Hampered – Asylum

Formed in 2013, French metallers Hampered have just uncaged their debut album and one attention grabbing beast it is. Maybe not the most unique in sound Asylum more than makes up for any familiarity with creative imagination and suggestive drama, attributes blossoming into one richly alluring and enjoyable proposal.

The Toulon quintet consists of vocalist Germinal “Germi” Leullier, guitarists Romain Sanchez and Guillaume Frendo, bassist Fares “Fafa” Petit, and drummer Stephane “Stef” Kokot, though upon Asylum Satanus is listed as swinging the rhythmic sticks. Nurtured in metalcore, their sound embraces an array of other flavours and metal bred textures in its roar and a first full length which takes a firm hold from its first breath.

Asylum is inspired by movies such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Shutter Island and relating a complex tale of a disillusioned hero finding himself plunged into the den of a psychiatric hospital, looking at “the grip of man by man, the mind on the body, for the conscience of our own freedom” where “the only “barriers” are the choices we make that make us believe we don’t have any

Opening with its French language spoken, scene setting Intro, the album soon has ears and appetite aroused as the following I’m Alive teases both with its opening initial sonic lure; rich bait soon spawning a rousing incitement of richly enticing grooves and rhythmic predation. Germi is soon in its midst with his similarly potent growls, captivation brewing by the second. The track mellows a touch as a great blend of his and Frendo’s calmer backing vocals collude but still retains its threatening character in sound and tone. Every hook and groove intensified the power and addictiveness of the track, each rhythmic swipe and grumble increasing its sonic paranoia superbly.

The excellent start only continues as The Project follows, its electronically hued entrance easily stirring keen attention before opening up into a rapacious almost carnivorous prowl. Metalcore meets groove metal as things intensify, many more strains of sound adding to the menace and imagination seizing trespass. Something akin to a fusion of Poison The Well, As I Lay Dying and Devildriver, the track gnaws and increasingly pleasures the senses, a success only escalating as the funkier throes of In My Jail tease and invade next. A beguiling web of styles and flavours, the track alone reveals the bold invention at the heart of Hampered and the expansive hunger in their sound which does not always get the chance to blossom as it might across the release. Here it is in full bloom, plaintive vocals and hungry sounds uniting in a ravenous assault of irritable yet severely infectious and predatory enterprise.

Stop That follows with a raw and cantankerous proposal but one just as adept at embracing melodic and harmonic twists as it questions and challenges while successor Conspiracy Theory launches a similarly choleric confrontation infused with citric melodic veins and driven by rhythmic rock ‘n’ roll. Both tracks hit the spot, the second especially sparking tenacious responses as the album continued to impress.

Through the bullish defiance of Each Other, where grooves just infest the psyche, and the raw emotional blaze of Avenge Your Memory, Hampered continue to explore their invention. Neither song quite matched the potency of those before them yet each created a tapestry of lyrical and musical drama which firmly held attention and richly satisfied before Blast (Bridge Refrain) entangled some tinges of heavy metal and strains of Avenged Sevenfold-esque catchiness into its lively swing. Again personal tastes were not quite as ignited as by the albums earlier tracks but were thickly involved in satisfaction from start to finish and especially in its great bedlamic finale.

Asylum concludes with The End, a track featuring Maxime Keller, vocalist with fellow countrymen Smash Hit Combo and Boars. The track is superb, a jungle of metal bred punk infused antagonism with tantalising melodic scenery bringing the album to a mighty close matching its tremendous start.

Asylum is a proposition which will inflame the passions of many and lure the attention of hordes more as it announces Hampered as another very promising and already rather striking proposition on the metal landscape.

Asylum is out now @ http://hampered.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hampered.official/

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

AdvenA – Realität

While the band set about writing their second album, a look at the debut full length from German metallers AdvenA does not go amiss, especially if like us you missed it upon its release a while back. Offering eleven slabs of progressive death metal with a craft and imagination unafraid to add other styles and flavours, Realität is a potent introduction to the Bad Griesbach in Bavaria hailing quintet. It is not overtly unique but has certain moments of real invention which made it stand out and an inescapable potential which made anticipation of its successor almost inevitable.

