Sahona – Self Titled

sahona_RingMasterReview

Some things are meant to be and seem to navigate to that outcome whatever the initial intent. French melodic rock band Sahona is one of those propositions. Originally, it was intended as a solo project but as musicians were brought in to help its creator, the dynamics and creativity of a band took over. Now they make their introduction with a self-titled debut album; a rousing drama of sound and imagination that simply grabs attention.

Emerging from the South of France, Sahona was formed in 2013 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Charly Sahona of progressive metallers Venturia. As mentioned, the project was set up as a solo venture with friend and drummer Stéphane Cavanez brought in to help out. Having produced some songs for the duo, guitarist Fabien Paraillac soon joined the pair, to be joined later by bassist Cédric Artaxet. As everything and everyone gelled, Charly proposed to turn the project into a full band venture with this their first album recorded in the spring of 2015. Now it is unveiled and ready to tempt and entice with its adventurous blend of melodic and progressive metal with electronic imagination.

The album makes a potent impression first time around but from a strong start and across a host of additional plays, it emerges as an even richer tapestry of sound and ideation which simply fascinates and enthrals. Opener Light of Day, Sense Of Life epitomises the increasingly magnetic journey; a song which draws ears into its melodic charms quite quickly but truly blossoms as each play allows a deeper exploration of its celestial aired depths. From an atmospheric entrance with dramatic keys soon adding additional drama, the song brews up into a busier and more energetic proposal veined by richly enticing guitar and the similarly potent tones of Charly’s vocals. Its melody rich epically throated yet intimate sound has a feel of Dream Theater meets Muse meets Absolace to it, a description which suits most of the release. Individual craft is as pungent and enjoyable as the united enterprise on show in the song, the band creating calm and reflective, raw and aggressive twists and turns which only increase in potency with every listen.

Album cover_RingMasterReviewThe same applies to the album’s outstanding second song, Fires of Passion. Straight away ears and thoughts feel they know the song, like it is a familiar friend returning to arouse the spirit, which it does from its opening web of grooves and flowing, expressive keys. That familiarity comes from again the Muse scent which is at its most fragrant in the song, but it only adds to the drama and tenacious roar of something ultimately distinct to Sahona. Riffs have a great niggle to their tempting whilst rhythms show a firm hand with every throbbing bassline and swinging drumstick as melodies and vocals caress as they seduce. It is the steely grooves and flaming tendrils of guitar enterprise which provide the icing on the flavoursome cake though, a feast which from its first play simply has the ears and emotions in rapture.

On This Winter Night brings an electronic coldness and shadowing into play next, its electro prowling the lining and introduction to further sonic resourcefulness and impressing vocals around a darkly alluring bassline. As its predecessor, it carries a recognisable hue to its creative attractiveness but it only colours something fresh and imaginative, a success echoed within the mellower emotive reflection of Under My Skin. Even with it’s a calmer climate it too shows great volatility to its intensity and heart, but equally equipped with the same infectious nature and sound which lit its predecessors

The electrified air and touch of the increasingly sonically exotic Words of Wisdom grips attention next whilst Little Jack spreads some bluesy tempting into its feverish mix of anthemic intensity and a predatory yet warm coaxing of the imagination. The pair continues the great variation in sound between tracks and offers more of the mouth-watering collusion and at times almost duelling guitar skills of Charly and Fabien. They are incendiary moments which never derailed or distract from the virulence of the song though, another skill shown by the band.

The haunting theatre of A Modern Sleeping Beauty follows the pair; its initial melodic romance leading into a fiery incitement complete with intoxicating grooves and a sinister air before Caught in Heaven descends on ears with glorious guitar jangles and sonic expulsions which in turn spark a boisterous and explosive devouring of ears. The track is glorious, part beast, part charmer, and a nonstop slice of merciless irresistibility. Again the band manages to spawn a predacious tone to their blaze of melodic and harmonic adventure in a track which, as the second, needs little time to ignite a lustful appetite for its presence.

Both Where’s The Path and I’m Alive keep enjoyment strong, if without reaching the heights of the last track. The first initially lays a lively simmer of energy and emotion on ears which, as in so many songs, grows into something bolder and more dramatic with every passing minute whilst its successor is an emotive croon which hugs the senses as Charly spills his lyrical heart.

