Scaling reasoning: talking Abiotic and Casuistry with John Matos

 

abiotic2_RingMaster Review

   Gripping eras and attention with its first touch, it is fair to say that Casuistry, the new album from progressive death metallers Abiotic, has grown into one fiercely fascinating and increasingly compelling proposition. The Miami quintet’s debut album Symbiosis three years back marked the band out as ones to seriously watch but it only hinted at the evolution and corruptive majesty now enthralling from within its successor. Casuistry had us hooked at go, only tightening its grip over every listen, so with big thanks to guitarist John Matos we had to delve deeper into the album; the less than settled times leading to its birth and the whole creative adventure involved.

Hello John and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It has been a short while since your new album Casuistry was unleashed, a release which has come after an ‘eventful ‘time for the band in personnel changes alone. Has its release come with a flush of relief as well as excitement in some ways?

An album release is always full of excitement and nerves. On this one, we had to overcome some particularly difficult hurdles, but it’s made us stronger than ever before. Stoked to finally be able to show Casuistry to the world!

As a listener it is clear the impact both Brent (Phillips) and Travis (Bartosek) have made on not only the album but your sound too. Where did their contribution to Casuistry begin? Were songs already written before their arrival or were they heavily involved in that area too?

The music for Casuistry was just about done being written and in skeleton form when both Brent and Travis joined. Brent had some great ideas and really brought some power and creativity behind the kit. Travis had complete freedom on both lyrics and phrasing. Really blew us away with how catchy his phrasing was and how comfortable he looked. First time together in the studio and it felt like he’d been with us since the beginning.

How did you meet the pair and what inspired the (right) choice to bring them into the line-up?

We met Brent and at a show in south Florida where his band opened up for us. When that transition period began, he was my first choice in finding someone who’d be up to par with playing these tunes, but also with a lot of potential and drive. Brent was an easy decision for us and finding a good drummer is always hard, so we were very lucky! Travis came highly recommended from a friend in the Bay Area death metal scene in California. He auditioned, along with some others, and we decided his sound, tonality, and phrasing was what the new sound needed.

abiotic cover_RingMaster ReviewI am assuming the album took a fair amount of time to get from writing to release, from the disruptions alone. What is the time period to its creation?

We started working on new songs right before our run with The Faceless in 2013, so it had been a little over two years in the works. The disruptions actually worked out in our favor, because we had more time to make the songs the best they could be. We were able to give each song the time it deserved and I’m really glad it ended up that way.

Where would you say the changes in members have affected the album most, in the positive and the negative where you had to reassess ideas and intentions maybe?

Musically, we’ve always been on the same page as far as what our intentions were. We’d been talking about what we were wanting to do with the next record even during the Symbiosis album cycle. I feel like the member changes brought out even more so what we were trying to accomplish. We were able to explain our goals and find those key parts to the puzzle that wanted to accomplish the same things. The negative aspects were merely in the momentum. Because we were in a transitional period, we took a couple of steps back to make some necessary steps forward.

Our first taste of your sound was with debut album Symbiosis, which blew us away. In hindsight though, as we mentioned in our review it is now for us overshadowed by the maturity and sheer creative strength of Casuistry. Where do you see the differences and the strongest leaps between the two?

Thanks so much for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed Symbiosis. Strongest differences were definitely in the song writing. We really tried to focus on putting what gets fans enjoying Abiotic into catchy songs that aren’t overly technical or sounding forced. We also took the approach of this album being pummelling from beginning to end…No filler tracks or anything half assed. Every song has a focus and a goal on its own and in its place on the record as a whole.

Did you approach the new album, apart from the enforced issues, any differently to its predecessor in writing and in the studio?

We did it very differently than the first one, actually. On this one we were able to record pre-production for all the songs and really get a listeners point of view before going into the studio and finalizing. Our first album was written completely in a warehouse and we just practiced for hours. The new approach gave us a different perspective and allowed us to hone in our sound.

The album was recorded with producer Jamie King, a name which needs no introduction. What inspired the link-up and was there anything specifically you discovered in your sound and ideas through his input which brought something unexpected to the album?

We always had Jamie’s name in the mix when it came to recording. He’s recorded some of our favorite records and has a great relationship with Metal Blade. The opportunity presented itself and I could not be more satisfied with the product. Jamie really killed it! Jamie let us be us in the studio and creatively, kind of dick around. We were extremely prepared going in, so we had time to explore and Jamie created the exact kind of vibe and environment we needed to do that.

Any ideas inspired which you are looking to explore further in the next release?abiotic photo Vince Edwards_RingMaster Review

We definitely want to explore some more progressive elements on the next one. We’re already working on some new stuff and it’s going in a cool direction already!

Two tracks on the album also feature guests in vocalist John Gallagher of Dying Fetus (Cast Into the Depths) and guitarist Paul Waggoner from Between the Buried and Me (Absence of Purity). What sparked their potent contributions to Casuistry?

We toured with Dying Fetus in 2013 and kept in touch. Those dudes are amazing and absolutely legendary. I still jam Fetus every day and having John on was an absolute honor. Jamie actually reached out to Paul for us in regards to the guest solo and I could not be more honored to get to play such an awesome solo live. Paul absolutely rips it on Absence of Purity and we’re very grateful for his contribution as well!

We obviously have our favourite moments on the album, is there any particular song or moment in a track which gives you that extra tingle of satisfaction?

I feel like the ending of Absence of Purity is the embodiment of everything we’ve had to go through as a band. Every obstacle we’ve overcome and all the uphill battles to come. I get that purely from the music and it gets me every time. Even on stage. I hope that other people get that same vibe.

You have blasted the album out live since May; did you expose the whole album to the stage in one go or choose particular tracks?

We’ll choose particular tracks for this one, but we’ll be playing about 5 or so new ones, so nearly half the album. It’s going to be a fun one, for sure!

When writing and creating tracks some bands have the live setting in mind to, how songs will translate to studio and gigs, and others of course worry about that after. How about with you guys?

Though we would not sacrifice creativity for it, we definitely keep the live setting in mind. We’re all fans first and really want to make sure everything translates well in the setting where we have everything to prove. We always want to keep our live show on par with what you hear on record.

What comes next for Abiotic after the tour?

Our goal is to stay as busy as we can during this cycle and see as many faces in as many cities as we can!

Once more thank you for chatting with us, any last thoughts you would like to add?

We can’t thank you all enough for the support and hope to see you at a show soon! Thank you for keeping metal alive!

Read our review of Casuistry @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/abiotic-casuistry/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cave Mouth – Deep Water

cavemouth_RingMaster Review

Devon is not renowned for its swamps but they must be there as only that kind of landscape could have bred the deliciously sinister and addictively magnetic hues soaking the new single from UK band Cave Mouth. Quite simply Deep Water is a glorious slice of dark rock ‘n’ roll; swamp meets delta blues in the arms of instinctive funk swing and knowledgeable seduction of century old sirens.

cover_RingMaster Review   Influences to Cave Mouth (or CaveMouth, both used by band and all) come from the likes of Prince, ESG, Busta Rhymes, Leadbelly, Jack White, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Jethro Tull, with lyrical inspirations found in the world around the band from politics and religion to nature, and we would suggest the darkest delights to be found anywhere. There are so many potent attributes to the almost primal air and spellbinding invention of the band’s sound, from the bewitching dual vocal union of guitarist Sketchy Lex and bassist Ms. Mo to the primal rhythms stomped down by she and drummer Wreckless Richie, and equally the psyche twisting web of salacious coaxing cast by the flaming saxophone of Mr. Duncan ‘The Hook’ Hook and Lex’s guitar, everything smoulders with temptation. Deep Water is the darkest and most thrilling proposal from the band to date, but one in a line of simply spellbinding traps laid by the band’s mix of blues, funk, and African music infused adventures which includes last year’s excellent Pagan Blues EP.

Bass and beats instantly grab ears, as too the smoky breath of guitar and sultry caress of sax with their almost immediate evocation of the senses. The slight snarl to the voice of Lex perfectly colludes with the rich texture of Ms. Mo’s, whilst in the irresistible chorus a gnarly additional voice evokes dark bordering on demonic mischief from the heart of the song. Like My Baby meets Kobadelta in a coven lorded over by Old House Playground, the song swaggers from chord to thick chord and beat to wicked beat with the instinctive knowledge that it will have the listener enslaved and in rapture from its first touch, and fair to say it does with its melodic tonic and darkly hued resourcefulness, and especially that incendiary chorus and vocal union.

We have many lusts going on at The RR, and Cave Mouth has just become the cause of another.

Deep Water is available from August 19th

RingMaster 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shitshifter – Intruders

cover_RingMaster Review

Shitshifter’s sound is a blizzard of raw emotion, vicious intensity, and a rage as primal as the dirt at the centre of the earth. It also breeds a bewilderingly contagious energy and incitement aligned to persistently fascinating and unpredictable imagination. It is devastating aural liquor that ensures the German band’s album Intruders is one hellacious and invigorating proposal. This is a release and artist which certainly is not for the faint-hearted or for those needing a safety net with their music. For all who have an appetite to bleed from the ears, delve into toxic emotions, and go places which the Geneva Convention would like to cover if it could, Intruders has the attributes to be a punishing revelation.

It maybe should be no surprise that Intruders is as vicious and compelling as it is with its founders other projects including I Am the Bayonet, Hungry Lungs, Twinesuns, and Nvrvd; bands which have offered plenty of brutally creative treats, the last two in very recent times. The trio of drummer Tobias, bassist/vocalist Stefan, and guitarist Christian, formed Bielefeld based Shitshifter in 2012, fusing the fiercest, most inhospitable strains of death and sludge metal with hardcore viciousness bred on raw crust/d-beat causticity. It is a mix which is unafraid to dip into varied flavours and inventive detours at times, but primarily is cultured to corrupt the soul with pestilential enterprise whilst lyrically tearing into religion.

Worth It and invasive smog of sonic confrontation is the album’s first touch, this soon joined by heavy footed, predatory rhythms alongside the rasping venom of Stefan’s vocals. From here on in, music and voice spew toxicity with every note and throat searing squall, never relenting even as the carnivorous and scarring tones of bass pace sludgy tendrils of guitar, their union creating a barbarously addictive swagger as the senses are scorched by the tempest of intensity and sound. The track’s gripping qualities continue with Kings And Queens, the second song evolving from the final sonic intrusion of its predecessor into just over a minute of even more corrosive and gripping enmity. There is no mercy given or wanted as guitars vein the track like lava and rhythms somehow craft an anthemic nature to the mass onslaught.

Again one scourge of sound and invention slips into another as The Demagogue takes over, the track almost skipping into ears and psyche before unleashing a cancerous cacophony of sound and intent equally as barbaric and skilfully addictive as offered as the last song, though with again no breath allowed between, it gets outgunned and shone by its successor. Far From Eye, Far From Heart stalks air and listener with a rapacious glint in its creative eye and a doom pungent atmosphere which grudgingly drips onto a melancholy soaked canvas. The harrowing but elegant landscape has its own moment to provoke and inspire the imagination too as the hordes of sonic hostility holds back for a passage of haunting calm before they converge on ears again with arguably more restraint but greater threat.

For once there is a break, a couple of seconds of nothing between songs before the outstanding Loyal Dog brings its predation into view with a punk inspired prowl and cold post punk toning to the melodies dripping from the guitar of Christian. Stefan’s bass is simply carnal in tone and touch, tempering the chilling but inviting embrace initially offered though by half way that too is spilling rancor and insatiable ferocity. The track epitomises the Shitshifter sound, its merciless intensity and creative gall but also the always present adventure of invention and styles woven into the excruciating storms if they are at times overwhelmed by the fury.

Igod is another minute plus tirade of sound and ire, and another violation easy to get addicted to whilst Nothing In Common in similar form and barbarity just pummels existing wounds with its metal framed emotional bedlam and bitter hardcore contempt. The pair forcibly light ears and appetite before the closing ShitShepherd ensures the union of band and listener ends with a lingering trespass physically and emotionally, and arguably the album’s pinnacle, though many tracks have a case to claim that.

Song and album just hit and violate the sweet spot, though obviously Intruders or Shitshifter will not be for everyone, with you can imagine many barely lasting a couple of minutes of torment, but if filth infested hardcore/death metal crossovers or indeed the band’s other projects, though openly different, are for you, then bliss could be in the volatile air.

The self-released Intruders is out now.

RingMaster 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stone Foundation – A Life Unlimited

stonefoundation_RingMaster Review

With the soulful heart of The Bureau, the brass revelry of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and hues seemingly hailing from decades of soul, funk, and jazz temptation, the new Stone Foundation album is a tonic for anyone’s day. A Life Unlimited is full-on captivation from start to finish but what sets it and the band apart is a tone and uniqueness which bonds all essences into something you just cannot hear anywhere else. It is mix which has lit up three previous acclaimed releases and now caught fire in the band’s latest provocative shuffle of sound.

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Neil Jones and bassist Neil Sheasby, Stone Foundation was not a project rushed into realisation and the public ear but one honed and pieced together as the right people were discovered and enlisted to make the eight-piece the potent temptation they have proved to be across their releases and a live presence which has seen the band ignite small and lively sweaty venues, support The Specials on a UK tour after being spotted at such a show by drummer John Bradbury, and be invited to Japan as a part of a “visit Britain” campaign by the British embassy. Their records have been just as potent in luring and breeding the band’s reputation on the soul/jazz funk scene and indeed charts, previous album To Find the Spirit their most successful and inciting release to date, well until A Life Unlimited. The band has hit a new plateau with their new ten track romance of the imagination, and a brand of sound which even has more aggressive tastes for the main enthralled.

cover_RingMaster Review     The album opens with new single Beverley, a coaxing of ears by guitar, welcoming beats, and the Ian Arnold cast Hammond bred seducing by which the band’s sound is partly renowned for. In no time the song flows like a warm breeze on the senses, the beats of drummer Phillip K. Ford and percussionist Rob Newton gently but richly magnetic as a brass embrace from Gareth John, Gary Rollins, and Adam Stevens offers fire and mesmerism. The sultry funk air of the track is just as bewitching and though other songs excite personal tastes with more pungent energy and adventure, it is the perfect lead into band and album.

The slow and reflective hug of Pushing Your Love comes next, its soulfully transfixing croon a melancholic smile of harmonies and keys whilst Something In The Light right after, has hips swaying and feet eager to shuffle around the dance-floor with its relaxed but eventful stroll. Once again keys and horns collude in a masterful kiss on ears and imagination as guitar and rhythms simultaneously spin their own invitation. As all tracks, many styles converge into one fascinating proposition, soul, jazz, and folkish enterprise uniting here under an invigorating noir hued sky.

The seventies honed swing of The Turnaround keeps the album burning brightly, even if it does not quite have the spark of its predecessors. In saying that, a great mix of vocals with Jones joined at times by female company and a bubbly texture throughout, ensures it has body and emotions well on board before the humid smoulder of the excellent Speak your Piece and the crystalline moonlit air of The Night Teller add their alluring strolls to the album’s canvas. The first, like a few others, seems to get feistier and more resourceful with every passing minute whilst its successor provides a slice of creative intimacy which only has seduction on its mind from voice to brass flaming, melodic lures to flirtatious rhythms.

Learning The Hard Way is an instant favourite with its Bobby Womack meets By The Rivers meets Fine Young Cannibals festival of enterprise but still soon outshone by the thrilling These Life Stories whose rhythmic bait alone has ears and appetite hooked. In their individual ways, both songs are inflamed by the soothing yet anthemic flame of brass and the latter by an additional dark bassline which reeks seduction. Keys and guitar only add to the webs of tempting, traps the distinctive tones of Jones further colour with expression and emotion.

The album’s title track saunters in next with its eighties northern soul air and cosmopolitan flavours to continue the new plateau the album has hit over the past couple of songs, before the melancholically enchanting instrumental Old Partners, New Dances brings A Love Uprising to an evocative close.

Stone Foundation has produced an album to romance to, reminisce and reflect with, and even chase shadows away through. A Life Unlimited also has the adventure and bite for those with the want of a more pronounced snarl in their music to get off on. Acclaim is already soaking this proposal and really it is no surprise.

A Life Unlimited is available now via The Turning Point Recording Organisation / Republic Of Music digitally and on CD/vinyl.

RingMaster 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright