Calligram – Askesis

UK set Calligram has a sound which somehow manages to be as seductive as it is debilitating, though even that kinder temptation is fiercely invasive and senses crushing, and comes to a tumultuous and compelling head within the band’s new album, Askesis. Its title means “the procedure of demonstrating self-control and determination of action and purpose”; acts which in sound, emotion, and animosity are skilfully embraced and menacingly twisted across six transfixing punishing tracks.

The successor to their well-received Alan Douches (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Darkest Hour) mastered debut, Demimonde of last year, London based Calligram have taken its bleak and often distressing atmospheres and textures to new inventive lands and heights within Askesis. Across its blackened hardcore bred inescapably immersive soundscapes, it teases and taunts, caresses and violates; emotionally and physically devouring the senses, suffocating them as it rips shreds off their suffering hides. Yet it is a joy to fall before, the grooves and infectiously venomous hooks and twists it conjures a masterful salve to the toxic malignancy unleashed.

Opener Della Mancanza instantly invades and sears the flesh of ears with the pestilential tones of vocalist Matteo Rizzardo to the fore swiftly followed by a tide of sonic animosity veined by grooves which just inflame attention and appetite. It is a rabid tempest of punk, black, and death metal; a mercurial but inhospitable scourge which just hits the spot even as it expands its atmospheric grasp and virulent hostility. The guitars of Bruno Polotto and Tim Desbos are a persistent enticement and malefaction, both extremes colluding in the song’s animus where the rhythms of bassist Smittens and drummer Ardo Cotones are similarly anthemic and destructive. Whether in  a rabid charge or its moments of ruinous calm, the track is unstoppably compelling, an irresistible incursion on body and imagination led by Rizzardo’s individual assault, his rancor leaving ears bleeding and scarred just as you imagine his throat is under his friction wearing delivery.

For personal tastes, the release never quite hits that stunning peak again yet savages the sweet spot time and time again starting with Sinking Into Existence. From its first breath, the track is a torrent of sonic violation and vocal torment within black metal smog but again the guitars weave some beguiling melodic toxins and lures to entwine eager ears. There is a predatory side to the track too, a calmer but no less threatening trespass which lifts the song to new captivation and richer emotive depths before Scourge envelops the senses with its own considered but rabid grudge. Again Calligram merge raw essences and viciousness with melodic enterprise and beauty, everything tainted in varying degrees but equally fascinating as it heads towards a passage of murderous rock ‘n’ roll and haunting sonic corrosion, and out again; Rizzardo magnetically guiding the creative pestilence.

The brief dark elegance of Murderess lures the listener into the waiting clutches of Entwined, itself a slim provocation on body and imagination but one spawned from the coupling of cancerous discontent and melodic suggestiveness. Both pieces are connected by emotion and craft, drawing the listener deeper into the album’s heavy anguished fuelled heart and the irresistible embrace of closing track Lament. A tapestry of styles and flavours all soiled and violated by the unique touch of Calligram, the song is an adventure which ebbs and flows, twists and turns; the listener’s thoughts and emotions making a similar journey within its beguiling asphyxiation of their senses.

It is an end as potent and outstanding as the beginning, and with the middle something pretty special too, Askesis is a must for fans of extreme metal, raw hardcore and simply punishing excellence to check out.

Askesis is out now through Basick Records; available @ http://music.basickrecords.com/album/askesis

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Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Fathoms – Counter Culture

Since the release of their first EP, Transitions back in 2012, the Fathoms sound has evolved as its line-up has equally changed and been revitalised. What has not changed is their ability to grab ears and attention and stir fresh new appetites for their inventive sound. New album Counter Culture is testament to that, its nine tracks a blazing roar and creative aggravation which captivates and gets the blood rushing through aggression pulsing veins.

The UK outfit soon sparked keen local attention with their melodic hardcore sound upon emerging in 2010 and quickly found themselves touring the UK and sharing stages with the likes of Legend, Set Your Goals, Polar, Dividing The Silence, Final Crisis, and Napoleon. Acclaim did not exactly hang around either especially once Transitions assaulted ears with their reputation taking another spurt with its successor Cold Youth in 2013. Both were bold and viciously imposing with a growing potential which blossomed within their Artery Recordings released debut album Lives Lived two years later. Hitting the USA, China, South Korea and Japan among regular jaunts across Britain and Europe, the Brighton hailing quintet has become a potent element in the UK hardcore scene.

Hindsight suggests the hints and clues were already there, certainly within the last album, but Fathoms’ sound has embraced greater metalcore traits over the past couple of years, the band straddling both styles with their punk metal furnace, and as Counter Culture reveals there is plenty more to that blend also. It opens up with Hate Preach, making a composed introduction as vocalist Max Campbell hits ears with his rap before the guitars of James Munn and Sam Rigden cast a persistent tide of abrasive riffs. It is a great start which only continues as the song merges nu and rap metal exploits with hardcore antagonism framed by the biting beats of drummer Lui Sarabia.

The potent starts quickly has ears keenly attentive, recent single Counter Culture stirring their appetites further with its metal bred imagination and punk infused quarrel. Melodic twists and clean vocal union with the rawer snarling tones of Campbell brings richer intrigue and captivation, the bass of Steve Cogden prowling it all with a brooding menace as the song grows an increasingly compelling web of flavours and imagination.

Latest video single B.E.L.I.E.V.E quickly follows; its body a heavier, dirtier, and more tempestuous proposal but just as content and skilled in contrasting its dark hues with melodic flames and harmonic enterprise. For personal tastes, it does not quite catch the imagination as its predecessor or other tracks within the album yet there is no denying its lures, especially its inescapably magnetic melodic.

Counter Culture is an album which seems to get bigger and bolder song by song, definitely each subsequent song made a greater thrilling impression on our appetites; the process continued at this point by the surly metal nurtured, ill-natured Fated. Its nu and rap metal dexterity gets right under the skin but equally its synth rock and punk spicing teases more impressed reactions before I’ve Been Trying To Leave exposes the band’s similarly adept progressive inclinations within its cantankerous character and imposing touch. It also has catchiness in its lighter side which is pop kissed but never more than a warm wash upon the instinctive ruggedness and spiky imagination of the band’s sound.

The calmer waters of Slip Away provides a new beguiling turn within the release, its presence like a more belligerent Silent Descent but with passages of pure melodic beauty around more volatile instincts and endeavour. It is just one more captivating moment within the album but soon eclipsed by the outstanding assault of The Spaces In Between. A trap of nu-metal design, the song twists and turns with dervish like mania and pugnacious attitude, the guitars dancing venomously on ears as the bass and vocals growl. In the midst of that inventive confrontation though, a spring of melodic and harmonic adventure flows, again Fathoms showing the new adventure in their sound and freshness in their imagination.

Next up No Compromise is an even moodier proposal; to be honest a truculent trespass of a song but one coloured with atmospheric grace as melodic suggestion weaves its bait for ears and imagination to embrace. With every passing second and unpredictable idea, the song grows in strength and impressiveness; pleasure joining the ascent until it departs to allow You Ain’t On What We On to bring things to a close.

The final track is a surge of punk dispute; an eye to eye combat which has the body bouncing and spirit raising its middle finger to the world. It is a fine end to an encounter which grows with every listen. Fathoms have maybe still to realise all that early potential but instead they have explored a whole new sphere of ideas and as Counter Culture proves, they are on a journey still easy to anticipate and enjoy.

Counter Culture is released December 1st.

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Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Core of iO – Part II: Europa

The next part in their cycle of four EPs, Part II: Europa is the latest encounter with British outfit Core of iO. Their new three track adventure is also further proof to the highly magnetic nature of their technical metal meets progressive rock bred sound and a great end to a successful year for the band which has already been marked by their acclaimed appearances at 2017’s UK-Tech Fest and Mammothfest.

Formed in 2014, Core of iO has been referenced to the likes of Sikth, Fall of Troy, The Mars Volta, and Deftones; especially with the release of their last two EPs in Part IV: Callisto in 2015 and earlier this year, Part III: Ganymede. Each has hooked the imagination in diverse ways, a success Europa emulates from its first breath.

It opens up with the outstanding Stuck, guitars instantly webbing ears with their lively enterprise and suggestive tones. As the leads vocals of rhythm guitarist Bob Tett begin their flavoursome declaration, the bass of Gareth Sidwell energetically strolls as it moodily grumbles; the song‘s broadening textures and invention blossoming around it. Lead guitarist Luke Stenlake casts a tapestry of threads as funky and infectious as they are magnetically melodic within it, Tett’s and Sidwell’s strings similarly boisterous and imaginative as Rich Carter’s beats bite with rousing incitement.  It is a transfixing and addictive kaleidoscope of sound and a mighty start to the EP.

Hit The River Hard follows, its tale inspired by one of the band’s grandfather’s exploits in WW2, having been shot down over Holland in 1944 in his MK IV Sterling bomber. The track immediately springs drama and emotively cloaked enterprise upon ears, rhythms entangled by the guitars as Tett expressively roars. Musically alone, the danger and risk for the song’s protagonist is suggested, lyrics further colouring the historic painting unravelling in the ears. As its predecessor, the track is a persistently and increasingly enthralling engagement.

From its opening tender melodic caress with its haunting grace, its successor and closing track Lenuta brews a tempestuous air and tone which note by note, second by second builds into a cauldron of emotive angst and creative dexterity. The track never quite ignites into the raging fire it hints at but every melodic tendril and imposing rhythm has an invasive edge and volatility matched in the vocal prowess of Tett and though not quite sparking the passions as rigorously as its companions, it makes an absorbing end to a highly enjoyable release and further confirmation of the compelling proposition that is Core of iO.

Part II: Europa is released December 1st and available @ https://coreofio1.bandcamp.com/album/part-ii-europa-ep

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Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright