Serpentyne – Myths And Muses

Serpentyne band photo Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Listening to Myths And Muses, the new album from British Neo-Folksters Serpentyne, you initially come up with the idea that such its unique sound and individual character it is destined just to appeal to a certain segment of the music world. Yet as each bewitching piece of music spreads its irresistible seduction, there is nothing but a wealth of temptation for varied rock and folk fans through to dance and pop enthusiasts. The release is a spellbinding treat building on an already potent reputation earned by the band but taking everything from creativity to temptation to a whole new level.

Hailing from London and formed in 2010 by Maggie-Beth Sand (vocals, cittole, bouzouki, harmonium, nickelharpa) and Mark Powell (hurdy-gurdy, cittern, electric guitar, vocals), Serpentyne take inspirations from traditional music as well as folk, Celtic, world, and rock onto their own tapestry of adventure. Debut album Stella Splendens in their first year awoke keen attention and acclaim, their fusion of traditional tunes with modern atmospheric and ambient enterprise alongside dance bred vivacity drawing comparisons to the likes of Faun, Blowzabella, Steeleye Span, Gryphon, and Blackmore’s Night. As suggested Myths & Muses is another plateau in imagination and invention for the band with the creative differences between their two albums best offered by Sand, “On our first album, Stella Splendens we took traditional songs and texts in old languages such as Latin, Occitain and Old English, and arranged them in our own way. On our second album Myths and Muses apart from including some new-found traditional songs and tunes, we added original lyrics and music which are sometimes combined with the old tunes. I was particularly interested in writing about women warriors, and other muses that have inspired men and women through history.

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Fair to say our knowledge and experience of mediaeval and traditional folk/ethnic sounds is as limited as honesty in government but there is no escaping what we like and it is a done deal between ears, pleasure, and Myths And Muses from the moment opener Boudicca pulsates into view. Its techno seeded start is swiftly a festive saunter of melodic gaiety and more shadowy rhythms. A rest drops in as Sand unveils the first tempting of her magnetic tones and the narrative but soon the song is swinging infectious hips, physically and melodically as an array of instrumentation and vibrant vocal enterprise breeds a riveting dance nicely tempered by the darker tone of keys. A celebration with tribal fuelling rather than maybe the war chant offering you might expect from the title, the track is simply incendiary to body and imagination, and a stunning start to the album.

There is no diminishing of quality and success either as Alexandria takes over, the song again spawned from a tribalistic seed but sauntering down a Middle Eastern landscape within the swish of a camel’s tail. Sultry and elegant, oozing mystique and warm temptation with every spicy melody, the song is as captivating as its predecessor and indeed the following Valkyries. As you would expect from its title, the track has a more urgent and robust nature which drives certainly its techno revelry and as its swings along with virulence, there is a feel of Landscape meets Arkona to the infection, veering more towards one or the other as it continues to entice ears and passions like the Pied Piper.

The medieval song of praise Gaudete is given the Serpentyne embrace next and initially is slightly reminiscent of the famous Steeleye Span version. It is a kiss on the senses eventually evolving into a bolder and busier chant again ripe with the band’s irresistible shamanic enterprise. Its beauty makes way for Hymn To Cynthia, an enslaving and hypnotic interpretation of the Ben Jonson poem of the same name. There is thick drama to the song, the music and vocals pure theatre alone and reinforced by the force of the words; thick forests and boisterous nature the scenery flooding the imagination. The track is sensational, surely destined to be used in a cinematic affair somewhere and when.

The Parisian chanter that is Je Vivroie Liement has senses and emotions basking in tradition and smouldering festivity next whilst the flirtation of Douce Dame Jolie is a romance on the senses with again a more cosmopolitan essence to the music. Both are enthralling interpretations of 14th century songs by French composer Guillaume de Machaut and sheer mesmerism for ears and passions.

Freya’s Firedance is as warm and sultry as its title suggests, a hymn of mystical suggestiveness and beauty crooning the senses before the poem/song A Rosebud In June is hugged and lit by the band. There is another definite Steeleye Span feel to the encounter, Serpentyne being possibly inspired by the formers’ own recording, yet as with all tracks there is little passing time before things develop their own personality and originality.

Myths And Muses is brought to a close by firstly Pastyme With Good Company, an English folk song written by King Henry VIII in the beginning of the 16th century, and finally the medieval sounding Les Garcons De Montagne. Both proposals separate reality from attention with a mystique of the sounds as the joyful and resourceful imagination of Serpentyne soaks every melody, rhythm, and inescapable incitement.

Myths And Muses is pure delight, a proposition everyone should disregard any inbred reticence over, ignoring any assumptions of sound and their seeding. It is basically a rock album from across the ages and without doubt one of the most enjoyable and thrilling encounters we have come across this year.

Myths And Muses is out now digitally and on CD through http://www.serpentyne.com/#!buy-cds/c2267

http://www.serpentyne.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Serpentynemusic

RingMaster 08/06/2015

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From Angels to Bazaars: an interview with Alexey Markov of Starsoup

Alexey Markov.

Starsoup is a band emerging from within Russian which is beginning to stir up a healthy appetite outside of its homeland through debut album Bazaar of Wonders. Creating an enticing weave of heavy and progressive metal invention fed and inspired by a wealth of additional flavours, the album is a compelling adventure which coaxes emotions and imagination with evocative narratives and excellently crafted and skilfully invented enticing songs. To find out more about this awakening creative presence within world metal we had the pleasure to talk with band creator vocalist/guitarist Alexey Markov. Looking at the project’s origins, its first album, opportunities for Russian metal and more, this is what Alexey unveiled…

Hello Alexey and thanks for talking with us.

First of all please give us some background to Starsoup, its origins and the history of its core members.

Well it’s basically a one-man band, but this man (me) doesn’t compose all the music. A big part of Bazaar of Wonders was composed by Andrew Gryaznov – our fellow keyboardist and composer, and there are two songs by my good friends Lex Plotnikoff (Mechanical Poet) and Dan Mescher (Nazgul band). I wrote most of the lyrics and I was the one who financed and produced the record, because in fact I was the only one who really needed it. A significant part of the album was recorded by session musicians.

How did you and Andrew meet and what was the spark to working together?

I met Andrew in a band called Crime of Passion where he played the keyboards and wrote music, and I was invited to sing there. A few times we split and re-appeared, but then the band ceased to exist and I decided I wanted to record our material (because I felt it was good). The spark… well I loved Andrew’s tunes and probably my ideas somehow supplemented his.

Did you have any prime idea or direction when forming Starsoup?

No, totally not. After all we only had 4 songs which we wanted to record. And we just did 🙂 The album is basically something that happened in the process. Maybe it turned out unusually ballad-esque and slow-paced to my taste.

The band is a studio project, was this always the aim of the band or just how it has worked out to this point?

That’s a tough question. I think every musician wants to perform live at some point. Frankly speaking, I’m a bit scared I won’t be able to play (and sing!) the material live as accurately as I did in the studio. I’d say the studio project wasn’t the aim, but right now I don’t have a serious desire to make it a touring band.

What are the inspirations which have most impacted on your ideas for the band and sound?

I think it’s the feelings. When I read a book or watch a movie, or meet somebody, I get new emotions and sometimes I remember them; if they’re strong enough. I wanted the songs to be emotional, not technical.

You have just released your debut album Bazaar of Wonders on Sublimity Records; I believe it was a long time in the making coverso it must be a relief to finally have it out there for public consumption?

Yes, definitely. I feel much better now as this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Time to enjoy life for a few days and then start doing something else 🙂

Was there anything in particular which held up the album’s creation?

I was waiting for the cover art for a very long time, then I had to find another artist, but fortunately Mr. Smerdulak did an amazing job and I’m happy I chose him after all. The artwork turned out to be wonderful.

How has responses for Bazaar of Wonders been so far in your homeland and further afield?

Strangely enough the response in Russia is very moderate. Some people only hear the accent, some don’t enjoy that it’s not in Russian (why should it?!), some don’t like the musicianship or the songs and it’s kind of customary to get this awkward message through – to the author (me). It’s totally different abroad. We got some very nice reviews from the US, Italy, Greece, Israel and other countries.  I really enjoy reading them.

Is it hard for Russian bands to get attention outside of its borders or with the internet have you found it a relatively painless thing to be noticed?

I think it’s harder for the Russian rock and metal bands because no one sees them as serious contenders on the international stage. But now we have ARKONA with their immense success abroad so they kind of opened the road for the rest of us. Internet helps too, as this interview was organized by our friends at GlobMetal Promotions – and this is so cool we’re doing this.

The album at times brings to mind the likes of Dream Theater and Fates Warning as well as other bands like Stone Sour and Avenged Sevenfold; you are musicians who are unafraid to explore numerous styles to create your melodic landscapes?

Yes, Starsoup won’t stick to any one style. It’s my field for experiments. I start thinking that probably standing next to Dream Theater is a bad positioning for Starsoup. After all it’s just another league – 5 best musicians from the best music school in the world with half-a-million $$ recordings next to my $10k record produced in the middle of nowhere by a guy with very little musical education. I mean I’m flattered standing next to them but this comparison is just a predefined loss on all fronts.

The album sees several guest musicians involved in its making; are they playing your sounds or is it a proper collaboration with these artists and they are fully involved in developing their parts?

I never told anybody what to play. In fact a few times I was surprised how it turned out. I’ll stick to this in the future 🙂 After all I can play almost everything myself. Why call anybody else to do that if they don’t put a piece of their soul in? I let them do whatever they wish.

How do songs generally emerge from first seeds in your songwriting?

Sometimes I just play the guitar and some melody appears – or just a chord progression. I play it a few times (even for a few weeks) and try to imagine things. Sometimes the inspiration comes, sometimes it doesn’t. Or I might have a melody in my head which I try to arrange in some interesting way. Sometimes it’s a guitar riff or a rhythm figure that gives me a feeling of flow. I don’t have a universal recipe.

Alexey Markov and Андрей Грязнов.Reading the information around the band and album, I get the impression that you went into the studio to record a quartet of songs including your debut single Angels which drew great responses upon its release, but ended up with a lot more ideas and potential songs which led to an album instead, is that how Bazaar of Wonders came about?

Yes, the songs were emerging themselves in the process of the album recording. I know they usually don’t record the albums like that – usually the band has all songs ready, books the studio and then records the drums, the guitars, the bass, the solos and then the vocals. But we didn’t have this option – this way the album would never have appeared. But I will surely do the 2nd album the “traditional” way.

Is there anything specific upon the album which gives you the greatest satisfaction?

I like how the cd turned out. It’s a finished and self-contained product from the songwriting to recording and production, to art and design. I love to hold the disc in my hand, putting it into a cd player and listening to it from the beginning to the very end. It sounds different when you look at it as a whole; much better than one song at a time 🙂

You mentioned that the project has not played live yet, is that something you are hoping to do in the near future?

Not in the near future, although I’ll be probably giving some acoustic concerts in 2014. So I’ll be definitely playing a pair of Starsoup ballads – Rumors of Better Life and The City and the Stars.

What is next for Starsoup?band

We look forward to releasing a pair of new singles in 2014 – and of course one or two videos.  Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll manage to create another album next year 🙂

Once again thank you for talking to us, have you any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Stay metal! Don’t stay silent: write about the music you like, share it with your friends and don’t miss the gigs!

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup

Read the Bazaar of Wonders review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/starsoup-bazaar-of-wonders/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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VallorcH – Neverfade

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    Neverfade is the debut album from seven strong Italian folk warriors VallorcH, a band which ignites the imagination and passions with their thrilling full-length landscape of muscular defiance and melodic festivities. It is not a release without a few issues but undoubtedly is one drenched in promise and most of all is a thoroughly enjoyable enterprise.

Formed in 2010 by guitarist Marco Munari, guitarist and provider of the vocal growls Matteo Patuelli, and drummer Massimo Benetazzo, VallorcH with the intent to merge death and traditional folk metal was soon expanded by the addition of Demetrio Rampin (bagpipes, whistles and accordion), Sara Tacchetto (vocals, bagpipes), Leonardo Dalla Via (scream and clean vocals, bass), and Francesco Salviato (violin) who before the album left the band to be replaced by Martina Mezzalira. May of last year saw the first release from the band in the well-received shape of the Stories of North EP consisting of five tracks, of which three are revisited on the album. That year also saw the band support the likes of Corvus Corax at Folk Festival in Piacenza swiftly followed by Fosch Fest in Bergamo where the septet opened for artists such as Trollfest, Negura Bunget, Kivimetsan Druidi and Folkstone. As September turned into view the band entered the studio to record Neverfade, with the opportunity to support Arkona on a date of their anniversary tour coming during the recording.

Released earlier this year by Moonlight Records, we always catch up eventually, Neverfade is a captivating encounter which leaves a book5mm_Pagina_01definite hunger and want for more from the band. It does not exactly set down new ventures and examples for folk metal but there is a vibrancy and adventure within the walls of the release and its songs that leave you seduced. It is not perfect by any means but offers plenty that more established and arguably eagerly received releases and artists have been lacking over the past couple of years. Researching for the review it is not hard to notice that a few are coming down hard on the band for coming from Italian and playing Celtic seeded music. As the album impresses it seems a truly trivial complaint, if something is skilled, openly accomplished, and created with passion, as well as sounding damn good as here, there really is no validity in that put down.

The album opens with the brief instrumental Night Fades…, an ok scene setting lead into the album and the excellent Voices Of North. Emerging from the sound of waves breaking upon shore, a guitar unveils a spiral of sonic temptation to heat up the air before being swiftly joined by eager rhythms, driving riffs, and melodic whispers. It is a steady canter straining at its leash to explode whilst being coaxed into greater intensity by the grizzled growls spraying malevolence across the air. It is the vocals of Tacchetto though which takes the lead, her tones instantly appealing if a little less controlled than they could be at times. With Patuelli stirring up the ear with his bear like animosity too it is a potent mix against the energetic melodic fire laying its narrative behind, accordion and whistles especially tantalising and the vocal harmonies later into the song simply delicious.

The very strong start is followed even more potently and impressively by Fialar which is led into view by the short burst of tempting revelry Join The Dance!, its seamless passing into the fourth track unnoticeable such their fluid kinship and union. A torrent of contagious rapacious riffing and rhythmic antagonism joins the party first, another dark and light merger of attention gripping craft, but soon shows restraint as Tacchetto with her finest moment on the album, begins her irresistible tale and delivery. The track switches musically and especially vocally throughout, the heavy scowls and nasty grunts breaking up the festival with the perfect shadows and intimidation. It is an outstanding and inventive song which steals the honours on the album with ease.

Both Endless Hunt and Sylvan Oath stand tall in their effort to match their predecessor, the first with a ravenous hunger to riffs and rhythms courted by entrancing melodic persuasion and all in the shadow of a compelling intensity whilst its successor is an inventive fury of heavy predacious menace. Neither manages to rival the previous song but both leave the appetite alive for more. The production of the second of the pair is not great either especially in regard to Tacchetto’s soprano soaring which is smothered into the background, as are other elements in the track.

The jovial and perky instrumental Störiele makes a refreshing aside for the album before Silence Oblivion steps forward to immediately impress with the excellent vocal union of Tacchetto and the clean tones of Dalla Via. It is a stunning mix which is not used enough on the album and hopefully will be explored more ahead, and as Patuelli riles the air also they make for an equally successful threesome before he dominates the prime attack from there on in, which does disappoints a little. The song is a commanding and provocative encounter which plays with brutality as much as it creates flames of melodic beauty. It is a great track which ebbs and flows a little in successful just missing out on classic status but when it works it is glorious.

Anguana and Leave A Whisper next make for satisfying companions, though both lack some of the spark and imagination to leave fires burning in the passions, whilst The End much like Silence Oblivion has as much to not get on with as it has to ignite ardour with. A marching rhythmic call to arms draws thoughts into its body with ease though the vocals of Tacchetto for once fail to hit the spot, her delivery at times flat and almost distant to the heart of the song. It is not a major problem though as musically the lure and hooks of the song, as well as its melodic toxin is virulent in its infectiousness and colourful persuasion, and the further it stomps into its length the track emerges as another of the bigger highlights on the album, especially its insidious hornet like stinging grooves.

With the more than decent …A New Light Rises completing the release, Neverfade is a richly pleasing album to revel and immerse within. Certainly not flawless as it shows that VallorcH has plenty of room to expand and explore within their creativity, the album is an exciting and appetising adventure to bring a fresh spark to folk metal and fans of the likes of Arkona, Finntroll, and Korpiklaani.

https://www.facebook.com/vallorch

8/10

RingMaster 06/09/2013

 

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Munruthel: CREEDamage

     

CREEDamage, the new album from Ukrainian ambient/folk pagan metal band Munruthel, is a striking aural portrait of atmospheric and startling worlds and times rife with passion and shadows. It is also a release which is as richly compelling as it is eagerly challenging, an engagement which thrills and inspires with immense creativity and imagination. It is arguably at times not the most open of folk metal releases due to its intent to transports ear, senses, and mind of the listener to a primal and rabid land/history, but without doubt it is one of the most pleasing and rewarding genre albums this year.

Munruthel is the solo project of Vladislav Redkin, an artist who is highly regarded in Ukrainian metal through his work over the years. Starting as the band Silentium, who’s 1995 demo, The Ancients’ Wisdom drew great acclaim, the group name was changed to Munruthel for the following release Yav, Nav i Prav two years later. Following albums such as Oriana Tales and Epoch of Aquarius, the band continued to brew greater success as the project became the sole enterprise of Redkin. His work with numerous other bands such as Nokturnal Mortum, Astrofaes, Lucifugum, Thunderkraft, Amber Solstice, and Neverland to name a few has elevated his stature though it is with Munruthel for many where he has earned the greatest plaudits. With from 2010 the re-release of the earlier albums and the 2011 album The Dark Saga – Original Soundtrack, Munruthel has become a name gaining strong awareness around the metal world which CREEDamage with its impressive soundscapes and invention, will only accelerate.

Out on Svarga Music, the new album is the result of seven years of work by Redkin and unveils an expansive realm of sympho pagan metal through enlightening and consuming emotive soundscapes. With the addition of the mighty tones of guest vocalist Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova of Arkona, as well as Forfather vocalist Wulfstan, the album links back to previous releases in topic, like love for Mother Nature through beliefs, and sound but explores much more new adventure with craft and vision. The shifts and merger of ambient majesty and atmospheric washes to charged and energetic sinews is impeccable and seamless as well as at times unexpected, which only goes to make the release refreshing and imaginative.

The sense of something special is seeded immediately with the opening instrumental Ardent Dance of War’s God. The piece is wholly inspiring, its dramatic and rising emotive atmosphere a leviathan of titanic energy, expression, and imagery. In many ways the album does not live up to its entrance, in the same way that the first time you see a colossal sight or beauty it takes your breath away and the following still overwhelming magnificence has a slight familiarity and anti-climax from there on in. CREEDamage is a mighty journey though, the following Rolls of Thunder from Fiery Skies with its mesmeric warm wraps of keys and rasping vocals a two prong corruption to light thoughts and passion. With the as always striking voice of Masha adding its wonder to the insidious shadows within the heated climes, the track is an impactful confrontation to greedily devour.

The evolving breath of the title track tells as much as the storms of emotion and intensity elsewhere. From a spoken narrative to the pumped yet respectful gait smouldering scenery and the pulsating yet intimidating ambience, the song captures the imagination. The vocals may be in native tongue but their texture within the wall of expressive sounds tells you all you need to know to trigger unique journeys and imagery. As with many of the tracks its cinematic breath is an evocative power to rival the impressive sounds to energise the senses.

In an album which is perpetually sparking pleasure and evocative reactions, further highlights come with firstly The Age of Heroes, a track transporting one into a place of solitude and desolate feelings as reflective whispers and chilled grace caress with barren warmth. Its great depth and effect is matched by Carpathian’s Shield, the song a continually shifting and provoking dedication to Mikhail Nechay, a martyred white magician and faith healer, and the three part epic instrumental Krada, its trio of elements a full path of discovery alone on the album.

CREEDamage has been long awaited by a great many and with ease satisfies and feeds all expectations with the best work from Munruthel yet.

www.facebook.com/MunruthelBand

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Symon- Musica

This is not the easiest review ever attempted at The Ringmaster Review. Firstly the info behind the project Symon- Musica is hard to find and when found is in Belarusian/Russian and we all know what those online translators are like. Type in something related to the music and it will emerge in English as my fish fancies your sister with hairy feet. With a appreciated helping hand from Slava at Strong Music we can bring you some background to the release. First thing to say is that the album is simply magnificent, a slice of folk metal to leave the heart aflame and emotions flying.

The project and release Symon- Musica is a collaboration between symphonic black metal band Dialectic Soul (who I believe aforementioned Slava is a member) and vocalists from the folk ensemble Rechytskіya muzykі. The project finds its seeds back in 2003 as an idea from members of Dialectic Soul and with a song The Symon-Music appearing on a compilation Metallection III the following year. It seems the inspiration for the project comes from the poem “Symon-music” (1925) which was written by Jakubom Kolasom a literary giant said to have been the founder of Belorussian literature. The album was truly set in motion in 2010 when the members of Dialectic Soul, Slava Znakharenko (guitar), Alexander Kluchnikhov (Guitars, bass, drum programming), and Gala Kulitskay (keyboards) began working on the release. The trio brought in the vocalists of national folk ensemble Rechytskija of music, Victoria Bidovoj and Ilonoj Avramchikovoj as the project found its realisation and impressive results. The album received a limited edition release on Strong Music Productions in August 2011 but now has a wider release being sold through the likes of Napalm Records.

The most important piece of information regarding Symon- Musica is that it is simply outstanding, a festival of light and dark encapsulating the breath, passion, and tested emotions of the people, history, and land which spawn its creators. Opening track Сымон-музыка treats the ear to a jazz funk bass start as mesmeric and instinctive as you could ask for before the song spreads its expansive arms with stirring riffs, melodic keys and wonderful female voice and harmonies. The growling male vocals offer an excellent contrast and complimentary edge to the song matching the unrelenting rhythms and eager riffs. As the track swipes at the ear with gleeful mischief the female voices soar the skies in mesmeric splendour. It is an impressive start and folk metal at its best.

The following song Разважанне аб смерці raises the heat a little more as its surging veins of energy wrap fully around the ear with venomous black metal vocals. This is tempered by the warm melodic charms of the keys and female voices and against the blend of light and seemingly malice coated dark is impressive. These two songs alone would grab a favourable review whatever came next good or bad, especially with the teasing break within the second track playing like the lull before the returning storm of knee buckling invention and aggression.

With greater even pleasure the album reaches and achieves even greater heights with the next pair of irresistible pieces of magic in Родны край and Крыж няволі. The first offers a land of warmth and peace whilst the scowling vocals leap and bound across the song like a devilish sprite. It is the contagious hooks and melodic journey through the heart of the song which captivates the fullest to leave one intimidated but wanton in wanting to hear and feel much more. The second of the pair opens on an emotive pipe beckoning before erupting into a stunning treat of scorched melodic guitars. With the same power and magnificence of the essential riffs and stirring punk sound Skids conjured up in their prime, it is as irresistible as any siren.

These maybe the peak of the album but the rest of the songs take barely a glance back as the likes of the equally wonderful Вясна, the blazon imaginative Песня вольная, and Пушча with its rampant and dizzying aggression and untainted beauty, all ignite the deepest passions and brightest flames.

Sung in native tongue it is impossible to relay the lyrics but the heart and emotion within is unmissable. Symon- Musica is an album which will fire up fans of the likes of Arkona, Korpiklaani, and Midnattsol though it offers just as much for black metal and metal fans in general.  It is unreservedly impressive and thoroughly enjoyable, what more could you want.

Ringmaster 24/05/2012

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