Hessian/Primitive Man –The Abyss Stares Back #2

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Continuing their series of split releases The Abyss Stares Back which began with the impression union of Amenra and Vvovnds in May; Hypertension Records unveil the second instalment of dark consumption with a two track union between Hessian and Primitive Man. The second of a planned five splits, The Abyss Stares Back #2 brings again exclusive propositions from the two protagonists, a pair of tracks which drag the senses and emotions through cavernous, insidious landscapes but with the sweetest toxic lures which feverishly ignite the imagination and fears.

With future releases in the series to include Nihill, Scott Kelly, Drums Are For Parades, Mathieu Vandekerckhove, and Alkerdeel, Hypertension has already set a gripping standard and presence for the series through #1 and #2, the newest a startling and compelling onslaught of virulent hostile seduction. As all in the series it is wrapped in the artwork of Tom Vanuytrecht and with the photography of Stefaan Temmerman, but consumes and envelops in its own unique voracity with frightening intensity and ridiculously easy success. Both bands on the release are united in the devil’s oppression whilst providing an individual merciless savagery and invigorating violation to maybe unwillingly but certainly rewardingly bask in.

Having been rigorously persuaded by their debut album Manégarmr, appetite and anticipation for Hessian’s contribution to the release hessian (pic Stefaan Temmerman)was keen and swiftly satisfied by the Belgian band and their track Inward Dawn. Consisting of guitarist Levy Seynaeve (of Amenra), drummer Tim Bryon (of The Black Heart Rebellion), vocalist Bram Coussement, and bass player Kenneth Vanhoutte, the quartet threaten as they lumber in upon heavily punching rhythms and a sonic web of antagonism. It is a disarming sweep of sound and confrontation lorded brutally over by the vocal causticity of Coussement but one which swiftly enslaves the passions through the rolling and inciting drum enticement of Bryon. Like a puppeteer he directs and cages the imagination so the scorched sonic endeavour of Seynaeve can layer web upon furious web of deviously captivating and searing design. The repetitious lure of the track aligned to the rapacious rhythms is the prime bait though; it’s intermittent enticement the irresistible spine to which emotional enmity and aural chastisement explores their rich potency and hostile animosity. Gloriously insatiable and contagiously persistent, the encounter is a fall through the depths of organic persuasion, a sirenesque anthem come hymn to the primal core of body and emotion. The track is pure addictive venomous alchemy, Hessian reaching deeper into their rapacious ingenuity than ever before for a seriously hypnotic and ruinous triumph.

primitive man   Primitive Man swamps the senses in a darker corrosive tsunami than the pestilential but voraciously mesmeric suasion of Hessian, though neither you would trust with your soul. Their track Unable takes mere moments to invade and permeate body and feelings, its lumbering sludge tar coating senses and thoughts with suffocating efficiency. As shown on their impressive debut album Scorn, the Colorado trio of Ethan Lee McCarthy, Jonathan Campos, and Bennet Kennedy, venture into the lowest, base primal sounds and provocation, unleashing sonic swarms as lethal and disorientating as the destructive slab of slow rhythms and maliciously devouring intensity beneath. Similar to Hessian though, there is a potent lure of addiction forging enticement working away, warped grooves and anthemic rhythms breaking free just enough to entangle fevered appetite and eager passions with their riveting coaxing. It is often an understated but constantly infectious trapping within the malevolent corners of the song, a potent seducing for the same senses and psyche which are being unrelentingly worn away and viciously smothered by the doom entrenched pestilence. Closing on a brawling tempest of vitriolic energy and punk infused urgency, the track is a towering predator which easily draws submission for its hellacious fury.

Both tracks on the split are exhaustingly glorious, though of the pair Hessian has a toxin which steals body and mind for a truly lingering pleasure. Both also provide stunning introductions to newcomers to the bands and a raw hint of further things to come for fans, each breeding further waves of anticipation. Hypertension Records with their first two episodes of The Abyss Stares Back easily ensure the forthcomings offerings will be eagerly awaited, and with each split pressed on 180gr. vinyl for a one time only release of 500 copies, time procrastinating is the way to missing out on, certainly in the case of #2, one of the year’s finest essential releases.

The Abyss Stares Back # 2 is available now @ www.hypertensionrecords.com.

https://www.facebook.com/Hessianofficial

https://www.facebook.com/primitivemandoom

9/10

RingMaster 01/07/2014

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Eleanora – EP

Eleanora

Fresh from their impressive appearance on a 10” vinyl split with Amenra this past April, Belgium quintet Eleanora unleash their own provocation simply called EP. Comprising two of the fiercest, sonically disabling, passion drenched incitements possible, the release reinforces an already feisty buzz around the band whilst unleashing another healthily gripping onslaught of their emerging might. It is raw and uncompromising, a voracious intrusion from the Ghent band’s inspiring recipe crafted from intensive sludge and hostile hardcore, and though not the easiest of listens undoubtedly an experience which leaves an invigorating impression.

Consisting of Mathieu Joyeux, Jeroen De Coster, Christophe De Ridder, Stijn Witdouck, and Robin Broché, Eleanora boils up a rage which has plenty to satisfy the wants of fans to the likes of the aforementioned Amenra and Amera through to others such as Converge, Botch, and Isis. Fifteen maelstrom driven minutes across two tracks, their release is prime lyrical and sonic causticity starting with the outstanding Mammon. From within a sonic veil which intensifies with swift hunger, guitars and vocals roar to score ears and graze senses. It is a brutal entrance driven by fearsomely antagonistic rhythms and quickly established acidic grooves which inflame the imagination and emotions. It is a tempestuous enticement but one with virulence pouring from every aspect of its bait, riffs and vocals a scourge upon the senses and the evocative grooving an ungracious but compelling seducing. As expected venom and bile oozes from the provocation, indeed flowing profusely from the vitriolic vocal squalls as syllables and raw passion burn with every outpouring. It is the hooks and grooves though which set the track apart, their similarly malicious intent and potency a tempering and psyche colouring temptation to the sonic and rhythmic violence. It is a tremendous fury and almost alone makes Eleanor a protagonist destined to be under eager scrutiny.

The second song on the release is Amenable, an equally bruising and breath-quenching assault. Its abrasing start flickers with sonic flames and portentous rhythms smothered in the heavy dark tones of bass. It makes for a dramatic and thickly emotive introduction which permeates ears and pores with a doom bred, sludge fuelled oppressiveness. Though not as enslaving and addictively attractive as its predecessor, the track instantly captivates the imagination and provides a torturous canvas for its ideation and invention to colour. A nagging repetitious crawl emerges early on too, its immoveable persistence adding to the tenacious enmity soaking every note and scathing vocal sprawl smothering the listener. Funereal in gait and ravenous in intent, the track is a masterful hypnotic persuasion, a pestilential predator bringing the EP to an impressive conclusion.

The release is sure to bring a new impetus and hunger to the acclaim already gathering around Eleanora and take the band into a sharper focused spotlight. It is early days but easy to predict that this is a band set to bring a new fire and appetite to [post] hardcore inspired intensive sludge rock/metal.

The Eleanora EP is available via Consouling Sounds and @ http://eleanoramusic.bandcamp.com/album/ep

http://www.facebook.com/eleanoramusic

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/06/2014

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Carneia – All Tongues Of Babel

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With a snarl to every breath and an intensive predation to every note, All Tongues Of Babel is a sonic carnivore of the most ridiculously compelling kind. The second full-length from Belgian metallers Carneia, the album is a commanding, bordering on brutal, tempest of progressive rock adventure and metal fury reaping the essences of numerous other styles and flavours to forge a sound which prowls and subjugates the senses and imagination. It is a masterful and towering confrontation from a band which you suspect now stands on the lip of truly major things.

The new album is the successor to 2008 debut White Coma Light, the Offerandum Records released album a focus of widespread acclaim from fans and media alike which though it is our introduction to the band you can only expect it to build upon and take to new heights the reception for its impressive offering. Between albums the band has equally impressed live, sharing stages with the likes of Amenra, Cloon, Maudlin, Sardonis, Bulls on Parade, and Black Heart Rebellion, before settling down to create their new formidable juggernaut of aural exploration. Now consisting of guitarists Thomas Combes and Jille Vandromme (also of No more Faith), bassist Olivier Leerg, vocalist Jan Coudron (King Hiss, ex-Fenndango), and drummer Tom Vansteenkiste (Vermilion, No More Faith), the drums for the album though provided by Terence Gevaert, the band is poised to be on the end of some extensive and deserving attention, a just reward for an outstanding album.

All Tongues of Babel opens on an instant badgering of the ear as La Mala Hora approaches the listener by heavyweights riffs, a3333242331_2thick malevolent intensity, and a crisp rhythmic provocation which intimidates and seduces from its first breath. That lure only increases as a guitar taunts the ears with jagged cuts of sonic endeavour, its lone moment metallic bait ensuring the listener is heading into the predatory stalking of thoughts as Coudron opens up the narrative and his impressive pipes. The frontman has already shown his extensive strengths through the King Hiss EP Snakeskin earlier this year, and upon All Tongues Of Babel he only stretches his boundaries and potency to greater depths and heights. This track has a lot of common elements to the more rock based King Hiss but equally stands alone from most with its irresistible and anthemic blend of hard and grunge rock with groove and heavy metal, a progressive invention washing the slab of imagination to keep intrigue and surprises a torrential enticement. It is a stunning starter which continues to wrong foot and thrill across its eight minutes of evolving and bruising yet tender adventure.

The following Jerk is equally as contagious, another anthem bred storm of ingenuity sculpted by savage riffs and dramatic rhythms whilst again Coudron brings his grizzled and magnetic tones to bear with a squalling breath and unbridled passion, the man one of the very best vocalists in metal one would suggest right now. The track itself at times lurches between intent, sometimes lumbering with an oppressive weight and in other moments offering a more direct and antagonistic spite, but both sprung from the jaws of a predator which the song surely is.

Both The Box and The Alchemist ignite new waves of hunger for the album with their individual designs, the first a smouldering slowly dawning fire of a song, the throaty grinding prowl of the bass matched by the menacing heavy riffing which enslaves the senses for the sonic spirals of melodic imagination to sear their imprint across the sky of the song. Lifting its feet to a slightly more aggressive gait without losing the hypnotic repetitive bait of that bass persistence and similarly niggling riffing, the song winds its way deeper into thoughts and the passions with a breath-taking weave of sonic causticity and primal rock infection. Its successor is a raw bruising of a provocation, certainly vocally initially, whilst guitars and bass once more craft slavery out of incisive and underplayed riffing to which there is no escape. There is simplicity to many elements of the Carneia sound which seamlessly merges with their technical and inventive experimentation, both complimenting and driving the other side on, this track the perfect example; and especially appealing through that thoroughly irresistible bass sound.

Naked steers through stronger rock spawned waters, the emotive heart and pressure of the track not too far from the expressive passion of a Stone Temple Pilots or Gruntruck, though there is no lacking of that metallic rapaciousness either, the combination scintillating across its almost nine minutes of invention and expert temptation before making way for the brilliant Walk. An artillery of rhythms and riffs rifle through the ears and barrack the senses from start to finish here, again repetition a lethally addictive weapon in the mouthwatering premeditated and skilfully laid fury. It is hard to pick a best song on the album, all powder kegs of absorbing intrusive, but this certainly stakes a major claim but then so does the following title track and the closing Indifferent, as indeed all songs to be honest. The first of the two takes its time to ignite, the track seemingly sizing up its victim before launching an intensive yet respectful incendiary cloud of fiery rhythmic dynamics with matching riffs, both playing off each other organically as the song casts its spellbinding and intense exploration. Indifferent makes a creatively robust and emboldened finish to the release, though it is followed after a few breaths by a near on fifteen minute evolving ambient soundscape which just did not work or connect with thoughts.

Carneia is a band all should be veering rapidly over to for an investigation which will only reward, and though arguably a few of the tracks are overlong on All Tongues Of Babel, it is without doubt one of the year’s very best offerings.

https://www.facebook.com/carneiaband

9.5/10

RingMaster 05/12/2013

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Hessian – Manégarmr

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Exhausting, senses numbing, and simply plain vicious, Manégarmr the debut album from Belgian band Hessian is as toxic as it is scintillating though a tempest which has to be endured and enjoyed numerous times to feel its full wealth of rewards and riches, admittedly by that time though the ears are wasted sludge on the floor and mental capacity reduced to that of molten tar.

Consisting of guitarist Levy Seynaeve (of Amenra), drummer Tim Bryon (of The Black Heart Rebellion), vocalist Bram Coussement, and bass player Kenneth Vanhoutte, Hessian came together three years ago, their different musical backgrounds and inspirations joining for an immediate understanding, an instinctive conspiracy which roars from within their raging music and album. A well-received debut EP set things in motion soon followed by a split 7″ with Amenra, a split LP with Pale Creation on Magic Bullet Records, as well as numerous shows throughout Europe. Their recent signing with Southern Lord has laid down the perfect base for the release of Manégarmr into the world though whether it is ready for it is debatable.

The band bring the most destructive essences of sludge and black metal into a merger with just as predatory intent of punk and crust, the result a carnivorous abrasion which scores flesh and leave synapses a dysfunctional wasteland. Opener Ascension sends a sonic banshee squeal through the ear before thrusting a furious onslaught of blackened riffing and energy right after it. It is a mere appetiser though as the full force and hunger of the track explodes in a hardcore brawl fuelled attack with bass and drums chewing everything in sight in rapacious urgency and the guitars searing anything left, whilst the vocals of Coussement treats the senses to sand blaster bred violence.

It is a murderous start easily matched and at times outbid by the following likes of the scintillating venomously grooved Serpent’s Whisper with a cascade of fervid malevolence accompanying every skilled and malevolently crafted note, the savage Plague Monger, and Father Of Greed. The second of these rips a big hole in emotions with an annihilatory scythe of riffs and a down pour of rhythmic brutality before cauterising the wounds with a sonic greed and melodic acid for a painful but delicious confrontation, while the latter of the trio throws its full weight against the senses with lumbering oppressive doom cored intensity.

Allowing a little respite through the acerbic and melodically distressed instrumental Vamacara, band and album regain any lost submission through the ferocious Swallowing Nails, its fire of sonic animosity leaving a hazy aftermath of burnt consciousness and simpering compliance, and the equally vindictive Hollow Eyes, a ravenous war on the senses whose every note is a rabid predator obliterating any notion of escape or hope.

Completed by the title track and Mother Of Light, it is hard to say enjoyment played a major part in the experience such the pungent havoc unleashed but there is only a massive selfish hunger to return to its nasty arms left after the final duo of songs leave their branding. Both tracks epitomise the release and band, grievous, sonically severe, and the deliverers of undefined but intense invention, even if you have to fight through the corpses of lost brain cells and demolished senses to find the treasure.

Manégarmr is an excellent release deserving of all the acclaim it will receive. One more final warning, do not try to listen to anything else for a least a day after facing Hessian eye to ear, the ringing does stop…eventually.

https://www.facebook.com/Hessianofficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 13/05/2013

 

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Steve Von Till – As The Crow Flies

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    As The Crow Flies is a release which pushes all complications and unnecessary wrappings aside to unveil and inspire a core of emotive poetry and introspective inducement. It is a haunting meditative soundtrack to reflection, self and worldly; a record of dark beauty and an impacting seductive evocation from Steve Von Till, the Neurosis vocalist/guitarist, which leaves thoughts and emotions bare.

The album has its re-release via Neurot Recordings, the independent label founded by members of Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot and run day to day by Von Till and staff, which has grown into a fully-fledged label bringing releases from the likes of Ufomammut, Isis, Shrinebuilder, Neurosis, Across Tundras, US Christmas, Ides of Gemini, Oxbow, A Storm of Light, Amenra and many more to the world. As The Crow Flies was released right at the start of the labels emergence but has been out of print for many years. Its re-release thirteen years after the original indelible mark was made feeds a smouldering hunger which has laid waiting in those of us who missed it first time around.

As song after mesmeric song plays its heart and tale upon the ear, acoustic guitar and the gravelly low key whispering of Von Till part crooning and part serenading the imagination, the album visually emerged in the mind as a long lone fence within a melancholic sultry landscape of emotions, each song a post to lean upon as the cage stretches into the horizon and each drawing, inciting a reflective union with the suggestive atmosphere and smouldering ambience placed around thoughts. The surrounding breath and scenery is a shadow crafted intrigue beneath flaming hypnotic skies and upon a canvas of vividly coloured weaves employing everything from sadness and sorrow to hope and resignation. It is a scintillating and enthralling walk through its soundscape with the sounds musically and vocally bred for the fullest engagement.

The album opens with its most potent and captivating presence. Stained Glass offers up a deep resonating caress of the ear soon joined by the throaty sirenesque haunt of the cello, the pairing alongside the slightly grizzled tones of Von Till, a thought crafting blend of chiselled and organic beauty, the dark and light textures within an overall darkened spell leaving no room for escape as the song opens up with its emotive wash of provocative temptation for the mind and passions. As across most of the album, the simplicity is as riveting as it is impossibly addictive, its employment of repetition and singular chords resonating with one persistent voice like an emotive narcotic for nothing less than deep willing slavery to its powerful almost sinister charm.

The following We All Fall walks through darker fields, its residue of sombre elegance drifting across the ear with childlike folk seeded simplicity, its closing vocal temperance almost nursery rhyme like with a dark breath and intent. It is a riveting experience as powerful and enriching as its predecessor and is soon matched by the likes of Remember, a song with a breeze soaked in chant and pulsating glistening from the sun but equally leaving a teasing of impending cacophonies which are never realised but add wonderful cloud to the emotion exploration, and the exceptional Twice Born, another harvest of sublime melancholia enhanced by the blue touch and beauty of the cello and sky bound harmonies between Von Till and the golden tones of Kris Force from Amber Asylum, her celestial siren wrapped tones an irresistible fascination beside the restrained yet compelling tones of her companion.

Midheaven is a drone seeded meditative cloud which ensnares the senses with its single chord repetition occasionally joined by another singularly crafted stroke of discord touched melodic taunt. It is a starkly haunting piece from an equally barren landscape emotionally and visually, the journey coming near its end with a brooding intensity lifting its resentful head as final track Shadows in Stone approaches. Like earlier song Warning Of A Storm, the closing track crafts a sinister embrace which permeates every sense and thought whilst bringing all the elements which flamed throughout the album, that morose delicious cello cry, seductive caresses from the voice of Force, and the consciousness provoking guitar invention and inciting vocals of Von Till, into play. Once a rhythmic resonance and enticement of drums and percussion opens up the song further the sunset of imposing majestic radiance leaves the passions simply enflamed.

     As The Crow Flies is a wonderful album which gets better and better as well as more evocative with each venture into its heated sweltering depths and well worth its return for us stupid enough to have missed it the first time around.

http://www.vontill.org/

8.5/10

RingMaster 13/05/2013

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shEver: Rituals

 

There has been some impressive doom and heavily weighted sludge driven releases this year and right up there with them is the storm of sonic destruction Rituals from Swizz metalers shEvers. The six track album is colossal, a tempest of death spawn tar thick doom aggression to consume and erode the senses.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Jessie and original drummer Melanie, with bassist Nadine joining soon after and vocalist Alex the following year, the all girl band unleashed their first demo The Mirror in 2004 as well as playing numerous shows across Switzerland including a show with Place Of Skulls. Two years later their debut album Ocean Of Illusions was unleashed with the current line-up coming together with Sarah replacing Melanie on drums in 2007. Across the years the witches of venom have played with bands such as Jex Thoth, Esoteric, Amenra, Saturnus, Ahab, Esoteric, and Obelyskkh, successfully played many festivals, and released the well received EP, A Dialogue With The Dimensions in 2009.

The band recorded Rituals in 2011 with its CD release this year coming through Total Rust, the label having already approached the band about releasing their debut at the time though it never came to be, and Svart Records for the vinyl release. It is a consumptive assault of tempestuous sounds and oppressive shadows which envelope and smothers the senses mercilessly and constantly.  The sounds overwhelm and
constrict the air sucking its energy into the malevolent mire of intense and thick ravenous energy. It is not all death and decaying shadows though as the band infuse squealing and incendiary sonics throughout to ignite the passions fully.

The opening Ritual Of Chaos is a crawling hateful slab of metal, its haunting atmosphere spliced with intrusive insanity enforced by the excellent rabid bestial vocals of Alex. It is sinisterly tense and dramatic, the riffs towering and their crushing presence impossible to defend against, though why one would want to avoid such a compulsive and welcome violation that the band lay upon their victims is unimaginable.

The outstanding and best track on the album Delirio feasts next with its equally suffocating ambient mass and provocatively engaging melodic charms. The song is beauty in its every form, the decayed breath and deathly atmosphere as glorious as the synapse burning sonic imagination and hungry predatory basslines. As with the majority of the album everything comes at a lumbering dragging pace and intensity but the effect is a mesmeric trance inducing weave though the meditative result is of nightmares rather than splendour. The song evolves into a delicious sludge riot for its climax to again unveil the strong invention and imagination of the band.

The following tracks like the hypnotic bruising that is Je Suis Nee and the stunning Souls Colliding with its plunging disturbed soundscape simply leave one in total absorbed bliss, suffering at times but welcoming every intrusive manipulation and caustic rub. The second of this pair really is majestic, the merging of the blackest pit and strongest sun a perfectly merged clash of extremes.

Closing with the almost grunge fuelled sludgefest of (You Are) The Mirror and the punishing crawl that is  That He Na Te, the album is an immense and fully satisfying violation upon the senses. Rituals is one of the best genre releases to eat the senses this year whilst placing shEver as one of the prime doomers around.

https://www.facebook.com/shEverdoom

RingMaster 14/09/2012

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