Closing the album is the cosmic shimmer that is Book Of Life, a song which resonates and pulsates as it seduces body and mind. Sinew spun elements collude with candescent melodies and crystalline textures within it, helping colour a landscape as potent whether casting a mellow lure or a tempestuous agitation. With Cédric and Stéphane creating a sonic canvas which alone is easy to get tangled up in, the track is a superb end to a similarly impressing album.

For most Sahona will have been a new name; after their thoroughly enjoyable first album works its majesty, soon a highly recognisable one.

The Sahona album is out now through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/sahonamusic/

Pete RingMaster 02/03/2016

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Voyager – V

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Breath-taking and ravenously compelling, V the new album from Australian metallers Voyager, is one of those releases which just steals thoughts and emotions from the surrounding world, enslaving ears and imagination with no respite until its incitement is done. It is a powerful and intensive encounter, one demanding attention with a creative rabidity which fuels the thumping rhythms and raging riffs which sculpt the thirteen designs of the album. Equally though a mesmeric beauty radiates and shimmers with a kaleidoscope of sonic colour and melodic emotion across the release in riveting invention to consume everything from ears to passions. The album is a magnificent beast, which puts most other offerings in the shade.

As you can assume from its title, V is the fifth album from the Perth quintet and finds in our humble opinion their unique fusion of melodic and progressive metal with a wealth of other essences at its finest yet. Following the rigorously acclaimed The Meaning of I of 2011, the new album shows Voyager ascending to new heights not only in songwriting and sound but also in the way they texture and align every essence of a song into a flaming tempest which has the unbridled contagion of pop linked to an exploratory progressive imagination metal and locked into the predacious voracity of metal. Fan-funded via Kickstarter and recorded with producer Matt Templeman, V leaves similar genre clad bands in the starting blocks, though to be honest few if any come to mind as comparisons to the rich colour and sound of Voyager right now.

The release opens with its two singles from the album, and through the pair alone rapture and devotion for the release is virtually 654367989302 UPC-Vguaranteed. The new single Hyperventilating instantly soaks ears in an electro mist which is secretive of things ahead, though the wait to find out what is pending is mere seconds as djent bred vivacity strides through ears. The guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow prey on the senses right away as the rhythms of Ashley Doodkorte jab and puncture with just as intense voracity. Around them though it is the keytar seduction of Daniel Estrin which is mesmerising the imagination ready for his equally impressive vocals to charm and infest thoughts. Less than a minute in and the song is in full command; its earnest and dramatic stance magnetic whilst the climactic chorus is pure virulence. It is a gloriously anthemic merger of antagonism and seducing, dark and light, the bass snarl of Alex Canion, who also provides excellent backing vocals, a pronounced protagonist. Veined with an Eastern mystique well onto its adventure, the track is aural alchemy, an enslaving epidemic to which there are no cures.

The following Breaking Down continues the outstanding start. Featuring guest vocals from Daniel Tompkins (In Colour, Skyharbor, ex-TesseracT), the song from an orchestral caress launches into a fiery and enthralling blaze of heavy metal riffs, progressive enticement, and melodic expression. As it predecessor there is an uncaged hunger to the charge of the song but urgency cloaked in pungent emotive melodies and immersive enterprise which again isolates ears and mind from any outside interference. It is a monster of a song swiftly matched by A Beautiful Mistake which hosts another guest in UK born, Perth living vocalist Zemyna Kuliukas. A sinister gurning of sound opens up the song before again gnarly guitar endeavour casts their bait as the continuing to truly impress vocals of Estrin explores ears. Only three songs in and it is hard not to think the musician is providing his mightiest moment yet as a singer. There is a snarl and belligerence to the under belly of the song which is translated in the rhythms and jagged riffing, but under the elegance and evocative flames from vocals and keys it is just another rich texture to a delicious weave, within which Kuliukas potently shines.

The very brief rhythmic and atmospheric narrative of the excellent Fortune Favours The Blind leads into the just as imposingly dramatic and thrilling You, The Shallow, the track a rapacious predator cloaked in the robust hues of a blazing sunset which dance emotively over the senses. Thumping rhythms build a towering intimidating frame which the sonic drizzle and blistering enterprise of the guitars hangs absorbingly from, but it is again the ravenous almost savage agitation of the riffs and the exceptional vocal qualities which brings the deepest submission.

The diversity of the songs from each other also makes a mouth-watering tempting across the album, the roaring pop flames of Embrace The Limitless within a swirling pool of electronic light and the electro rock marauding of Orpheus straight away adding to the rich landscape of the album. The pair permeates every pore and synapse with their simultaneously raw and polished beauty before making away for another major pinnacle in nothing but mountainous highs. Domination Game is a warrior of a song, its sinews charged and rippling on the rhythms and battle hardened riffs which bring the track to bear on senses and imagination. Within their cage the vocals stalk and light thoughts with their own specific intent. It is a confrontation in many ways but one where the fire of passion and searing melodies temper any pungent emotion poised to unleash its venom. It is an outstanding slice of ingenuity with not for the first or last time, an eighties synth/indie pop breath within its metallic canvas.

The pair of Peacekeeper and It’s A Wonder impress instantly but take a little longer than other songs to reveal their full hypnotic beauty and toxicity, though there is no particular reason why it is so. The first of the two reminds in small ways of fellow Australians Circles as well as UAE band Absolace as it explores its deep emotional depths with a slow expansive wash of heart sculpted reflection whilst its successor stakes its narrative out on another raging surge of crushing rhythms and senses entangling riffs and bewitching grooves. The song is another stunning spike in an unrelenting line of pure brilliance across V, a track which casts its own unique epic tale of light and shadows within the triumphant broad narrative of the album. It has an unrelenting evolution to its premise too, a horde of styles and flavours unleashed so that as many songs, it feel so much bigger, longer, and lingering than the mere five minutes it needs to capture the passions.

The industrialised air of The Morning Light around a symphonically embracing melodic bathing of invention is followed by the brilliant piano and vocal incitement of Summer Always Comes Again. Poetic strings wrap the song in their evocative flourishes as the song grows into another major treat of the album. Estrin has been likened to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon by Deftones’ Chino Moreno, which you can understand but here song and vocal style is sheer Julian Cope, both aspects a pleasing resemblance of the great arguably undervalued man. It makes the song glow as a piece, and that essence also seeps vibrantly into the closing metallic pop excellence of the closing Seasons Of Age. It is an inferno of pop majesty and metal causticity, combining for a final exceptional summit of a sensational album.

To be honest only ears not words can truly relay the quality and brilliance of V and everyone behind it, so a recommendation to go explore a definite album of the year contender just cannot be forceful enough. In fact you might as well give the title to Voyager now as it is going to take something very special to eclipse their triumph.

V is available now digitally and physically via Bandcamp at: http://voyager.bandcamp.com/

http://voyager-australia.com/

10/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Orion – On the Banks of Rubicon

 

orion pic

    It is fair to say that India is a potent metal scene still relatively untapped by the rest of the world. It is a shame and a little surprising as the amount of bands which thrill and impress there is a constant hint, especially in regard to extreme metal, of just how strong the scene is. Progressive death metallers Orion provide another enthralling formidable nudge with their EP On the Banks of Rubicon. Four tracks of riveting and persistently unpredictable invention, the release is a burning beacon of skill and imagination which should not be ignored.

     Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (also of Albatross), guitarist Ashwin Kulkarni, bassist Anshuman Bhattacharya, and drummer Pritesh Prabhune, the quartet from Mumbai was formed in 2008 and released their first demo Reverie Hours two years later. Taking inspirations from the likes of Death, Opeth, Necrophagist, Gojira, Periphery, and Protest The Hero into their blend of progressive and death metal with plenty of further essences to captivate the imagination, the band makes a compelling persuasion with On the Banks of Rubicon. Strikingly merging melodic and carnivorous intents into a landscape of provocation which startles and seduces from start to finish, the EP is a masterful exploration which sculpts a formidable declaration for not only the band but Indian metal as a whole.