Formed in 2012 by Chris Kolias and Florian Havemann, the band’s initial instincts and sound was metalcore based but has evolved to embrace the progressive and more intensively weighted extreme metal textures as evidenced by Realität. With a line-up of vocalist Daniel Esterbauer, bassist Florian Gumpoldsberger, and drummer Dennis Stirner alongside guitarists Dominik Jagenteufel and Kolias, AdvenA nudged strong attention with the release of their first album, and is still doing so as we can attest to.

The album opens with its title track, wintery winds bringing in the scenic lures and stormy breath of Realität which soon entices the melodic coaxing of keys before fiercer more imposing textures descend with Esterbauer throat gravelled tones leading the way. In no time, the progressive imagination of the band is steering the roar, guitars weaving a tempting web as rhythms entice and pounce. It is a fascinating beginning which is as seductive as it is barbarous, unpredictability lending a weighty lure to the track’s  often familiar but boldly fresh textures,

The following Herztod immediately aligns melodic intrigue and suggestion with irritable intensity, guitars casting a magnetic drape around the bestial toned vocals as the song rises to its creative feet. Lyrically song and release has a conceptual theme but with each track sung in the band’s home language we cannot share their individual focus, yet it matters little as the sounds paint a potent enough tale as this and the following Lass es regnen! prove with their individual adventures. Whereas the first has a smouldering soundscape for the main, its successor has a far more volatile climate but one boiling with thrash nurtured intent around clean vocals, presumably provided by Jagenteufel, as well as Esterbauer’s enjoyably abrasive snarls.

Best track honours are seized by Splitter next, the rhythmic entrapment of Gumpoldsberger and Stirner inescapable from its opening strains and only intensified by the rolling attacks and belligerent grumble of drums and bass thereon in. Spice loaded grooves and a general rock ‘n’ roll swing only add to the track’s might with only the clean vocals for some reason and for once not quite connecting. Nevertheless it is a storming encounter which alone could have sparked an appetite for the band’s sound but is more than backed by the likes of Aurora and Phoenix. The first is an atmospheric tempting with alluringly portentous shadows around a rhythmic resonance, a union beguiling ears and imagination before its dark side rises up in invasive riffs and sonic trespass. That also brings a melodic and electronic enterprise which suggestive mystique setting up the adventurous rock ‘n’ roll of the second with the added attraction of female vocals and melody encased endeavours.

Am siebten Tag unleashes a blistering charge next, thrash and death instincts driving its cantankerous rock ‘n’ roll to mark another highlight within Realität before FFA matches its hellacious dexterity with its own senses withering, appetite stoking assault. Heavy metal tendrils vine the imposing roar, enticingly uniting with atmospheric winds and progressive intricacies; a stylish weave then emulated in its own individual way by Der Wille, electronic imagination lining and occasionally nurturing new twists in its design.

The album closes up with the two instrumentals in firstly the thought rousing, body firing rock ‘n’ roll of Alles was glänzt and lastly the melody rich and suggestive Wasser zu Wein. It too is a contender for best song, keys and guitars casting a beguiling tapestry of intimation and beauty with an underbelly of darker intent and volatility. Both tracks hit the spot whilst highlighting the music and creative prowess of AdvenA and though we might have questioned the success of having two instrumentals closing things up it works a treat.

Realität made a potent ear pleasing proposition from the first listen but it is an album which grows and impresses further by the listen. Ahead of its successor, it makes a timely gateway into the AdvenA sound for newcomers and a highly enjoyable reminder of their strengths and potential for all.

Realität is available now @ https://advena1.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.advenaband.de/     https://www.facebook.com/officialadvena/   https://www.twitter.com/AdvenaBand

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright