Pray For Locust – In the Shadow of the Colossus

Photo by Hilda Arneback

Photo by Hilda Arneback

Like a venomously disgruntled nest of vindictive hornets, In the Shadow of the Colossus the new album from Swedish metallers Pray For Locust swarms over senses and imagination with hordes of vitriolic grooves, ravenous sonics, and most of all an inventive viciousness which is predatory in its more restrained moments alone. The second full-length from the Stockholm quintet is simply magnificent, a gripping maliciousness which stands amongst many in fusing metal and hardcore but alone in sound and enterprise.

Formed in 2009, Pray for locust has earned a more than decent reputation and loyal following with their live performances and debut album Swarm of 2010. It is safe to say though that the successor to the album and well-received Into the Ocean EP of two years ago is the band’s finest moment and the realisation of their place to the fore of raw, creatively antagonistic metal. Self-produced and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (Aeon, Live Elephant, Hate Ammo), the Discouraged Records released ravager is an exceptional beast with the potential to inspire.

The album seizes total attention right away as opener Bat Country wraps a sonic squall around ears before the band erupts into an PrayForLocust-InTheShadowOfTheColossusintensive persuasion of savage riffery and similarly destructive rhythms. It swipes the cobwebs away from thoughts and emotions immediately, the heavyweight metallic voracity of the track a potent co-conspirator with its hardcore roar. Vocalist Tintin Andersen drives the encounter to a new causticity upon the entrance of his uncompromising lyrical brawls and passion drenched tones, adding to the consuming immensity of the fury caging the listener. It is a masterful concoction, brief sonic hooks and longer lingering grooves superbly littering the muscular rage sculpted magnetically by guitarists Jerry Engström and Stefan Schyberg whilst the inventive rhythmic assault of Simon Corner cages and bewitches with another soaking of cruelty.

The towering start is just a warm up though as This Blackened Sky digs deeper and thrusts further into the passions with its contagious brilliance. Swirling sonic laces entangle the imagination initially, rhythms and vocals courting the intrigue with vengeful rapaciousness before the track settles into a darker and restrained parading of its animosity and imposing narrative. It is not long though before the urgency returns with uncompromising intent but it is happy to share time and space with the ‘gentler’ intrusiveness whilst also inviting a raw and infection driven swagger to help launch the chorus. The variation of vocals is also as incendiary and welcome as the revolving invention in sound and gait, it all ensuring every second, each twist of the track is irresistibly toxic.

Both Dead Mans Curse and Reap What You Sow provide rich fuel to the fire for the release ignited in the passions, the first cored by a understated but potent throaty bass suasion from Kvasi, a prowling agonist with a death metal scented malignancy. The bass provides a great snarl and depth to this, and to all songs to be fair but often elsewhere it is immersed in the mix too much for personal tastes but certainly here makes an open impact. The second of the pair of songs seems to take inspiration from the loftily soaring hostile flames and emotive enticements of its predecessor and spills a resourcefully dramatic provocation to its implacable body and invigorating body. Grooves writhe and seduce throughout the tempest, encouraging and tempering the anger of sound and vocals simultaneously in another excitingly shifting savaging. It is not as concerned with atmosphere and melodies as the previous songs but employs the same unpredictable and extensive ingenuity within its ferocity.

Talking of ferocious, the word hardly does justice to the wrath of Ten Thousand Dead, its heart bred from the purest punk hatred and structured with a multi-flavoured metal furore and endeavour which bands like Meshuggah, Lamb Of God, and Cancer Bats would devour. The following Our Last Breath continues in similar vein after emerging from provocative shadows clad in waiting predation. That fierce rabidity needs little waiting time though to charge as sinews and intensity overpowers the senses. Its rampage is additionally coloured by addictive sonic spirals and a rhythmic buffeting which splinters with resonating malice upon collision with ears. Twisting and flirting at times with blistering imagination, the bruising storm re-confirms the strength of the album and startling craft of the band.

 God of the Underworld flies for the throat with metalcore tendencies aligned to melodic poison next, vocals again an impressively varied enticement enriching the hues of the unrelentingly ingenious battle, whilst the following Statement spits and rages with merciless intensity, hardcore and metal merging for a raucous malevolence which enslaves thoughts and emotions brutally and completely. Though neither song quite lives up to earlier tracks, it is the excellence of songs before which is the difference and not any lack of invention and potent lures within the pair.