     Opening track Oh Sweet Ebullition immediately seizes ears and attention with thumping rhythms and sonic craft, the guitars coverwrapping sonic tendrils around the senses whilst expanding a melodic enterprise through reserved but open grooves and instantly persuasive riffing. It is a magnetic entrance which lures thoughts and emotions into the heart of the melodic and groove metal mix brought with predatory energy and breath. A sudden dip into melodic elegance opens the door for a torrent of rapacious provocation, riffs and the heavy growls of Venkatraman spawning rabidity in the track as it goes straight for the jugular. It is an intensive evocation which commands the senses before without warning diving into a progressive and melodic stretch of beauty and mesmeric seduction. This is subsequently entwined within the sinew driven death bred aggression of before to ignite an even greedier hunger for the song. Only half way in and the encounter has taken the breath away with its power and invention, something which never relents up to the final second of the six minute plus tempting. Nothing on the song is repeated beyond the passage seeding any particular moment and along with the excellent vocal fusion of guttural vitriol and clean melodic deliveries impressively helps drive the song straight into the passions. Like a union of Motherjane, Bhayanak Maut, and Opeth but with much more uniqueness, it is a rigorously incendiary and thrilling start to the release.

    Devoured Existence enters next on a blaze of skilful sonic colouring which again ignites the imagination straight away, priming it for the harsh creative jaws of the track which scar and provoke. A thrash kissed surge to the riffing is tempered by the death metal spawned vocal delivery and surrounding imposing shadows but this itself is only subservient to the again outstanding guitar invention and menacing basslines which control it all. Predictability is once more completely absent in the creative maelstrom, classic metal spirals of sonic ingenuity descending to defeat expectations whilst the song niggles with almost pestilential efficiency enslaving the emotions as fully as its predecessor and the following triumph Astral. Almost eight minutes of simultaneously rampaging, crawling, and seducing adventure, twisting melodic and doom metal with a blackened wind over a progressive death metal, the third song is a scintillating encounter. Once more Motherjane comparisons spring to mind at times and certainly at the beginning, as does those to UAE band Absolace but it is only a small flavour in an ever evolving and shifting soundscape which entrances and violates with equal success and grandeur. The best track on the release it reveals and screams out all of the impressive elements and skills of Orion in songwriting and presentation. One of the best extreme metal tracks heard in a long time it can be the doorway to the widest recognition with a slice of luck.

     The EP closes with the most direct death metal track My Dying Prayer, but again there is plenty of invention unleashed to bewitch and wrong foot the ears for the richest satisfaction, everything from vocals to guitar mastery, bass snarling to rhythmic manipulation impressively addictive.  On the Banks of Rubicon is an exceptional encounter all should take a big chunk of time out to investigate. It will impress and thrill whilst maybe opening the gateway to an undiscovered world of invention driven metal in the band’s homeland. Be brave and go for it we say.

https://www.facebook.com/orionmumbaimetal

http://www.transcendingobscurity.com/

10/10

RingMaster 15/01/2014

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Black Crown Initiate – Song Of The Crippled Bull

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Scintillating and breath-taking, Song Of The Crippled Bull from US progressive death metallers Black Crown Initiate is a staggering debut which adds another pinnacle to the year and the genre. To be fair, the Reading, PA band cannot be simply tagged as above as their imagination, craft, and invention explores and employs an extensive expanse of styles and ingenuity for a fluid and magnetic ever evolving tempestuous adventure. Whether seducing or gnawing the senses to within an inch of their sanity, the band and release is a torrential storm of extremes and skilled enterprise merged into one giant and seamless ravishment.

Formed by Andy Thomas (guitars/clean vocals) and Nick Shaw (bass) with James Dorton (vocals) last year, Black Crown Initiate has taken little time in igniting the imagination and passions with their mouthwatering technical skill and ingenuity applied to exhaustive extreme and progressive metal brilliance. Recorded with Carson Slovak at Atrium Audio in Pennsylvania, the four track Song Of The Crippled Bull EP thrusts the threesome straight to the frontline of extreme metal brilliance and boundary pushing, ferocious invention. Now since the recording of the EP a quintet with the addition of Jeff Willet (drums) and Rik Stelzpflug (guitar), Black Crown Initiate stand poised to bring a new inciting melodic fire and corruptive provocative fury to the world.

Playing as one complete journey made up of four compelling movements Song of the Crippled Bull opens with Stench of the Iron Age, a BLACK_CROWN_INITIATE-COVER_300x300piece which tells you all you need to know about the inventive intent and superbly crafted technical exploits bred within the band. A tender guitar caress makes the first temptation, its touch emotive and gentle. It is soon joined by a riveting bass presence, its snarl vibrant and eager, and equally energetic and festive rhythms. Once the outstanding mellow vocals of Thomas unveil the narrative over the mix the band already has attention and imagination dancing to its tune, the song at its start a tempting Opeth/Absolace like suasion. There is a jazz almost avant-garde air to the offering which without ever coming near to slipping into indulgence magnetises thoughts and emotions but it is once the track explodes into a carnivorous foraging of the ears and beyond that the fire is truly burning brilliantly and severely. The causticity of the harsh carnal tones of Dorton are as potent and addictive as the clean persuasion of Thomas and musically the storm of rhythmic intensity and sonic savagery is a destructive annihilatory rabidity which leaves the listener wasted and blissful. It is only the start of the persistently shifting and evolving triumph though, a melodic weave with a Muse like seed wrapping its tendrils around the brawl and a doom bred weight smothering any emerging light for a Meshuggah like predation to overwhelm everything in its creative path. To its end the track continues to writhe and flame with a delicious blend of electrifying toxicity and intoxicating imagination, merging into Ghosts She Sends to ensure no gulp of air is allowed to be taken and the listener given respite.

The second track expels a carnal swagger from the corrosive breath it starts with, a rapacious tempting soon immersed within the oppressive storm cloud but still laying down deep irresistible hooks impossible. The fury breaks as a golden melodic evocative glaze strokes new flumes of emotions and thoughts into action, guitars and bass providing an inventively woven walk through understanding, respectful sceneries. Shadows still lurk and Dorton is never far away from unleashing his powerful squalls which are met and empowered further by the scorching cleaner cries of Thomas. Again skill and adventure is a boiling persuasion across the track and hunger for its excellence as greedy as the intent of the sounds it craves.

The brutal finale of the song makes the initial challenge of The Mountain Top, though the drums and bass twist out an individual irresistible and lethal tapestry of addiction alongside the despoiling riffs and grievous vocals of Dorton. It is a savage enslavement but one which imperiously brings a stunning melodically cast infection drenched chorus into the mix with such skill and insight that it feels as organic within the violent bedlam as the on-going side by side swipes of destruction. The shortest track on the release it, as all slips magnificently into the next, the exhilarating closing title track. Bringing the EP in many ways full circle, the final piece is a fiery stroll with the bass again sheer contagion and clean vocals similarly enthralling. With melodies and premises closely aligned to the starter if not repeated, it makes for a circular passage of reflection and danger which is as malevolent and engaging as at any point on the release and as magnificent.

The PRC Music released Song of the Crippled Bull is quite monumental, the rising of a new ingenious progressive leviathan for extreme metal in the startling shape of Black Crown Initiate. Dare you miss one of the best things to imaginatively assault the ear this year?

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Walkways – Safe in Sound

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

There is no better pleasure than when a band and release you are only vaguely aware of, if at all, comes out of peripheral vision to slap the senses and passions into a state of lustful awareness. That is exactly what Safe in Sound, the debut album from Israeli metallers Walkways did. It is a glorious blend of alternative and nu metal plus more, addiction forming grooves and a hungry snarl setting it apart from most as it brings a refreshing inventive presence to eagerly feast upon.

Formed in 2007, Walkways are relatively unknown outside of their homeland, though a trio of previous singles (including a cover of Adele’s Skyfall) certainly scratched the surface of attention wider afield. With Safe In Sound though you can only sense and hope that the previous state of affairs will be addressed for the quintet of vocalist Ran Yerushalmi, guitarists Bar Caspi and Yoni Menner, bassist Avihai Levy, and drummer Priel Horesh. It certainly has all the invention, imagination, and sheer infectiousness to brand the band on the map of modern metal. Mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Soilwork, Katatonia), the record is a masterful and unpredictable blend of potent flavours and styles which stir the imagination and heart; quite simply it is one of the best albums to grace the year.

From the sinister intro, band and album instantly entwine the listener in deliciously enticing grooves and sonic temptation with Blood 1044369_329815420485756_1779077289_nInto Water, Caspi and Menner simultaneously carving deep furrows in the senses with carnivorous craft or soothing them with melodic weaves. The striking start drops into drifting atmospheric warmth to welcome the excellent vocals of Yerushalmi, a man who across the album proves a fine and inventive vocalist, whilst the rhythms temper their initial provocation to drive this scintillating melodic turn deeper. As it continues to twist the song enslaves a needy hunger for its unpredictable and enthralling offering, seamlessly blending snarling intimidation and glowing smouldering seduction with ease. Sound wise the song comes over like a thrilling mix of Absolace with Coheed and Cambria with the richest bite and invention of Korn and unpredictability of fellow Israelis Onama, the latter pair more pronounced the further the album is explored.

For all of the comparison which will be inspired by the release there is a uniqueness and individuality about Walkways which leaves thoughts and ears excited, especially when tracks like the following All Lies bounds the emotions in a wrap of rapacious imagination and energy. Again a track which fidgets and sizzles with twists of thought and adventure, it takes on a more Korn like presence the further it teases, the vocals evolving into a strong Jonathan Davis resembling stance though again retaining a distinction of their own. It is a continuation of the impressive start strongly continued by Endless I with its slightly schizophrenic sonic dance and flowing wash of melodic grandeur. There is a Deftones whisper or maybe a more Palms like one to its immersive persuasion that only enhances the rich emotive call of the song and leaves a bright blush of pleasure in its wake.

The next two songs are arguably the pinnacle of the album, though favourites shift with each eager listen. Firstly Towards the Light charges up its batteries for an excitable rampage across the ear with a wholly contagious beckoning spawned by a dazzling mix of technical/progressive metal and heavy rock. There is a touch of Nonpoint to the encounter but also Meshuggah glimpses as well as in deceitful quirkiness Scars On Broadway. There is an instant friendship struck up by the track, a familiarity to its lure which without obvious comparisons makes the fun all the more intensive but it is still only an appetiser for its successor. The start of Thoughts is not comfortable, the electro effected vocals suggesting something…well cringe worthy…but to doubt this band is mad as the track soon erupts into a thumping predacious slab of rock ‘n’ roll driven with a Mishkin like creative rabidity and magnetic invention. The latest single from the band it encapsulates everything about Walkways in an irresistible and explosive suasion.

Through the enchanting yet menacing Luminary Kid with spoken vocals adding narrative to what is primarily an instrumental, and Sweet Medicine which is as wonderfully niggling as it is plaintively evocative, the album boils up further before the excellent Out stands with sinews loaded before the ear. It might be a relatively muscular excursion at times but the song takes no time in soothing its passage with some enticing heart bred reflection and colour rich melodic flame of varying degrees of heat through the creative guitars and concentrated expressive vocals, backed by pressing basslines and forceful rhythms. It is a fire of inventive resources which builds into a climatic and dramatic provocation. Korn meets Tricore/An Entire Legion, the song is another lofty highpoint of a towering release.

After the decent enough melancholic instrumental Pause, agitation takes on another depth of imagination with the metallic bedlam of Actions, a track which sees Walkways turn Dog Fashion Disco on our asses with again a sturdy Korn spite to its rhythmic and sonic venom, whilst Skin Deep takes flight over the sores with a melodic wind of passion soaked resonance. To all extents the closure of the album with the brief instrumental Staring Through Closed Blinds adding its epilogue, the track finishes a stunning album. Safe in Sound is an inciting and infectious introduction of Walkways to the world but more than that it is a strikingly creative and thrilling take on modern metal; it has stolen our lust.

https://www.facebook.com/Walkways

9.5/10

RingMaster 26/07/2013

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Grenouer – Blood On The Face

251139 - Grenouer - Photo 1

Russian metallers Grenouer have been regularly featured and devoured on our podcast The Bone Orchard at www.audioburger.com over the past couple of years so the news and chance to review their new album offered a rapacious hunger to the excitement. The band has left a striking presence with their evolving sound across the years and Blood On The Face continues that accomplished course with ease whilst opening up further suggestions of distinct explorations ahead. The sound is familiar to their fans, their melodic potency and sonic sculpting at its pinnacle, but equally it is a continuation of their now established intent and tempting with an invention and imagination which blends varied flavours and adventure for a deeply impressive encounter.

Released through Mausoleum Records, Blood On The Face combines the five tracks which made up previous acclaimed EP 251139 - Grenouer - CoverComputer Crimes with six new songs and a cover. Initial thoughts were that filling almost half the release with a previous one will disappoint fans but such the strength of those tracks with their new ‘revisited’ arrangements and more so the new compositions, it will be surely merely a passing niggle for most and for newcomers makes the perfect introduction. Produced by the team of Dualized & Eddy Cavazza (Mnemic), Anssi Kippo (Children Of Bodom), and Joonas Koto, the album is an absorbing and enthralling landscape of distinctive melodic metal. At times thoughts of other bands as inspirations make suggestions but Grenouer have a sound which is theirs alone and Blood On The Face a thrilling vehicle to share it through. Formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrey Ind and guitarist Alexander Motor, the Saint Petersburg based quintet have moved far on from their extreme metal origins, the years and releases since then drawing in and embracing a rich and passionate melodic heart to the precisely and inventively crafted songs. This their seventh album, has the opportunity to make a full declaration to the world of their might thanks to the new link up with Mausoleum, and one suspects their rewards will be just as plentiful.

A brooding intro opens up the release, Thunder Phase a dawning of a warm and provocative ambience filled with drifting vocal calls, before merging into the waiting title track. Thick riffs and sonic flames immediately erupt around the ear whilst the rhythms of drummer Michael Coroner cage it all with punch and strength. The ever impressive vocals of Ind unveil their distinct and impressive flames, his unique melodic and at times soaring range just as pleasingly supported by the backing tones of Motor and fellow guitarist Igor Buzzy. It is an intriguing and riveting blend which envelopes senses and thoughts whilst the throaty bass of Dmitry Daemon persistently adds the shadows and menacing depths which lurk and prowl the hot climate crafted elsewhere. The track is a restrained yet imposing start which opens up the album perfectly if without, in hindsight, reaching the subsequent plateaus breached later.

Both Sands of Silence and Midday Show induce greater involvement from the passions, the first with its plaintive yet seductive breath and vocals wrapped in fiery arms of melodic adventure and atmospheric emotion and the second of the two through vigorous and snarling riffs from bass and guitar which stalk and incite the ear around the again intense and emotive call of the song. It is like its predecessor a masterful expanse of imagination and enterprise with only the rapping insert later on into its persuasion taking a while to convince, the excellent song emerging as a mix of Absolace and Clawfinger.

The impressive quality and enjoyment continues and grows with each temptation masked as songs, the compelling Golden Years and the explosive Rejected igniting further lustful obedience before their creative and adventurous lures, whilst Fix Your Life/A Few Miles from Paradise finds a mix of the familiar and new which is honed into a fascination that is lingering and provocative, the keys exploring deeper invention and textured ambiences.

The most thrilling highlights in nothing but, come with firstly the predatory Brain Fever, one of those truly dangerous hunters which deceitfully lay out a welcome of melodic beauty and seduction before gnawing on senses and thoughts with corrosive riffs and crisp splintering rhythms. It is an outstanding song instantly matched by See No Sun and Last Stop. The first of the pair is a smouldering caress of a song, hazy atmospheres veined by a melodic beauty and sculpting which sways and kisses with every second of its sirenesque grandeur though it holds a carnivorous surprise too whilst the second is a reserved but forceful riot of rippling sinews and ferocious enterprise, simply an irresistible contagion.

Completed by a cover of the Stone Temple Pilots song All in the Suit That You Wear, this should be the album to bring Grenouer the recognition long deserved. Blood On The Face is an outstanding album full of refreshing invention, time for the world to wake up to the band.

http://www.grenouer.com/

9/10

RingMaster 28/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Onoma: All Things Change

When recently reviewing the excellent From Israhell With Love compilation, a release which highlighted the strength and diversity of metal bands coming out of Israel, one band stood out over what was an impressive line-up of bands and songs. The band was Onoma, a Tel Aviv based alternative metal quartet whose track Bug was an instant addiction with its vibrant and fresh sound, ideas, and energy. Their contribution ensured the need to hear more and the opportunity came when guitarist Asaf Keidan from the band approached The RR for a review of their album. Obviously being professional we deliberated and thought about the offer…for all the time it took to type yes please… and what emerged was an album which excited and thrilled like so few other releases have in recent months. All Things Change is outstanding, an album which took no time in entrenching itself in the imagination and heart.

Onoma, the Greek word for ‘Name’, were formed in 2007 by Keidan, vocalist Elad Koren, and drummer Saggi Chen. Early demo recordings during the first couple of years led to songs like My Drug, Twisted, and the aforementioned Bug, gaining strong attention and praise across the internet and web radio whilst the next two years saw not only an ever increasing interest and following as the band gigged across Israel, but also the addition of bassist Andrei Aframov (ex-Phantom Pain) to the permanent ranks. Last year the band ventured into the studio to begin the album alongside famed producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, System Of A Down, Skunk Anansie, Deftones) who mixed it and James Murphy (Death, Obituary) who handled the mastering, with the band itself doing the production work. What emerged is a release is quite stunning.

All Things Change is an album which incorporates a multitude of sub metal genres to conjure up distinct brews of alternative and nu-metal driven goodness. The band state their influences as bands like Alice In Chains, Korn, Deftones, and Meshuggah, all clear to hear at times, but their spicery does not stop there as at times the likes of American Head Charge, (Hed) P.E.,  Watcha, Marilyn Manson, and Scars On Broadway to name a few, shoot through thoughts as the tracks unleash their inventive craft.

The album starts with Lauds, a short track come intro, which heightens the anticipation of what is too come with its chilling ambient and slightly distressed breath. The release is soon into its stride with Dear God and its military welcoming beats and abrasive riffs. Within moments it settles into a tight heated groove and djent toned rhythmic badgering. The vocals of Koren pick and chew at the lyrics delivering them in a Jonathan Davis like style which is as punchy as the jabbing and combative sounds. Once the melodic whispers turn to shouts there is a Drowning Pool like aggression added to further ignite the senses, the track climaxing on a belligerent and compulsive swagger.

The outstanding start is easily matched by the following Cannot Go and Loser Friendly. The first stalks the ear with tempting riffs and intimidating rhythms, its prowl a disruptive pattern of challenging and deeply rewarding invention. The song stomps and musically curses the ear with an angry intensity and deliberate antagonistic air whilst soothing its wounds with melodic enterprise. The second of the two is a heavy and shadowed Deftones like gaited piece of emotive expression. It has its moments charging with incendiary bursts of energy but at its core is an enveloping provocative slab of passionate might which bruises as much as it exhilarates.

The brilliant Bug ensures there is no dip in excellence or power, though all songs ensure the same. It is one of the most additive songs heard in a long time and a track which only takes one listen to become a best friend. The track is a tempest of melodic and discord driven wonder which captivates and riles up the emotions with equal effect. It has the melodic grace of Absolace, the creative imagination of iBURN, and the mischievous invention of System Of A Down, all driven by the spinal corruption of Periphery. Immense is the only word for it, and as you may have guessed we quite like it.

With the magnificent Animal coming at the ear with the same venomous conjuration as Bug, and the great closing pair of Fight Myself and Nothing Right offering a final ferocity and towering mix of melodic intrusion and muscular violation, All Things Change is easily one of the best things heard this year. Earlier this year we declared nu and alternative metal had been revitalised with the ingenuity of the release from Irish band iBURN now Onoma have shown it is truly thriving and more imaginative than ever.

http://www.onomaband.com

Ringmaster 30/08/2012

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