The Order of Elijah – War At Heart

TOOE_RingMaster Review

In sound and word there is a real bite to War At Heart, the new album from US Christian metallers The Order of Elijah, which makes you pay attention. It is an unpredictable cauldron of varied metal bred flavours which savage and confront the senses as potently as the lyrical side incites thought with its bold and uncompromising exploration of all sides and shades of faith and life. Predominantly though, it is one rigorously enjoyable incitement which impressed on first listening and only grows more potent and compelling with each subsequent involvement.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist Shannon Low and guitarist Bryan Cox, the Joplin, Missouri quintet have only grown in sound and determination since the release of debut album Dethrone of 2013. According to the press release with the album, The Order Of Elijah have found themselves “being shunned by many peers, churches, and religious communities for the message they bring,” reactions to the band’s look and accusation at the “over-obvious corruption that many churches and cultures have adapted to the words of Jesus Christ.War At Heart shows that the band has only used any opposition as more fuel to their creative and emotional fire. The release is a tempest of anger, confrontation, and hope with a sound which alone leaves no doubts about the intensity and passion within The Order Of Elijah imagination and heart.

the order of elijah album art_RingMaster ReviewOpening with the dark vocal introduction of Heresy, band and album swiftly move to involve ears and imagination with its title track. War at Heart opens with a mesh of wiry guitar and attitude loaded rhythms, they soon joined by clean vocals which quickly reveal their raw and grouchy side. That fluid ability to swiftly change attack and character is echoed across the whole album in sound and invention, the metalcore meets heavy groove metal and electro resourcefulness of the song expectation defeating, even with its use of familiar textures at times.

The excellent track is matched in potency by Tyler Durden, where the guitars of Bryan Cox and Myk Lee Fodor create a gripping splattering of choppy bait initially as the voice of Low again swings from tone to texture with inventive ease. Like Slipknot meets Cryptopsy with a slither of Emmure involved too, the song is an impressive intrusion, those essences twisted into something maybe not dramatically unique but certainly distinct to The Order of Elijah.

The scything beats of drummer Josh Newlon open up God’s Unwanted Children next, his enticing assault wrapped in an electronic breeze which as expected soon erupts into a more volatile and tempestuous environment. The electronic smoulder of the song lends itself to thoughts of Silent Descent but again with Low in the throes of vocal adventure, things quickly take on a personality of their own which only invites deeper attention. Like a bear awoken from hibernation, the track roars and spits with unbridled antagonism, leaving ears ringing with content as the melodic calm of From the Dusk washes gently over the senses. The brief instrumental allows a breath to be taken though the excellent presence of James Copley’s bass ensures shadows are still courting thoughts and emotions before From the Dawn emerges from its beauty to inflame air and the senses again with a fiery and anthemic tempest. Vocal harmonies contrast grizzly tones and melodic suggestiveness tempers violent rabidity as the track blossoms into another crushing highlight of the release. Once more very passing minute brings a new twist to be caught unawares by and fully enjoy; electro spices alone colluding deviously with the primal metal resources fuelling the encounter to offer a whisper of The Browning in certain moments.

All American Plague lurches and invades next, throwing its elements around like a dervish but with a control which ensures no twist or texture is wasted, whilst Jennifer Mckenzie vs The Vampire Slayer straight after is a punk infested animus of fierce sound and agitated attitude. Featuring Zachary Scott of It Lies Within, the slightly Korn/Betraying The Martyrs like track is a ravenous contagion, which only sparks more greed in the appetite for the album, a hunger given more to happily chew on by both the hellacious onslaught of Haunted and The Art of Forgiveness. Admittedly neither track quite sparks the same thickness of excitement as their predecessors but each easily fattens up satisfaction before leaving the reflective intensity of Beautiful to bring things to a close.

If asked after the first couple of listens or so, War at Heart would have been labelled as impressive with the ability to lure attention back, but over time it has emerged as one fiercely delicious enjoyment which is seriously hard to leave alone. Not all will be as taken with it obviously but every metal fan should seriously think about giving the new creative bellow from The Order Of Elijah deserved attention.

War At Heart is available via Luxor Records from 8th January @ http://www.victorymerch.com/merch/label/luxorrecords

http://theorderofelijah.com/   https://www.facebook.com/theorderofelijah   https://twitter.com/orderofelijah

Pete RingMaster 07/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dark Sky Park – Follow Me

Dark Sky Park Promo shot_RingMaster Review

Formed by a rooftop pool in Tenerife, UK alternative rockers Dark Sky Park are now gearing up to make 2016 their year to grab attention and it all starts with their new EP Follow Me getting its national release January 8th. The five track encounter is an enjoyable and increasingly captivating fusion of rock and pop ‘n’ roll with a healthy dose of classic metal to spice things up further. Already a keenly supported proposition on their local and Northern rock scene, Sheffield hailing quartet have those wider spotlights in their sights and with more offerings like Follow Me, it is easy to suggest they will court the rewards they seek.

Made up of vocalist Debbie Bilson, guitarist Ainsley Stones, drummer Hannah Jasper, and bassist Aidan Hall, Dark Sky Park has a sound which toys with any attempts to pin it down. As the EP shows, at times it is stoner-esque, in other moments rock pop or punky, and always carrying a heavy metal spicing to keep things unpredictable. Follow Me is also an encounter which persistently works away on ears and appetite; not a release setting a fire right away but a proposition in varying degrees getting under the skin with its energetically vibrant songs. References have been made to the likes of Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, and Ziggy Stardust era Bowie in regard to the band’s sound but this too only reveals part of the picture.

Dark Sky Park Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review  Follow Me opens with its title track, the song striding in on thickly boned rhythms and winy sonic enticing. Quickly it sets down a familiar but inviting canvas to which Bilson adds her potent vocals as the guitars weave a tapestry of melodic enterprise. Early Blondie immediately comes to mind as the song blossoms with open infectiousness and warm harmonies, these aligned to increasingly steely textures from Stones. It is contagious stuff, a song using recognisable essences to fine effect against its darker more cantankerous aspects.

A No Doubt meets Dirty Youth feel grabs ears in the magnetic lure of Lonely Girl next, the second song a sultry temptress with voluptuous rhythmic hips swinging within a smouldering glaze of vocal and melodic seduction. There is a seventies flavoured vocal croon to the song too which only adds to the compelling drama which steals major attention first time around and only strengthens its hold with each play.

Dark Sky Park digs into their classic and hard rock passions for the following Stand My Ground, its tenaciously muscular character the spring board for fiery grooves with matching vocal attack. Fair to say the song lacks the spark of its predecessors yet leaves satisfaction full and participation keen before attention gathers around next up Marty Feldman’s Eyes. With a title like this the song was already half way there to sparking eager intrigue, completing the job with its Animal Alpha/Kate Bush like dance with ears and imagination. As other times within Follow Me, there is a want for a more forceful and aggressive attack from the rhythmic side of the song, but it is a small want in something which continually demands body and voice get involved, completing its persuasion by closing with a touch of The Adverts to its punkish exploits.

Things come to a fine end with Suicide FM and its rock ‘n’ roll swagger cloaked in again familiar but appealing hues and sound. When a track has feet bouncing and emotions smiling there is much to praise and certainly the final offering finds that success with ease whilst hinting at bigger and bolder exploits lurking within Dark Sky Park.

Follow Me is a great introduction to national awareness, one bursting with potential that ensures that Dark Sky Park are going to be watched by a great many hereon in.

The Follow Me EP is released January 8th through most stores.

http://www.wearedarkskypark.com/ https://www.facebook.com/darkskypark

Pete RingMaster 06/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Guardian start the “Revolution” this January.

Guardan Online Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Northern metallers ‘Guardian’ release their eagerly awaited debut album, ‘Revolution’, through all stores and platforms on Friday 22nd January 2016.

Coming at you from Northumberland and comprising of Matthew Hall (Vocals), Zac Yates (Guitar), Cory Young (Bass) and Joshua Stephen (Drums), Brit metal combo ‘Guardian’ spit out relentless riffs, hard-hitting breakdowns, and ferocious blast sections laced with inventive guitar work. Drawing from a variety of influences, from classic titans such as ‘Pantera’ and ‘Machine Head’, though to contemporary heavyweights ‘Whitechapel’ and ‘Parkway Drive’, ‘Guardian’ are quickly amassing an army of followers and it won’t be long until they break out to the national scene.

The Northern riff slingers have been described as ‘Metalcore’, but as you peel back the layers, you can clearly see that there is more diversity to this band than meets the eye. Guardian are a metal band and they thrive on delivering elephantine riffs and heavy music. Their debut EP ‘Tyrants’, which was released in 2014, rings true to the quartet’s DIY approach; the record was self-mixed, produced and mastered entirely by the studious metallers. The EP picked up extensive underground coverage, as well as national attention from Rock Sound, prompting the publication to feature Guardian inside the magazine, as well as having the self-titled track from the EP lifted onto their cover CD.

Guardian supported the EP with a full touring schedule, undertaking a month long European jaunt with Mexican Deathcore crew ‘Frozen Remains’. The tour was a huge success and saw the band play dates throughout Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland. Never ones to sit on their hands, the northern metal merchants continued to play a string of sweat-drenched shows throughout the UK, as they began to cement plans for their new album, ‘Revolution’.

Their debut full length ‘Revolution’ is a stunning piece of modern metal. The record oozes a collection of cuts that entwine technical guitar passages with bone-crushing breakdowns. It’s a very impressive album that has enough power and precision to level an apartment block. With a lyrical focus centring on the balance of life and nature, and an emphasis on the unsustainable damage that humans are inflicting on our planet, Guardian are a band that do things differently and even their lyrical output and artwork reinforces this belief. There’s nothing stopping Guardian from earning a prominent place within the UK Metal hierarchy; just watch them soar.

https://www.facebook.com/GuardianUKNEMC

Devilstrip to “Rise” in January 2016

Devilstrip_Cover_Artwork_RingMaster Review

US ROCKERS DEVILSTRIP UNLEASH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM TO THE UK THIS WINTER!

Devilstrip are a hard-rock power trio from the rust-belt of Akron, Ohio, USA. Comprised of Marc Wasmund (lead vocals/guitar), Graig Lindgren (bass/vocals), and Jimmy Gray (drums/vocals), the three piece tug from the inspirational powers of Black Stone Cherry, Live, and Foo Fighters, with critics already describing the band as “melodic, raw stadium rock with a bit of punk rock sensibility”. Stocked with hefty riffs, soaring melodies, and an explosive debut album in the shape of ‘Rise’, which drops on Friday 22nd January, the band are destined to break in 2016.

Born December 2012, the three piece had a strong desire to create something original, yet accessible, and instantly set to work, soon penning their debut single ‘Go’. Intense rehearsals and extensive writing followed, along with a gigging schedule which has seen the DIY rocksters grace stages with everyone from Europe, Buckcherry, Jared Weeks, Girl on Fire and Saving Abel, to the L.A. Guns. The band have also recently filmed an episode of the hit TV show “Bar Rescue”, which will air on Channel 5 later this year.

With the trio’s blossoming live reputation, Devilstrip decided to turn their attention to crafting their debut album ‘Rise’. Independently mixed and produced, the record is a call to arms for anyone and everyone that has an affinity with burly riffs and earnest songwriting. The layered depth of their debut album is evident as hammering drums and probing guitars, entwined with alluring hooks, cleverly wind their way deep into your core. Tracks such as the mighty ‘Go’ and the emotive ‘She Said’ are sure to light up radio airwaves. Devilstrip will tour the UK in the Spring, so latch onto the band now before they explode in 2016.

-DEVILSTRIP RELEASE ‘RISE’ THROUGH ALL STORES ON FRIDAY 22nd JANUARY-

https://www.devilstriprocks.com  https://www.facebook.com/Devilstripband  https://twitter.com/akrondevilstrip

Affliction Gate – Dying Alone

AG_RingMaster Review

Three and a half years after unleashing the Shattered Ante Mortem Illusions EP, French death metallers Affliction Gate return with their most evil and gripping offering yet in the ruinous shape of Dying Alone. The four-track EP is a brutal and ravenous affair, but equally a compelling and at times contagious violation of old school death metal expanded with Affliction Gate imagination. The band is as vicious and uncompromising as ever but to that expected proposition adding a new exploration of bold textures, insidious emotion, and raw sonic trespasses.

Formed in 2006 with inspirations from the likes of Unleashed, Massacre, Bolt Thrower, and Asphyx sparking their ideas, Affliction Gate began proving themselves a formidable and potent force in the French metal underground with their first EP Severance (Dead to This World) in 2008 and more potently debut album Aeon of Nox (From Darkness Comes Liberation) a year later. Its release saw the band share their live presence across and beyond France into countries such as Germany, Spain, Holland, and Belgium, whilst the list of bands sharing stages with the quintet have come to include Pentacle, Mercyless, Svart Crown, Loudblast, Benighted and many more. Shattered Ante Mortem Illusions was an acclaimed proposition upon it’s uncaging in 2012 but already is being eclipsed by the response to Dying Alone.

artwork_RingMaster Review   Negative Lucidity leaps at the senses from its first breath; the opener a torrent of barbarous rhythms and toxic riffery twisted into a nagging groove that instantly has ears and appetite alert. The raw, bestial tones of vocalist Herostratos quickly lead the track’s animus of sound and intent, his intrusive delivery backed by the throaty threat of bass and entwined in the sonic trespass of guitar. Melancholy clings to the sonic suggestiveness expelled whilst despair clouds the air of the heavily satisfying incitement, those essences and hues just as rich and expressive in the following pestilential assault of Devising Our Own Chains. As its predecessor, the encounter is a challenging yet openly catchy violation bounding into the psyche on boisterously intrusive rhythms as guitars spin an acidic and virulent tapestry of rancorous bewitchment.

The EP’s title track comes next, flirting with the senses as it crawls closer and closer with cancerous intent. Led by the cantankerous tone of bass, the song subsequently grows into more volatile and eager infectiousness but still keeping its murderous breath and nature to the fore as its energy ebbs and flows in a consumption of the senses. Again a host of flavours collude within the song, more classic hues adding to the death bred malignancy.

The EP concludes with the misanthropic Manicheism Inertia, bad blood and rabid sound fuelling the contemptuous body and soul of the aural ravishing. The first two tracks within Dying Alone steal the show in many ways yet, as the song before, Manicheism Inertia has a nasty grandeur and incessant rabidity to its design which simply hits the spot.

Enjoyable on first listens and only growing to bigger success over time, Dying Alone is evidence that Affliction Gate is one of old school death metal’s emerging triumphs. Their new EP sees the band hit new heights, or should that be low corrosive depths, to get extreme metal off to a seriously strong start in 2016.

The Dying Alone EP is out now via Transcending Obscurity @ https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/dying-alone-death-metal

http://www.facebook.com/afflictiongate

Pete RingMaster 06/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Blackhour – Sins Remain

Blackhour_RingMaster Review

A few days in and the new year gets its first metal treat courtesy of Pakistan hailing Blackhour. The Islamabad quintet unleashes their second album on January 5th through Transcending Obscurity Distribution, and a mighty slab of inventive and skilful heavy metal it has proven to be. Sins Remain offers five rich and imagination fuelled tracks which explore far beyond that heavy metal tag, and such its thick and pleasing impact you wonder how Blackhour has so far escaped the fullest global acclaim.

Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Guns and Roses, and Alice in Chains, Blackhour has certainly teased local and wider found appetites with their music and debut album Age of War which was released in 2011. Fair to say though, that most of us will probably have missed the presence of Blackhour until now but things surely are about to change with Sins Remain.

Straight away the band’s metal bred rock ‘n’ roll shows its adventure and variety with opener Losing Life. An instantly engaging caress of provocative guitar opens things up, the bass of Salman Afzal just as swiftly vocal with its suggestiveness. The tremendous coaxing eventually erupts into a fiery roar of sound with sonic tendrils of guitar veining a tempestuous yet controlled climate of sound and intensity. There is a touch of Disturbed to the track whilst the rhythms of drummer Daim Mehmood almost bully the senses as the bass prowls and growls within their potent web. With vocalist Tayyab Rehman also quickly impressive, the track paints a great provocative and persistently evolving proposal for ears and imagination.

BlackhourArtwork_RingMaster Review     The outstanding start continues with Wind of Change. From the off heavy metal essences steer the persuasion, the guitars of Hashim Mehmood and Mubbashir Sheikh Mashoo flirting with eighties hues to infectious effect. Their hooks and grooves because of it hold a familiarity which only adds to the forceful virulence of the encounter, whilst rhythmically the song nurtures an anthemic rock ‘n roll canter becoming increasingly wrapped in melody rich sonic enterprise. The song is irresistible and more potent with every listen, a quality applying to the whole of Sins Remain to be fair and certainly the following Life Brings Death, Love Brings Misery. The third track is an epic temptation, its nine minutes blossomed on Metallica like seeds but equally casting textures sprung from seventies heavy rock and thrash laced heavy metal. Imagine Reign of Fury and Stone Temple Pilots meets Iron Maiden and you come somewhere near the compelling encounter.

Battle Cry opens with an instantly addictive guitar hook next, one welcoming more militant and aggressive elements to join its tenacious stirring of ears and appetite soon after. It is maybe the least unique offering on the album but the fiercely boisterous song simply whips up a storm of attitude and creative prowess easy to greedily devour and want more of. The individual skills of the band are, here alone, there for all to see and praise but their unity and the powerful songwriting casting their invention is where the album truly wins out, as proven a final time by the album’s title track.

Bringing Sins Remain to a glorious conclusion, the track is a kaleidoscope of imagination, moving through acoustic elegance into Celtic spiced adventure and Eastern majesty across its length landscape. Fascinating and irresistible, the track is a thrilling end to an increasingly impressive album. With moments which stir thoughts of bands from Arch/Matheos and Horslips to Motherjane, the closer is theatre for the ears, a melodic seduction for the imagination, and alone one reason to check out the album.

Blackhour is ready to breach the broadest spotlights with Sins Remain, an album which could also be the key to opening the door to the great metal adventure going on in their homeland and surrounding regions just a little wider for the world.

Sins Remain is out now via Transcending Obscurity Distribution @ https://transcendingobscurityindia.bandcamp.com/album/sins-remain-heavy-metal

https://www.facebook.com/blackhourofficial/    http://www.blackhourofficial.com

Pete RingMaster 06/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

A Time To Hope – Full of Doubts

ATTH_RingMaster Review

    A Time To Hope is a French post hardcore band loaded with thick potential going by debut EP Full of Doubts, an encounter wearing familiar genre colours but equally offering a fresh creative confrontation that warrants attention. It is a sonically roaring introduction to their potent sound, a strong and tasty first glimpse of the Montpellier quintet and a strong base for them to leap on from.

Since forming towards the rear of 2014, A Time To Hope has earned praise and a healthy reputation through a live presence which has seen them play with bands such as POLAR, Light Your Anchors, and Zephyr 21 amongst many. Their first music video for the song Sweet T has also lured good attention which is now being increasingly courted by the Full of Doubts EP.

ATTH_ARTWORK_RingMaster Review   Influences to the band are said to include the likes of Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, Architects, and Slaves; many you can sense across the EP starting with RosaRosa. A lone guitar teases initially as skittish beats surround its distant tempting, that bait soon full in ears as its enterprise swiftly expands. Vocalist Franck.D quickly makes a strong impression with his emotively varied tones whilst the guitars of Vincent.P and Anthony.C dance with sonic suggestiveness on the imagination. It is a highly pleasing start which only strengthens as band and song weave recognisable post hardcore textures into their own adventure.

The following Sweet T picks up the pace and invention next, the song from its initial web of guitar an agitated yet welcoming proposition on a more aggressive skeleton of beats from Guillaume.B. Diversity of voice again works well within the heated maelstrom of sound, it all grounded by the great earthy tone of Shango.W’s bass amidst the spidery resourcefulness of guitar. It is easy to see why it made a strong impact with its video release, the enjoyably busy and at times sonically muggy track growing in drama and persuasion with each passing minute before making way for the instrumental suggestiveness of VII. Melancholically draped in the sense of loneliness, it also warms ears and imagination with its poetic charm and melodic heat, setting up the listener for the similarly toned Lemon Cupcake. It too has a sorrowful air to its melodic caress, though it soon bursts into a tempestuous climate of raw emotion and sound. Alluringly more volatile and antagonistic over time, the track is a mighty trespass on the senses and treat for the ears with a steel and metallic snarl that is less forceful elsewhere on the EP.

Ending with the emotional volatility and sonic ferocity of Catfish, a bracing track featuring Robin Renard, Full of Doubts provides a powerful and highly enjoyable first incitement from A Time To Hope. Major originality is still to come with the band’s sound but already the promise is there in the way they sculpt and unleash their ideas meaning we can only look forward to their next offering with eagerness.

The Full of Doubts EP is out now and available via https://atimetohope.bandcamp.com/releases or http://atimetohope.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/atimetohope

Pete RingMaster 06/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/