Hell Puppets – Theatre of Sin

Hell Puppets_RingMaster Review

Picture the scene, after one flawed but certain success Victor Frankenstein’s ambitions go full out to feed his appetite for rabid music. So with bodies embalmed with the raw irreverence of Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, the ravenous metallic animus of Morgue Orgy, the virulent contagion of Dope, and the punk mischief of Dirt Box Disco, he created EviL-P, BeLiaL, GRavES, BeeLzEBeN, and SaTurNiST to spread the red and devour the soul. Or it might simply have been the Devil which dragged Hell Puppets from their English graves to conjure and release the lustful addiction that is Theatre of Sin.

The debut album from the Sussex bred quintet is a carnivorous vaudeville of horror and creative drama cast across a dozen songs which just thrust a knife of contagion through the heart and continually twist it with a bounty of punk ferocity, metal predation, and rock ‘n’ roll devilry. It drew a big grin on the first listen and a lustful stalking from the second, and fair to say since its release a couple of weeks or so back, we are not alone in adding the release to our cellar of favourites.

With members hailing from London, Brighton, Chichester and Lucifer’s right hand, Hell Puppets emerged in 2011 infusing inspirations from the likes of White Zombie, Pantera, Sex Pistols, Slayer, and Misfits into their swift attention grabbing fusion of punk and metal draped in horror, the occult, and Demonism. The first year saw the band solely concentrate on creating and honing their sonic infestation before setting out on their live scourge of the UK. A live session for a local radio station marked the growing emergence of the band during the next year before in 2013 they began recording debut EP No Strings Attached which was released in the following January. An increasing number of acclaim garnering shows surrounding its well-received introduction to the band and since with a support slot with The Hell later in 2014 another highlight. It was a successful year certainly eclipsed by this, as fresh from playing Bloodstock and touring with Meta-Stasis in support of their debut album, we simply have Theatre of Sin.

Theatre of Sin_RingMaster Review   From the opening carnage of Bow Bells, band and album has ears and imagination gripped. The brief track is a visceral scene setter for the following …From Hell, a blood dripping, flesh ripping introduction to the murderous streets of Victorian Whitechapel and the lust of Jack The Ripper which its successor impressively runs with. The second track to a concussive ring of bells rolls out an epidemic of inciting rhythms and growling vocals within a horde of punk riffs and tenacious hooks. All those bands initially mentioned come to thoughts as the track throws its sinew loaded attitude and mischievous insanity across the senses, yet as good as a hint that they are, the track is something demonically distinct to Hell Puppets, as too it emerges, the album. The band certainly cuts straight to the chase with the best track on Theatre Of Sin but there is no downward slope to follow, even if tracks can only closely sniff at the brilliance of the full opener.

Hung, Drawn and Slaughtered is one which runs it close, its blackened soul and horror punk fury colluding in another quick slavery of infectious hooks, grooves, and unpredictability. As many songs within the album there is a familiarity to it which seduces with the charm classic evil always has, a broad smile which captivates as djent kissed riffs and death instilled voracity works away at the senses and psyche narrated by the varied squalls of vocal animus.

From that metallic tempest another in the caustic shape of Born To Die steps forward, its body a maelstrom of glam and hard rock with punk ‘n’ roll tendencies aligned to metal ferocity. It is a stomp which seizes neck muscles and vocal chords to do its bidding before Project Mayhem uncages its primal anthemic roar laying somewhere between Black Dahlia Murder and Therapy?, and Political Diarrhoea taps into the punk beds of The Damned, The Vibrators, and Misfits for its rapacious stroll and lyrical agenda which gets the job done without fuss or wastage.

From an imposing shadow cast by the classic shark attack sound, complete with nasal secretions, the deranged hardcore fuelled roar of Drugged Up Shark excites and disorientates leaving ears prey to the clutches of Halloween, the band’s Christmas song. Only kidding, but it is a track which just keeps giving from its Carpenter inspired theme and melodic coaxing through to its grungy death infused sonic rancor. The track is glorious, another revealing new nuances and defiling attributes with very listen, much as We Are The Enemy and its whirlpool of insidious death metal, bracing rock ‘n’ roll, and juicy grooving. Imagine The Sex Pistols, Turbonegro, and Venom severely shaken until their juices merge and you get a glimpse of another big highlight amongst many within Theatre of Sin.

Morbid Mirror twists and turns like a clawed seductress next, its lithe grooves and rasping vocals bringing a mix of Grumpynators and Murderdolls whilst slipping into richer blackened spite throughout, especially vocally. Once more ears and emotions are lost to Hell Puppets and kept by firstly the bestial, mordant sound of The Decunted and finally the mouth-watering discord and sonic antipathy of Face the Reaper. The track is a bad-blooded smog of noise and sonic pollution which just brings the bedlamic acts of Theatre of Sin to a fitting ravenous climax.

The album is a wonderful desecration of body and soul and if any of those bands we mentioned as hints appeal, as well as something new and dirty to the touch, and the fact the Hell Puppets is our new favourite trespass, then hopefully we have incited you to be brave and enter the Theatre of Sin.

Theatre of Sin is available now via Hell Puppets’ Bandcamp.

Pete Ringmaster 15/09/2015

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Chaos Order – Distant Chords of Disharmony

 

chaos order_RingMaster Review

Many bands fuse styles and flavours from distinctly different landscapes, cross genres in hopefully individual explorations and one which is doing it more potently and enjoyably than many is Chaos Order, certainly going by their new EP Distant Chords of Disharmony. The encounter is our first personal taste of the band and taking a retrospective look at their previous releases courtesy of the band’s Bandcamp, easily their finest moment to date. Previous EPs have certainly been a potent proposal of hardcore/metal ferocity and prowess but their new proposal just shadows all before with its imagination, invention, and rich tapestry of sound.

Formed in 2011 by songwriter/bassist Jared Filsinger, the Memphis hailing Chaos Order quickly lured regional attention as vocalist/lyricist Neal Bledsoe, songwriter/guitarist Austin Russell and drummer Sam Davidson alongside Filsinger, unleashed their blend of hardcore punk, horror punk, and thrash metal. It was a rawer more unforgiving proposition in the early days as shown by debut mini album Regulus which was self-released in the January of 2013. Later the same year its successor, the Vultures EP was uncaged as a harder and darker confrontation to, as the first, praising responses. Last year saw the quartet sign with Blasphemour Records and made up one half of an acclaimed split EP with Californian band Werewolf Congress. Now label and Chaos Order are ready to unveil Distant Chords of Disharmony for one of the unexpected but warmly welcomed treats of 2015.

Chaos Ordercover_RingMaster Review   The EP opens with Crucified Now Forgotten and a barrage of battering rhythms and nagging riffs, all clawing at ears whilst simultaneously exciting them. The impressive roar of Bledsoe is soon entangling its emotion and ire in the swirl of hardcore enterprise and metallic predation, this punctured by increasingly venomous scythes from Davidson. Soon into its antagonistic stride, the track is soon a magnetic tempest of furious energy tangled up in an increasingly diverse web of sound and textures. In certain moments it is pure hardcore, in others a thrash/groove metal proposal, whilst at times it has a character which is punk ‘n’ roll fused with a post hardcore, and constantly it is a fluid and dynamic lure of unpredictability and mouth-watering enterprise uniting in a storm of creative adventure around the band’s occult seeded lyrics.

The following Social Terrorist thrusts its punk breeding to the fore from the first breath, vocals driving the animosity and contagion which is swiftly oozing from the challenging encounter. At barely a sniff over a minute and a half, the song has little time to evolve into major twists but throughout in its lining there is a flirtation of additional essences which tease and hint before making bigger proposals within Yourself And All Together which follows. The third song strides in with a rhythmic swagger laced by post punk tinged hooks but within a lick of the lips erupts with hardcore hostility which just as quickly aligns itself to a melodic and punk rock imagination. Once more every new slither and fresh wash of flavouring is seamlessly involved, the song taking on new faces to its character without the schizophrenic drapery you might expect. As the craft of his companions, Bledsoe’s clean vocals just shine, so much so that hopes to hear more are a lingering thought following the departure of the excellent track.

The EP is completed by Eternal Recurrence, a more barbarous offering than its predecessor initially with a passion stealing bassline tone within. As now expected the song continues to grow, brewing a drama of sinister airs and turbulent emotions with again contrasting coarse and melodic vocals providing a captivating alignment to the sonically uncompromising angst and dark beauty colluding around them. It is an enthralling proposal which goes on to discover a gothic spice to the post hardcore expulsion which eventually steals the show in the song’s powerful finale.

Distant Chords of Disharmony is a release which is invigorating at one end and breath-taking at the other and only seriously impressive in between. If you too are yet to awaken your ears to Chaos Order then you really could not pick a better door into their still potential loaded and definitely quality bursting presence than their new EP.

Distant Chords of Disharmony is available from September 15th via Blasphemour Records on Ltd Edition cassette (25 on Rhodamine Red Shells w/ White Ink and 75 on Purple Shells w/ White Ink)

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2015

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A.C.O.D – II The Maelstrom

ACOD_RingMaster Review

There is no doubting that the new album from French melodic death metallers A.C.O.D lives up to its name, II The Maelstrom a fierce and uncompromising tempest of sound and emotion which could be the soundtrack and reflection of the turmoil in the world right now. The thirteen track encounter sears ears, withers the senses, and grips the imagination with its fusion of creative twists and varied flavours, and though a punishing conflict from start to finish it makes for one compelling incitement.

Formed mid-2006, A.C.O.D has increasingly gripped attention with a sound seemingly bred on thrash and blackened seeds alongside its prime death metal heart. It has been an evolving proposition over time, and one luring increasing acclaim and spotlights the way of the band. Debut album Point Zero was released in 2009 with its successor First Earth Poison two years later. Both were well received though the five-track EP Another Path in 2013 has been their strongest bait on ears and appetites for their sonic fury; that is until now. Produced by Shawter of Dagoba and mastered by former Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader, II The Maelstrom is A.C.O.D’s most creatively hungry and impressive offering yet and from its first moments the Marseille quintet takes no prisoners.

acod cover_RingMaster Review   Straight away Another path swarms ears with ravenous riffs and imposing beats to instantly destabilise the senses. It is a hellacious yet controlled start which offers a carnivorous bestial bassline and sound to drool over which continues even as intensity and energy is kicked up a gear or two soon after. This marks the entrance of the raw throated vocals which in turn sparks a further thrash infused onslaught, but one which dips in and out of melodically honed lapses in ferocity. They are mere breaths in the again best described as swarm of riffs and rhythms, the guitars additionally creating an alluring web of sonic persuasion across it all.

It is a great start matched by the slightly less rabid Way of death, a track again bulging with highly tempting grooves around irritable riffs and rhythms. As it proceeds the track gets more volatile but equally inventive as spicy melodies escape guitar strings and vocals spill ire coated but more patient aggression. As in the first song there is a thickness in air and sound which means a kind of acclimatisation is needed but it comes quickly whilst laying lures to draw ears back again and again to explore more. This applies to the whole album as evidenced again by the following pair of Abuse me and Ghost memories. The first of the two is a predator, a beast gnawing on ears and spreading rancorous enmity but like those before, fuelled by a virulence which just grips with consummate ease thoughts and an already brewing hunger for the release. Guitars flirt with sonic enterprise whilst the bass chews on the senses in tandem with the scything swing of sticks on drum skin, the blend a merciless treat which continues in its successor. Featuring Soilwork’s Björn ‘Speed’ Strid, the track looms over the listener with a wall of barbarous rhythms and again a tide of nagging riffs which only evolve into something just as destructive and magnetic as a vocal blend entices whilst melodies wind through the sonic turmoil. It is a glorious assault and provocation of the imagination, especially as haunting winds and industrial tinged elements make full use of calmer moments.

From one major highlight to another as the vicious smog of Words of War descend on the senses, its composed savagery anthemically riveting and physically intimidating for a bracing and once more evolving assault. It is that fluid and unpredictable ability to twist around and explore contrasting if still lethal adventure in songs which turns II The Maelstrom from a good album into a thoroughly thrilling proposal. Both Black wings and the excellent Rise confirm that, their individual impassioned uproars further defined by the intricate craft and ideation veining each, though in the former of the two the rousing and corrosive breath of the track wins out whilst Rise is another which just steals the passions, its torrential grudge bound in impressive imagination whilst keeping its savage jaws in undeterred motion.

Cold is another peak, its melancholically stringed, melodic opening bewitching but subsequently swallowed in the belly of the sonic beast and another thumping anthem of bad–blooded barbarism. That animosity is on the first gasp of the following Death breath too alongside an enticing of acidic grooves and waspishly nagging riffs whilst Unleash the fools which sees Shawter also guesting, finds its strongest bait in the clean vocals and the hostile invention which seems to especially bloom around them. It is arguably the weakest song on the album yet leaves you wanting more and subsequently basking in a folkish/melodic metal sculpted oasis midway which just lights up ears.

II The Maelstrom is concluded by the trio of firstly Fallen, another strong song not quite having the same potency of those before, the classically hued and thrash fuelled Crimson, and finally the album’s title track which like an apocalyptic bear bellows and smothers ears in a swamp of raw passion shaped by toxic grooves, crushing rhythms, and scarring vocals. It also provides a melodic refuge within its storm which leads the listener out of the release with a warm and elegant peace.

It is hard to say that II The Maelstrom is something majorly new for the death metal scene yet it continually provides something fresh and inventive to the ear within its more recognisable turmoil. The result is one richly pleasing and satisfying encounter, and as suggested earlier, the finest aural ravishment from A.C.O.D yet.

II The Maelstrom is released September 15th

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2105

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