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

Tell us about the beginnings of the band and the initial spark and inspiration behind it.

Greetings from far Siberia, dear Pete! Pleasure to meet you!

Thank you for this great opportunity. Much appreciated. Always nice to have a talk between two Pete’s btw…haha!

Well, it was me, who was so crazy and passionate to begin ESCAPETHECULT. It’s me who’s the spark, inspiration, nerve, force…and even the plague. I’m almost everything.

The absolute “driving force” – my dream when I was very young – was to play with my favourite musicians: Tim Alexander of mighty PRIMUS I was quite fortunate to reach him sending the e-mail with the idea to cooperate. You can understand my highest level of excitement when I’ve received his words “This is cool!”.

Mike Wead is my guitar hero. I’m lucky enough to say he is my long-time partner, we have worked together in my main band Kamlath and I wanted to see him in ESCAPETHECULT.

Was there a sound already in mind as the project came to life and if so how did that evolve as the line-up of ESCAPETHECULT grew?

In fact, I didn’t think about the sound. The keys were: the idea and the music that I had.

Till the very end we didn’t care about the sound. I mean there were no questions how should, say, drums or riff guitars be sounding. As far as the construction of the actual ETC sound was under many factors I was very calm and confident in a result because the highest level of professionals I collaborate.

How about the visual side, was there a concept or direction in mind there too?

I had everything in my mind to embody I just was needed the right artist to make it real.

I get the impression that the project was a seed growing inside over time rather than a sudden spur of the moment idea.

Yes, you are right! Thank you for this question. Not a spur of course…A picky, detailed and really hard job.

Despite the fact that I’ve started to work with Tim and Mike practically immediately, I considered finding a further guitarist for the riff parts and a vocalist. And this was the hardest task ever that has been lasting for 4 years in total. A numerous shots with various guitarists and vocalists all over the world…(around 20 musicians in total or even more) haven’t brought the outcome I hunted to achieve. The final line up was formed just more than year and half ago.

No success to find the right rhythm guitarist has forced me to compose and to demo it by myself and ask Mike to forge and improve them with his brand fingerprint.

And the songs which grace your debut album All You Want To; ideas from before the band or freshly sculpted since its emergence?

Artists involved had a full freedom and all the time they needed to compose and record everything.

Could you imagine that for example one song had blast beats? Yes it was. Some of my basic ideas were so extreme, on the edge. My ideas are not holy, I’m very flexible. Everything on this album was balanced with a clever and mature approach of Tim’s unique touch; the songs were shaped, sculpted as you said, re-arranged by Mike in details (through many months). Matt’s personal contribution as a composer and vocalist is so huge.

Sometimes it sounds like a jam but there’s no jam at all. They have given a new breath, new soul and new life to our creation.

I hate the term super group but certainly ESCAPETHECULT has some already acclaimed talented and inventive musicians involved as you have already talked of. Can you elaborate further on how the link up with you all came about and was this collection of talent always in mind as the band came to reality?

For me ESCAPETHECULT is my musical family. If there’s no Tim Alexander there’s no ETC. It would be a completely different band.

I’ve composed all songs the way like I‘ve “seen” Tim behind the drums. I’ve imagined our jam together: where we stop and go where we put this accent, where’s the fill etc.

Mike is the artist I see in the band – his talent and technique is so unique. Matthieu is the star that I finally found after the years of painful research.

There was a proper picture what should be played, how and where but no restrictions to create something new. There was a full autonomy to Tim, Mike and Matthieu to turn it to another direction. I didn’t care about the whole album sound but I was insane to discover the vocalist with exact timbre, style and the voice charisma.

Now I think the stars (in the sky I mean) did the job right! I had to go through this long way to accomplish exactly what I wanted.

With the likes of Primus, A Perfect Circle, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Uneven Structure, and Kamlat the ‘vehicles’ by which we know you all, was there any expectations on the outside towards the ESCAPETHECULT and your debut album escapethecult coverAll You Want To that you came across?

I see ESCAPETHECULT has broken many expectations, I see it on FB when we’ve got a decent amount of “unlike” straight after the first worldwide spin of I’m Absolute. Even in some reviews I felt this big disappointment (why so big?).

I guess some listeners were hoping to hear an aggressive mixture of heavy death metal riffing with more dynamic and fast drumming with harsh recitatives ala “Tommy The Cat” and epic clean vox over mega-delayed ambience with touch of growls here and there…I bet.