The album concludes with the ravenous and exhaustive virulence of Bad Blood and lastly Heroin Eyes, the first a glorious imaginative corrosion which rips the throat from emotions. The final song is a thrilling barbarous pillaging not quite matching the last song but bringing In the Shadow of the Colossus to a tremendous if not as memorable finale. Overall the album is a scorching agitator, one scintillating in sound and craft whilst providing an encounter which leaves psyche and senses basking in an enterprise rarely heard in the majority of hardcore bred releases. There is no need to watch out for Pray For Locust as after the album hits the world it will be impossible to avoid their storming presence we suspect.

In the Shadow of the Colossus is available via Discouraged Records now!


RingMaster 30/04/2014

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System Annihilated: Furor


    Swedish metallers System Annihilated have announced themselves through debut album Furor, as a band capable of already providing a formidable and thrilling encounter but also one rippling with an undeniable promise of even greater things ahead. Their first release is remarkably impressive considering the age of the band and one destined to place them immediately many rungs up the extreme metal ladder of recognition.

The band from Umeå was formed in 2009 when its members were only 13/14. The subsequent four years has seen the band establish themselves as one of the most powerful in sound and invention emerging bands in Sweden with the further reaches of the globe about to have their first rewarding taste of the aggressive corrosive riches of System Annihilated. Their sound is a senses stripping fire of death metal and hardcore equipped with progressive flames and ill-tempered technical metal, a blend which is exhausting and invigorating in equal measure.

Released via Discouraged Records and recorded with legendary metal producer Ronnie Björnström (Aeon, Zonaria, Ghamorean), coverFuror immediately scars the synapses with opener This Apocalypse, its entrance a fire of ravenous squalls from vocalist Christoffer Jonsson within thumping rhythms from drummer Joel Widengren Lundström and the caustic riffs of guitarists Petter Adsten and Kalle Kjellberg. It is a startling fury completed by the predatory rumblings of bassist Viktor Kröger, the combination a furnace of unbridled intensity and grievous aggression. Instantly the passion and energy of the band and album pounces on the senses whilst their musicianship leaves the listener transfixed as firmly as the expansive violating sounds. There are loud whispers of the likes of Meshuggah, Periphery, and Gojira alongside winds of Sybreed and Cryptopsy to stretch further the undoubted invention and accomplish craft of the band.

The first track is an immense start soon left in the wake of the title track and further songs like The Bitter End and Let The Rain Tear It Down. The first of these is a tsunami of rabid grooves and senses depleting riffs again driven by rhythms which venomously splinter bone. It is a brutal and intense affair which ravages with primal energy and skilled malevolence brought through the striking and impactful musicianship of the band. The second of the trio pushes further the open diversity within the songs on the album though all crush resistance with a similar intent and creative template. With an initial persuasion coming through a piercing resonating sonic embrace and nastily jabbing beats, the track is a bruising treat of exploitive irresistible grooves and heinously debilitating rhythms, and one very irresistible violator whilst Let The Rain Tear It Down slowly absorbs and seeps within the body through a seductively insidious sonic wrap and voracious riffs once more caged by unrelenting barbarous rhythms.

Alongside The Bitter End the biggest triumph on the album comes through the virulent spite of Seven, a track speared by an antagonistic groove and a malicious craving to consume and fracture the senses. It is a delicious assault of perfectly structured aural spite and unbridled inflamed rapacious passion.

Furor ends as mightily as it began with the twin chewing of the ear from Parasite and We Stand Alone, another two songs which confirm System Annihilated as a potently powerful band with a maturity and potential to become much more. It is almost frightening how good this band could become based on their first release and we as we suspect every other person to stand before their skilled tempest will agree, cannot wait.


RingMaster 20/02/2013

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Flayed Disciple: Death Hammer

      Flayed Disciple Album cover

    Death Hammer is the debut album from UK extreme metallers Flayed Disciple, a release which might not venture into new pastures with the impressive thrash fuelled death metal it and the band unleash upon the ear, but one which leaves demands and expectations not only fully satisfied but basking in accomplished invigorating splendour.  Released via Grindscene Records, the album is a rabid storm of debilitating rhythms, carnivorous riffs, and devouring intensity which endorses why the band is garnering strong acclaim.

Formed in 209, the Taunton quintet of vocalist Tim Whyte, guitarists Thurston Howe and Jon Whitfield (lead and rhythms respectively), bassist Paul Williams, and drummer Phil Tolfree, has earned great respect through their earlier release the Drawn Viscera EP of 2009 and live performances which have seen them play prestigious festivals such as The Neurotic Deathfest and Bloodstock, as well as numerous shows around the UK alongside bands like Cerebral Bore and Aeon. The tail of last year saw the band sign with Grindscene Records leading to the recording of their first album with producer Chris Fielding this past February.

Stalking the same extreme realms as the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Deicide, and Exodus, the five piece rampage with constant brutality and skill from the first note of the album to its very last. Their fusion of thrash and death metal leaves a blissful carcass in its wake, a breathless collection of senses which whilst not treated to majorly new invention is lost to a towering and magnificent tempest of aggression and creative intensity. It is high grade destructive metal, carnal rock n roll which constantly and deeply rewards whilst simultaneously sapping the strength from its recipients.

The album begins its unleashing of spiteful corrosive energies with Bring Down The Hammer, an ear chewing stomp of ravenous riffs, crippling rhythms, and sound bites submerged within the brawling weight of energy. It is an initial confrontation softening the senses for the tsunami of viciousness to come starting with The Westboro Massacre. The song plunders the body with the bone splintering violence of drummer Tolfree lashing out from the midst of the squalling sonic display of the guitars as well as their ravishing riffs. The guttural growls of Whyte are bestial in the extreme but offer clarity to grasp and be impacted by the lyrical strikes as forcibly as the crushing sounds. It is an intensive start which just inspires the need to dive into the heart of the album.

Interceptor and Feast In The Forest Of Impaled Bodies conjure up the blackened sonic devil next, both carrying veins of sadistic brooding malevolence which erodes the senses as the thrash urgency and persistence batters and saps the flesh. They complete their bruising with aggressive layers and unmistakable craft of the band deliberately placed to work on the already sore and merciless wounds caused by the release. It is a masterful display commanding only respect and praise which excels throughout the whole of the album.

    Exodus is another terrific violation drawing only acclaim and just one of the continuous highlights offered, though all fall to the towering might of The Shrine Of Dahmer. The track is a colossus amongst giants and one which is merciless in its destructive intent and venomous breath. Completely infectious without losing its intimidation, the song is a riot of imaginative butchery and compelling invention.

The remaining quartet of songs are all equal to the previous triumphs, Bleaching In The Sun and Torsofucked rasping incursions of nastiness especially the latter of the pair, and the closing Ejaculate While Killing and Pig sheer maliciousness, the first through inspired sonic mastery of the guitars and the last just because it is pure evil in all aspects.

Death Hammer is an excellent album which all metal fans will take to their shadowed bosoms once entering its grievous annihilation. Flayed Disciple maybe have yet to find a unique voice to their unadulterated murderous creativity but the album show it hardly holds them back from being a notable entrant in extreme metal.

RingMaster 11/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Aeon: Aeons Black

by Fredrik Wallin

Unleashing a torrent of destructive irreverence and corrosive annihilation, Swedish death metallers Aeon return with their staggering fourth album Aeons Black. Released through Metal Blade Records, the release finds the band at its mightiest yet, in aggression and venom as well as in craft and imagination. The sound which rips apart the senses is that which the world has come to expect from the band but now rippling with a variety and groove veining which is elevated and maturer than ever before from the quintet. It is a colossal album and without doubt one of the very best genre releases in a long time.

Since forming in 1999, the band has experimented with and stepped aside of old school death metal for greatly inventive results which has shattered minds and captured the imagination. From their early demos and 2005 debut album Bleeding the False through the following Rise to Dominate and Path Of Fire, in 2007 and 2010 respectively, the band has reaped acclaim and plaudits from fans and media alike. Tours and shows alongside the likes of Hate Eternal, Misery Index, Mayhem, Cerebral Bore and Flyed Disciple to name some, only cemented their reputation for merciless sounds and their ferocious delivery. Recorded with Ronnie Björnström (Garageland Studios), Aeons Black is their greatest moment yet and opens the deepest pit of satisfaction possible.

The album swoops upon the ear with blistering sonic outrage and unbridled blastbeats within They Still Pray, to immediately begin a violation which numbs thoughts and emotions. The riffs from guitarists Zeb Nilsson and Daniel Dlimi churn up the senses whilst the additional tight acidic enterprise sears the flesh wonderfully, and alongside the raptorial expertise of bassist Marcus Edvardsson and the towering rampage of drummer Arttu Mallki, sends pleasure into overload. Led by the bestial fury of vocalist Tommy Dahlstöm, his passion as oppressive as the intensity preying around him, it is an outstanding entrance from the album expanded upon throughout the untethered debilitating outpouring.

The sonic charnel pit of The Glowing Hate ruptures the synapses next with its twisting predatory groove and abrasive storm of riffs, the track another delicious furnace of spite lyrically, musically, and emotionally. It erodes the defences like a sandstorm upon skin, the caustic rub an incessant riot which finds a slight restraint before bleeding into the emotive piano led instrumental The Voice of the Accuser.  It is a brief beauty settling the spawn disorientation before the rabid malevolence of I Wish You Death opens up a new unbridled flood of snarling violation. As with most tracks, the song is an unpredictable canvas of evocative melodic and sonic mastery within a ravaging scourge of sound which fires up primal energies and hungry ardour. Four tracks in and the album stands as a titanic encounter and the immense quality and angry violence just keeps coming.

Tracks like Garden of Sin with its intense gnawing sonic ravishment and the rapacious Nothing Left to Destroy which ends with a compelling and chilling insidious whisper of a reclamation, continue the irresistible brutality to trigger greater passion before the merciless effacement whilst the title track is malice and poison given tumultuous life. The track crawls and consumes the whole body to lay seeds to an aural festering and sonic manipulating which extinguishes all light before drawing out the fullest rapture to its nasty and rewarding presence.

Before its departure Aeons Black lets loose other crippling treats in the shape of the bruising cyclones Dead Means Dead, Sacrificed, Blessed By the Priest, all increasing the vindictive pleasure given, and then closes on the twin barrage of noise and malignancy of Maze of the Damned and Die By My Hands to suck out and destroy any hope possibly left intact. By the end, every aspect of the body is smarting from the insatiable hate and aural extirpation but glowing from the incisive and impacting enterprise within. It is a giant of a release and one which is without question essential investigation for all extreme metal fans.

Ringmaster 20/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Evil Entourage: The Opposition

Insidious, the title of the first track on the new EP from Mexican death metalers Evil Entourage sums up the release perfectly. The Opposition is a release which beckons, entraps, and then unleashes its venomous heart deeply within the senses. It is violent and nasty but speared with precise grooves and intrusive energies which only leave one desperate to be violated over again.

Formed in 2004 in Tampico, the quartet has apparently become a major force in the underground metal scene in their continent and listening to The Opposition our first introduction to the band, it is no real surprise their stature there and one which should be emulated further afield ahead. From their debut demo in 2005 Devoured by Holocaust, the band has earned and built a strong eager fan base. Their first album Dominion of 2007 found a good response at home and around the world with the following years finding the band opening for the likes of Vital Remains, Nile, Decapitated, and Severe Torture, as well as sharing stages with established Mexican bands. 2010 saw second album Desecrators, a more brutal release than its predecessors, garner further strong acclaim from fans around the globe, as did their first videos.

Released through Chaos Records, The Opposition is set to spark an even greater reaction and recognition with its uncompromising compulsive sounds. Evil Entourage goes for the jugular immediately with the aforementioned Insidious. The track is an instant barrage of crushing rhythms and rampant riffs cursed with the excellent bestial growls of the vocals. They feast on the senses whilst the emerging infectious groove ignites up the air within the rabid intensity. From a raging charge the song at points drops into a prowling stance before revolving between the two, the tempest of malevolence never diminishing or less than impressive.

The following Swathe To Blind is an abrasive heavyweight corruption of blistered and guttural vocals, flesh flailing riffs, and barbarous rhythms. Like the opener it has a merciless energy to its staggering onslaught yet is mesmeric from its grooved insatiable appetite. Arguably the old school core and thrashing intensity offered here and throughout is nothing distinctly new but it is certainly one of the most contagious and gratifying genre releases this year.  By the second song you know the recognisable intent of the band and sound but also that it is being brought on an unstoppable surge of irresistible and greed evoked might.

The excellent From Inside I Burn and the ravenous and spiteful True Rejected enflame and squeeze the ear into misshapen satisfaction with their twisted melodic scorching and annihilatory riffing spiked by vicious rhythms to open the wounds even wider. With muscles bruising the senses alone the songs, and EP overall, are destructive animals from which only pleasure is derived. Musically the band is accomplished without being overloaded with flair but they know how to deliver sounds and grooves which leave only submission in their wake.

Featuring special guest appearances from Fabiano Pena (The Ordher) and Tommy Dahlstrom (Aeon), The Opposition is excellent, a release which has no need to find new weaponry to deliver death metal at its absorbing and addictive best. Evil Entourage is set to step from a whisper to a loud shout on lips around the world, with this release their first words.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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