Like being bitch slapped by Godzilla, Welcame the debut album from French thrashers Rise Of The Northstar shows little respect and the utmost hostility yet still charms the frilly panties off the passions. Swiftly instilling itself as one of our lustful favourite releases of 2014, the release is an unrelenting brawl on the senses. Mixing thrash, hardcore, and varied strains of metal aggression in a binding of manga and Japanese cultural inspiration, sound and album is an exhausting thrill which violently bruises and angrily seduces at every turn.
Consisting of vocalist Vithia, guitarists Eva-B and Air One, bassist Fabulous Fab, and drummer Hokuto No Kev, Rise Of The Northstar go straight for the jugular on their Repression Records release full-length and soon has defences willing to be split and devoured by the hellacious fury of ‘manga-core’. Opener What The Fuck tears the senses from their comfort zone, the maniacal glint in the eye of the whole album swiftly and ruthlessly seizing ears once the first song emerges from its deceptive melodic coaxing, guitars opening up with a radiant lure veined by sonic enterprise. When it comes, the colossal wall of sound expelled by the track is a tsunami of spite and intensity. Riffs savage air and senses whilst beats pummel everything in sight. It is a vicious assault and quite irresistible especially as a death metal like malevolence aligns itself with rap cultured vocals and a charging thrash voracity. Everything about the song is raw, vocals and lyrics to riffs and rhythms all looming over the senses like a mix of Slipknot, Bad Brains, and Toxic Holocaust. Its open hostility is also equipped with a sonic temptation which rather than temper the raging seems to ignite it further.
The staggering start is matched within seconds by the predatory Welcame (Furyo State Of Mind), the track from its first breath stalking its victim. A Stuck Mojo like animosity rages in the midst of the storm whilst Cypress Hill like sonic slithers adds a tease to the incendiary and contagious confrontation. That original slow crawl in attack eventually explodes in primal urgency to incinerate the climate of the song before relaxing back into its insidious stroll. The track is as uncompromising as it is addictive and followed by an equally ferocious and merciless assault in The New Path. Again ears and emotions feel like they are being hunted down by the intensive weight and fury of the track but also just as forcibly find themselves being serenaded by group harmonies and anthemic tenacity. It is a scintillating and pleasingly unpredictable incitement setting a new strain of hunger in motion ready for the excellent Samurai Spirit.
The album’s fourth song casts caustic sonic swirls and a bass probing to tenderise thoughts at first before vocals spew malice and spite with every syllable forced through clenched teeth. Riffs and chords hang around the song with intimidating effect whilst beats slap with increasing tenacity and muscle the further the track challenges the senses. Again though there is a vocal union which demands allegiance, another anthem emerging to push the heights of the album further.
Both Dressed All In Black and Again And Again keep things furiously compelling, the first a belligerent riot of craft and invention which uses every twist of its imagination to unleash another exciting and adversarial predation. It equally sets a web of sonic enterprise to captivate as it spills blood before its successor takes a music box simplicity and naivety into an imposingly rugged and jaundiced landscape. Though neither quite matches the brilliance of those before them, each impresses as they add new character and invigorating variety to the album just like the next up Tyson. A cloud of haunting ambience and sinister atmosphere smothers ears first before riffs erupt in carnivorous voice and intent. Hardcore driven vocals then fly at ears angrily from within in the brewing tempest around them. An infectious stride breaks out next, dragging thoughts and passions with its easily accessible yet nasty resourcefulness. The track matches its title in weight, strength, and menace, again not setting a raging fire in emotions but stirring them up to lively satisfaction all the same.
The ridiculously addictive Bosozoku uncages another storming treat; grooves and riffs in league as they bind ears and passions in their riveting anthemic bait to which rhythms administer their welcome brutality as vocals roar with rebellious relish. It is a blistering slab of rock ‘n’ roll pushing Welcame back to its highest plateau, a level maintained by the following cover of the Pharoahe Monch track Simon Says. Possibly the most brutal and imposing rap track you will hear this year, the band turns it into a storm of antagonistic destruction. There is no peace at its eye either, just more full-blooded voracity and malevolent intent.
The album is brought to a potent end through the fusion of rapcore and thrash infused hardcore uncaged by Authentic and the adrenaline fuelled thrash savagery of Blast ‘Em All, both tracks enthralling debilitating anthems no one could be unwilling to offer their bodies to. They complete a roaring triumph of a release, our introduction to Rise Of The Northstar, despite them apparently having a couple of EPs already loose on the world, and the start of a lustful friendship we suspect.
Welcame is available now on Repression Records.
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