Alongside with this kind of reaction we keep receiving mostly praise. We’ve got an immediate support of PROG UK / METAL HAMMER UK – all our official steps were translated through their channels – first promo video, single video, full album stream and the 3 pages feature interview by Dom Lawson in # 49 Prog Magazine printed with such serious analyse and amazing words from him.

We are sincere thankful for those who have devoted much more time (than usually do) to try to get ETC’s message twice (3, 4 times and more), who has postponed for a “next time” to come back and to listen again and again.

Now we are associated with different styles and genres from progressive metal to pop-rock. It’s such a wonderful feeling to learn what our music gives the listener, what thoughts arises and associations brings. Not simple comparison to Tool only 🙂

You have to listen to our instrumentals – it has so many layers, hidden parts to discover, some unexpected revelations. You’ll find bossa nova in the main bass part of Feel The Flight, tango with “slows and quicks” in Tired Of The Past, psychedelia in This Time Will Come, jazzy odd signatures in I’m Absolute.

There are such varied backgrounds and flavoursome styles behind you all, I am imagining writing and bringing songs to life is a fun but maybe also an intensive kind of moment with numerous ideas coming to the fore. How did the songwriting work in regard to the album and in its recording?

The entire album has been done in my home studio. It has taken no more than 2 weeks in total to compose, record, and arrange all ideas.

I’m lefty, maybe it explains a bit, why our music is so weird…Rhythm section is my passion, I have demoed all drum parts; luckily Tim has kept my drum ideas and enriched it. Tim’s drums are the same as they were delivered by him in the first recording. He has recorded it in his home studio on the same custom TAMA/Zildjian drum he uses with PRIMUS. Don’t need to say that his playing is top notch and tight like a clock so it stays untouched with the rest of the old (at the first demo stage) and the new arrangements.

Unfortunately through those years it was a misfortune to find the right rhythm guitarist and this fact has impelled to record riffs by myself and pass it to Mike then. Mike Wead has re-arranged and recorded riff guitars, leads/solos with a kind assistance of Simon Johansson (guitarist of WOLF, MEMORY GARDEN, ABSTRACT ALGEBRA etc.) at Solna Sound Recording Sweden.

Our rising star – Matthieu also recorded his vocals in own studio. The final production of All You Want To has been completed by Mike.

To sum up…the outcome of all members involved was very fast. The research of the artists has taken 4 years.

The band members are settled in various areas of the world. Did you all come together in one location for the album’s recording or was it done across studios and time etc.?

It was done across studios and time. The web has been a key aspect for the creation of ESCAPETHECULT. The web has made the world small enough for all of us to be able to work together.

There were thousands of mails, notes, guides, mega packages of audio files, sequences, even multi-seconds. It was a smooth and productive experience because everyone knew his role.

In few words it looked like:

– Hey, here’s the sequence 00:45 – 01:15 I put here an additional harmony and few overdubs to support the main part. What you think?

– I love it!

– Don’t you think we need to up the bass volume + 0,00005 dB…

– Hmm… it might work…

– No… roll back + 0,00005 is TOO much …make it + 0,00004 dB

– Yeah, man…I love it!

Kiddin’ of course although you can imagine how meticulous I am. Nevertheless every single note, accent, instrument and the whole performance is natural.

Give us some insight on how the album came together and the energy and determination it has taken to get it all together and out there without any label support.

Free will and sincere approach, Nothing more… If you don’t like the idea or music you won’t join…right?

We do it without any label support. Yes, I wanted it in the very beginning but few hints showed that the labels hadn’t interest in this kind of creative alliance despite the names. To be honest, the music we represent is not for the masses.

Thanks a lot to our partner – HOLD TIGHT PR! James you are doing a really hard job and I guess it was one of the hardest task to let people heard us and to find a balance between existing media tastes, expectations and disappointments and integrate ESCAPETHECULT into it. It’s quite hard nowadays to open the eyes.

Moreover I must admit it’s a very expensive project. Don’t do that if you haven’t the crazy truth in your forces and balls…J

Is there a particular theme or veining musically and lyrically across All You Want To?

Our hearts and souls in every single note!

What have been the main inspirations to the album’s heart and lyrical paintings?

The full title we quote as “ALL YOU WANT TO ESCAPE THE CULT”. We convey our own and simple philosophy on every day’s symbols, signs that have many meanings.

Mostly it’s about the time through many skins, origins, components that are around us: social life, politics and religions. About something that quite often fears us with a touch of sarcasm and self-irony. The primary message is quite simple: Be free. Your freedom is a gift to live and build your own day, life and “world”.

How about the visual side of the project, who drives that and how does it relate to your music.

It was a parallel period that has been took the years too. I’m extremely picky because I know what I want. I was needed a very detailed conceptual art.

The creator of our visual concept is Igor Omodei, a truly talented French artist and he is in UNEVEN STRUCTURE too.

I’ve gave him my ideas, “the story” behind each song and he has created all arts, illustrations to every song and full layout to our debut. Inside of the digipack release you can find a monologue written by Igor. He also did ESCAPETHECULT’s promo video and a debut single video for I’m Absolute.

I’d say more our visualization for this album is not finished yet. Our crew is much wider than you could think and the final list of artists is really big.

ESCAPETHECULT will bring some wonders till the end of this year!

Is there a live side to the band yet with you so far apart?

We are very close with Mike because we haven’t stopped to work and we are on the finish line with the second Kamlath album that should see the light in the end of this year. With Matthieu too – I’m glad he rises higher with Uneven Structure and I’m quite happy for his success.

We were very anxious about Tim’s heart’s surgery lately but now everything’s fine, he is a titan and right now he is back to rehearsals with Primus for the coming tour in November.

Everything’s just fine between us.

It is right to say that the aim is for ESCAPETHECULT to be a unique multi-sensory experience?

At least we’ve tried and now we have our own experience, personal and in the creation of All You Want To. If the listener thinks the same – we are happy! In any case we continue our creative investigations

We found All You Want To made a potent initial impact but flourished more the further down the line we went, its charm and elements a lingering lure drawing us back into its arms where to be fair we discovered more and more of its depths with every listen. As you brought the album to life did you feel or sense how it might work predominantly with listeners?

Strange… Weird?

Bizarre!

Avant-garde!!!

Hell, No..!

Hell…Yeah!

WTF?!

So boring…

Damn, it’s a gem!

(ah ..yes I’ve forgot all those who has disliked …you know what they usually say J)

We called it a progressive album to give a sense of its sounds to readers, but it embraces much more than that. How would you describe it?

This is the MUSIC and ART first. The second – it’s not a “piece of cake”, a “hard nut” indeed. It’s very intelligent concept for a forward thinking person. No clichés…A book within deep musical and art landscapes. You HAVE to take a time to understand it… Not just one take. All You Want To opens up more with every new spin. Mature, honest, diverse and unique.

What comes next for ESCAPETHECULT?

The second album of course… a new visualization in a more bizarre way.

We have faced some reviewers making a mistake in the title of the album put the word “Need” instead “Want”, so I think we have to call our next work “All You NEED To”…

(The RingMaster Review holds hands up in guilt)

People want to see us on the stage in 2015 we consider some opportunities to make this project live.

Till the end of this year there will be a limited edition release in a very special package of all instrumental versions of the songs plus some cool surprises.

Thanks again Peter for sharing your time to talk with us. Any last words you would like to share?

My pleasure to answer to your interesting questions!

All the best to our listeners, to RingMaster!

Listen to the MUSIC! We bring it to you!

Cordially,

ESCAPETHECULT

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

Read the All You Want To review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/escape-the-cult-all-you-need-to/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 31/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

Eyes Of Mara – Self Titled

untitled-13 300

At times bedlamic, and very often a cacophonous onslaught, the debut self-titled album from US metallers Eyes Of Mara is one of the most compelling and savage releases this year. It is a provocation that gives you no choice but to dive headlong into its vicious depths, the release dragging ears and senses into its fury from the very first second but once enslaved it reveals an exhausting and invigorating brawl of invention and ferocious enterprise.

Metalcore, deathcore, hardcore, however you wish to tag the band’s sound, Eyes Of Mara cast a destructive web which draws on hordes of different flavours to create their simultaneously familiar yet unique ravaging of the senses and imagination. Formed in 2010 and taking their name from a Buddhist demon who is the embodiment of impulse and death, the band was swiftly igniting audiences with their furnace of sound and hostility. A year ago their well-received first EP Akkadia was unleashed, drawing attention and acclaim towards the Californian quartet. Having recently signed with Imminence Records, Eyes Of Mara now have broader horizons in their sight and their album the next uncaged persuasion.

Opening track is called Vicious and that sums it and the album up perfectly. From fiercely jabbing beats, caustic riffs, and a vocal squall of pure rage, the track explodes in one hellacious torrent of spiteful rhythms and insatiable riffery lorded over by even more malicious vocals. It is a maelstrom of energy and noise, a sonic whipping flailing the core and hunger of the track as varied essences and vocal diversity add to the cacophony resulting in one glorious and brutal tsunami. There is a surface turmoil to the song but with a wickedly creative underbelly, though the sheer force and urgency of the assault overrides the senses predominantly. At times reminding of Slipknot as their inhospitable best, the track is a seriously destructive and thrilling start.

A more reserved entrance to the following Control gives a sense of security for ears though it is a deceit which is soon twisted into a volatile and ravenous tempest of intent and sound. Grooves bred by guitarist John Rubay groan throughout the ravishment consuming ears whilst the uncompromising rhythms of drummer Nick Rubay hold no restraint in swing and impact. It is merciless proposition but whereas the opener was an unbridled storm the second song is more of a predator feistily stalking its victim. Its more defined entrapment is matched by Don’t Get Close, a track where nu-metal tendencies share their colour with the emerging and sonically scorched tapestry being woven by the band. Essences of Korn search out for the imagination but equally a Whitechapel/As I Lay Dying like violence is on rampant display as the track makes a two pronged and inescapable persuasion. Vocalist Tyler Trainer is almost schizophrenic in his variety of attacks whilst the heavy intimidating lines of bass from Cody McDonald impressively add to the dark depths and hostility of the encounter.IR021

Both Pain and Fear and Our Paths keep the blistering rage and corrosive attacks coming, the first an antagonistic bruising with an underlying swagger and a host of seductively compelling grooves. It is a rhythmic mugging and sonic cruelty which just keeps giving, resulting in yet another virulently contagious and imaginatively punishing treat, whilst its successor riding its range on an enthralling steed of unpredictable rhythms, unveils further riveting and exciting surprises. The clean vocal venturing leaves any expectations which are maybe thinking of rising floundering, whilst similarly the melodic hardcore and almost progressive twists of the song, plus electro hues, catch deeply satisfied thoughts and emotions off guard.

The hardcore fuelled Derailed sears ears next, a short but vehemently intrusive song featuring Ian Forsythe from fellow Danville based band Cyborg Octopus, is pure vitriol in voice and energy. Yet as in all songs anything suggested is only part of the story, this track flirting with and scything through the senses and imagination with a torrential barrage of creative adventure and inventive voracity. It’s far too brief corruption is followed by a new turn in of events started by Rebirth. From this point the album shows another side to its character and the band’s exploration in sound and songwriting. Coaxing with a progressively nurtured and haunting calm, the song relentlessly builds up a dramatic and captivating wall of restrained yet oppressive sound. It is an evocative lure which consumes the length of the instrumental, and though as its peaceful climax leaves a slight dissatisfaction at the absence of the hinted eruption to come, it sparks emotions ready for the chilling exploration of Colder. Like a mix of Palms, Converge, and maybe Killswitch Engage, the track is an enthralling venture into new corners for the album, and though it lacks the addictive toxicity which wonderfully contaminates early songs, it is a heavily riveting and intimidating slab of emotive beauty and impassioned rancor.

Behind These Walls provides an outlet for the muscular adversarial might of the band to over-run ears and senses again, riffs and rhythms as incorrigible as they are brutal, matched by an exhaustingly mercurial vocal display and sonic ire. To this there are more twists than in a rat run in wait, a delicious sidestep into a thumping stride of rock ‘n’ roll rampancy and swaggering particularly stunning. It is another major peak across the lofty mountainous range of great tracks making the album bulge, only the infernal fade-out a minor niggle for tastes.

Closing on the inhospitable and tempestuous Force Of Change, metal and hardcore in barbaric union, the album is a sensational and ravenous triumph. Eyes Of Mara ensure it needs close attention and extra work at times in order to swim through the sonic winds surfacing the fearsome adventure, but rewards with a whirlwind of invention and flavour to make another important release of 2014.

Eyes Of Mara is available digitally and physically now via Imminence Records @ https://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/eyes-of-mara

https://www.facebook.com/eyesofmara

RingMaster 31/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

Siren – The Row

10325554_750091938344237_5771939173457027885_n

Loaded with a boisterous and captivating strain of alternative rock aligned to pop punk vivacity, The Row from Italian rockers Siren is a release which may not be driven by startling originality but thoroughly thrills and rewards just the same. Consisting of eleven tracks which hold a creative swagger and contagious presence, the release is a debut to wake up potent attention, if not one to inspire a shouting from the rooftops over the Pesaro quartet.

Siren was formed in 2013 by guitarist Jack Nardini and soon grew with the addition of drummer Mark “Spud” McKenzie, vocalist/guitarist Samuel Frondero, and Marcus Kawaka on bass and synths. There were also personal and creative connections between various members of the band, which it is fair to say has brought a unity which it is easy to suggest helps their sound come over tight and impassioned. The Row is their step into the fuller gaze of not only Italy but the world with its release via Red Cat Records, who Siren recently signed with. Around a year in the making, the release is a gripping temptation of thick hooks and fiery melodies all locked in rock ‘n’ roll carrying a broad smile to its character.

The album opens with Swan’s Tale, a track where we would be lying if we said it instantly roused the passions. Now it would be wrong to mistake this for a poor start to The Row as it is a compelling and intriguing entrance into the release, slowly entwining melodies with a classical seeding caressing ears as male and female vocals seduce whilst a military lilted rhythmic lure make its potent persuasion. The track is pleasing and accomplished but for some reason for personal tastes offers more than it delivers, only whetting the appetite with its symphonic teasing rather than igniting it. It also is deceitful, its presence very different to the sound and revelry which emerges straight away in the following Dr. Saint and subsequently across the album.

The second track swiftly strides with punchy beats and enticing riffs, a hard/alternative rock bounce and catchiness fuelling the following strides of bass and spicy hooks. Vocally too Frondero comes with a contagious persuasion and energy, backed as resourcefully by Nardini and Kawaka. It all combines for a virulent stomp, one with enough reserve to stop it turning into a riot but plenty of aggressive enterprise to make a rich and lingering impression. Its excellent incitement is matched by the equally fiery and excited Mission. Again hooks and melodies hold a mischief in their tenacity and infectiousness, thoughts of Super Happy Fun Club and at times Offspring coming forth.

Through the tantalising intrigue of sound and expression in Lonely Dance, the album leaps another step in irresistible adventure, stalking guitars and sinisterly toned vocals the prelude to an energetically seductive chorus, which in turn 10538561_795983157088448_3710117029647500301_nis linked to its next expulsion by a teasing of minimal but potent melodies across an anthemic stroll of rhythms. It is a gripping bait of sinew framed melodic rock which is followed by the not quite as striking Track ’92, such the power of its predecessor. The song though instantly inspires the imagination, its open glaze of enticement amidst a mellow breath offering a Blue Oyster Cult air which floats into a canvas of evocative melodies and an increasingly brewing uprising of raw riffs and passion drenched vocals. More a smoulder than a romp as earlier songs, it offers a relentless expectations fooling temptation from first listen until it too stands to the fore of the biggest highlights of the album over time.

Love Is Gone steals tops honours on the album though; it’s niggling riffs and beats from the first second swiftly complimented by a tangy new wave vocal taunting wrapped in wiry grooves. At times the song and its imaginative flirtation borders on insane though it, as the sounds, is honed into a riot of rock pop contagion which leaves a nagging and lingering impression.

The pair of Wave, with its XTC whisper, and Roger Sabbath cast less dramatic but easily as engrossing offerings, the first song a summer breeze rolling in on a muscular rhythmic shuffle with melodies as pungent as the vocal harmonies embedded within its warm charm, and the second a classic rock spiced canter, equipped with jabbing beats and exotically flowing keys. It is the gnarly basslines though which ultimately steal the passions, its snarl a great temper for the flames of melodies and increasingly impressing vocals. Though neither song can match the pinnacle of The Row, both leave appetite lustful for more and emotions happy to throw increasing praise on band and release. Carpet also falls into that richly satisfying category, though with its sneaky stroll and elegant charm of keys, the track creeping with the rascality and buoyancy of 12 Stone Toddler, it puts a further high peak in the album’s suasion.

The Row is completed by firstly the raw and brawling punk bred Spit, punchy keys and beats the bait to which anthemic tendencies in riffs and vocals dance an agitation tune. It is a glorious charge through ears, though once gaining submission it teases with a side step into a drama hued calm before erupting again into that great energetic bluster. It is succeeded by Falling Down, the closing song an exceptional tenacious waltz with jagged riffs, flaming melodies, and emotion soaked strings all adding to its spellbinding tapestry.

From a decent start, The Row proves to be an outstanding and eventful debut from Siren, at times living up to the band name. Is it bursting with something truly new, not really but if you want to know if it is an inescapably enjoyable encounter, of that there is no question.

The Row is available now via Red Cat Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/it/album/the-row/id926291276

http://www.siren.rocks

RingMaster 31/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/