This month sees US metallers outfit Ligature Marks release a deluxe edition of their debut album, Set Oceans on Fire. It is an encounter which slipped us by first time around but has set the record straight and proven a gripping encounter, the bonus of two new tracks an extra rich tempting for fans and newcomers come its exclusive release on the band’s Bandcamp profile.
Featuring members of 36 Crazyfists and Vintersea, Ligature Marks formed in 2017. The original release of Set Oceans On Fire proved to be a potent lure of acclaim and support across the Pacific Northwest for the Portland, Oregon hailing outfit and led to the band being chosen to share stages with the likes of Gojira, Soulfly, Unearth, and Skinlab. Using covid lockdown as a catalyst for inspiration, the band set to writing and creating videos, exploring and pushing new aspects to their sound, in turn breeding this fresh outing for Set Oceans On Fire and the unveiling of that duo of new fiercely flavoursome incitements.
Bred in metalcore, the band’s sound soon reveals its diverse character and prowess, the quintet drawing on and embracing rapacious essences from the likes of extreme and heavy metal to hardcore and more progressive aspects. It comes in cauldrons of sound and enterprise, each track as irritable as they are captivating and as adventurous as they are skilfully punishing.
Talisman sets the tempest in motion, the opener immediately stomping through ears with the rhythms of drummer Kyle Baltus flying. They scythe through air and senses as the clamorous yet precisely woven grooves and riffs of guitarists Karl and Josh Whinnery captured ears and imagination. It is a scorching proposal driven by the lead roar of vocalist Benjamin Charles, his throat and emotions aflame to match the heat and cyclonic character of the sounds alongside.
Already the multi-flavoured nature of the band’s sound is rich persuasion, the first song enslaving attention and soon matched in success by the equally outstanding Fire and Flood. It surges through ears as its title would suggest; another eruption of force and enterprise that instantly throbs with power and contagion. Twists and turns only add to its captivation, every moment either soaked in nagging catchiness or drenched in predacious menacing, often a union of both which only adds to its striking tempest.
Severing the Dissonance provides a relatively calmer invitation if one bred in menace. Soon though, creative tumult erupts to fiercely burn, vocals borne of aggressive irritability and insurgent defiance. Melodic and progressive strands only provide new twists and temptation before The Burial uncages its heavy metal/post hardcore compulsion on ears. Throughout the release, the bass of Dave Keller is a beast either stalking of baiting its victim but of all tracks here is the moment he truly steers and stalks song and intimation alike. Every groove and esurient riffs seems inspired by his dark carnal implications, the track another major highlight in many within the album.
The anthemic call of Fight Like Hell instantly gripped attention, an uproar soon roaring against the world with aggrieved attitude and passion. It was not a track which enslaved as those before it but there was no denying its creatively hungry assault and rousing dynamics.
Those new tracks from the band provide the album its final temptations, the first in Noise in the Signal featuring Ian Fike from It Prevails. Instantly there is something new and fresh to the makeup of the band’s sound, a turn to a more melodic and progressive aspect without defusing that instinctive and raw power, at times brutality in power and emotion, that Ligature Marks are so impressive at unleashing.
It is riveting encounter which almost feels like it ends before it has revealed all its glory but ears were soon only concerned with Fell For Fiction and its infectious blaze of sound and invention. it too unveils a new emprise in the band’s sound, a broader canvas of melody and intimation within one mercurial and blistering storm.
The two tracks alone are worth a keen exploration of the Deluxe Edition of Set Oceans On Fire, like a bridge between past triumphs and intriguing future possibilities they have brought eager anticipation of things to come, which include an EP due out later this year, and more pleasure to one impressive release we are glad we have finally caught up on.
Set Oceans On Fire (Deluxe Edition) is released June 11th; available @ https://ligaturemarks.bandcamp.com/album/set-oceans-on-fire-deluxe-edition
Pete RingMaster 08/06/2021
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