Calligram – Askesis

UK set Calligram has a sound which somehow manages to be as seductive as it is debilitating, though even that kinder temptation is fiercely invasive and senses crushing, and comes to a tumultuous and compelling head within the band’s new album, Askesis. Its title means “the procedure of demonstrating self-control and determination of action and purpose”; acts which in sound, emotion, and animosity are skilfully embraced and menacingly twisted across six transfixing punishing tracks.

The successor to their well-received Alan Douches (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Darkest Hour) mastered debut, Demimonde of last year, London based Calligram have taken its bleak and often distressing atmospheres and textures to new inventive lands and heights within Askesis. Across its blackened hardcore bred inescapably immersive soundscapes, it teases and taunts, caresses and violates; emotionally and physically devouring the senses, suffocating them as it rips shreds off their suffering hides. Yet it is a joy to fall before, the grooves and infectiously venomous hooks and twists it conjures a masterful salve to the toxic malignancy unleashed.

Opener Della Mancanza instantly invades and sears the flesh of ears with the pestilential tones of vocalist Matteo Rizzardo to the fore swiftly followed by a tide of sonic animosity veined by grooves which just inflame attention and appetite. It is a rabid tempest of punk, black, and death metal; a mercurial but inhospitable scourge which just hits the spot even as it expands its atmospheric grasp and virulent hostility. The guitars of Bruno Polotto and Tim Desbos are a persistent enticement and malefaction, both extremes colluding in the song’s animus where the rhythms of bassist Smittens and drummer Ardo Cotones are similarly anthemic and destructive. Whether in  a rabid charge or its moments of ruinous calm, the track is unstoppably compelling, an irresistible incursion on body and imagination led by Rizzardo’s individual assault, his rancor leaving ears bleeding and scarred just as you imagine his throat is under his friction wearing delivery.

For personal tastes, the release never quite hits that stunning peak again yet savages the sweet spot time and time again starting with Sinking Into Existence. From its first breath, the track is a torrent of sonic violation and vocal torment within black metal smog but again the guitars weave some beguiling melodic toxins and lures to entwine eager ears. There is a predatory side to the track too, a calmer but no less threatening trespass which lifts the song to new captivation and richer emotive depths before Scourge envelops the senses with its own considered but rabid grudge. Again Calligram merge raw essences and viciousness with melodic enterprise and beauty, everything tainted in varying degrees but equally fascinating as it heads towards a passage of murderous rock ‘n’ roll and haunting sonic corrosion, and out again; Rizzardo magnetically guiding the creative pestilence.

The brief dark elegance of Murderess lures the listener into the waiting clutches of Entwined, itself a slim provocation on body and imagination but one spawned from the coupling of cancerous discontent and melodic suggestiveness. Both pieces are connected by emotion and craft, drawing the listener deeper into the album’s heavy anguished fuelled heart and the irresistible embrace of closing track Lament. A tapestry of styles and flavours all soiled and violated by the unique touch of Calligram, the song is an adventure which ebbs and flows, twists and turns; the listener’s thoughts and emotions making a similar journey within its beguiling asphyxiation of their senses.

It is an end as potent and outstanding as the beginning, and with the middle something pretty special too, Askesis is a must for fans of extreme metal, raw hardcore and simply punishing excellence to check out.

Askesis is out now through Basick Records; available @ http://music.basickrecords.com/album/askesis

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Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

First Signs Of Frost – The Shape Of Things To Come

Pic Ben Ashton

The Shape Of Things To Come is the first EP since British rock band First Signs Of Frost emerged from a hiatus a couple of years back; its title as much a declaration of the fresh blossoming sound and creative chapter within the band as the themes it explores across five absorbing tracks.

Formed in 2004, the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Owen Hughes-Holland, guitarist Adam Mason, drummer Will Gates, and bassist Dan Oehlman grabbed keen attention with their debut EP, In Our Final Chapter. 2007 saw Daniel Tompkins join up as lead vocalist before the acclaimed release of first album Atlantic and a period see the band play alongside the likes of Deaf Havana, Enter Shikari, Architects, You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Senses Fail, Devil Sold His Soul and many more. Before the fuss had settled around the release, Tompkins left to join TesseracT. His departure left a gap the band struggled to fill; thus their hiatus until Hughes-Holland resurrected the band in 2015. Linking up with Mason again as well as bassist Andy C Saxton (ex-Cry For Silence), vocalist Daniel Lawrence (ex-Kenai / All Forgotten), and drummer Alex Harford, the London quintet immediately sought to explore and push their sound to new imaginative heights with The Shape Of Things To Come the first glimpse of their success.

Immersing inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, Further Seems Forever, and Glassjaw into their invention, First Signs Of Frost swiftly lures ears with opener Meat Week. Its atmospheric calm is a quick enticement, the gentle caress of guitar a matching lure before the brooding air also there sparks a bolder expulsion of sound. Lawrence’s vocals immediately impress, his melodic expression matched by the colluding warm and wiry textures of the sounds around him. An infectious energy is equally as persuasive within the song, every element bold without being forceful but making a strongly emotive and technically alluring temptation on ears and imagination.

The following White Flag potently backs up the great start; its enterprise similarly resourceful and ear catching without making over aggressive trespasses upon the senses. There is elegance to the First Signs Of Frost sound which charms as the craft of the individuals captivates; again making for a gentle almost smouldering seduction carried in a contagious and skilfully conjured proposal.

Latest single Look Alive Sunshine is next up with its own individual melodic rock venture veined by djent scented progressive metal intricacies. There is jaggedness which bites as the vocals and melodies hug the senses; a union which grips and lingers even if the song just fails to touch the plateau of its predecessors before the evocative climate and atmospheric ambience of Atlantis drifts in with the superb vocals of Lawrence and keys to the fore. An instinctive emotional intensity rises within the song, simmering down again before repeating its cycle within the graceful serenade.

The EP closes with Sharks; it too an initially serene coaxing but one soon revealing its djent nurtured teeth and creative volatility within a subsequent sea of melodic and technical but emotionally inflamed tranquillity. It is a fine end to a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable release. The Shape Of Things To Come feels like the first step towards something bigger and bolder but is a full pleasure in its own right; a mix which makes First Signs Of Frost a band which just has to be followed closely.

The Shape Of Things To Come is out now via Basick Records and available @ https://basick.supplies/collections/first-signs-of-frost or http://music.basickrecords.com/album/the-shape-of-things-to-come

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bear – ///

As the list of essential 2017 releases already looks like it has the potential of being a substantial one establishing itself at the head is the third album from Belgian metallers Bear. Primarily tagged as math/technical metal, the Antwerp based quartet swiftly show within their new intrusive roar that their sound is a kaleidoscope of imposing flavours. Within the release hefty strains of everything from progressive and heavy metal to nu-metal , hardcore, and metalcore accost the imagination It is a ravenous web aligned to more voracious grooves than found within most lifetimes of similar genre participants and one hellacious treat of a trespass for ears, senses, and pleasure.

Formed in 2010, Bear awoke attention with their self-released 5 track EP Abstractions; its initial success continued through a digital release with Conspiracy Records and a full re-release via Let It Burn Records who followed that up by uncaging debut album Doradus in 2011. At the same time, the band was invading the UK with their raw sound, touring there with While She Sleeps while headlining their local festivals while the year after the album’s release they went on to support the likes of Periphery and entice major plaudits with appearances at  festivals such as Euroblast and Groezrock. Signing with Basick Records in 2013 brought second album Noumenon into greater acclaim whilst live a trio of UK tours with The Colour Line, Black Dogs and Carcer City and further festival triumphs only helped to firmly establish the outfit within the European metal scene.

The biggest spotlight is now sure to be tempted with the release of ///, from its claw slashed title to its ursine assault of sound, the album is an inescapable beast of character, aggression, and invention mauling the listener from its first breath with opener Blackpool. Its first gasp brings a senses eroding surge of guitar and Maarten Albrechts’ furious vocals, a colossal onslaught weighted further by the lethal swings of drummer Serch Carriere and the grievous tone of Dries Verhaert’s bass. As the corrosive tide continues scything riffs and squalling grooves escape the already impressing exploits of guitarist Leander Tsjakalov, his creative weave in turn sparking greater variety in the vocal roar of Albrechts and band. Like a blend of Meshuggah, Slipknot, and Society 1, the song bullies and seduces, opening up more unpredictable twists and compelling exploits with every passing wave of imagination.

The tremendous start continues with Hounds, its primal and rhythmically dynamic entrance enough alone to grip ears, the subsequent net of grooves and technical espionage as well as continuing vocal variety an ever tightening vice of creative temptation. With lighter but just as dirty heavy rock hues adding to the raw infectiousness, the track snarls and ferociously dances with the senses; bruising and teasing them before the band’s latest single Masks emerges from its own dusty smog with a Rob Zombie-esque stomp soon sharing invasive grooves amidst a dissonant cauldron of technical and off-kilter ingenuity. Whereas its predecessors pretty much tore at the senses, Masks taunts and flirts, if with instinctive rapacity and ruthless persistence. Every second is a tempest of intrigue and adventure, each moment a ravishment of ears leaving sheer greed for more in its wake.

It is a hunger swiftly fed and further provoked by Childbreaker, the song initially a blaze of intensity with waspish grooves buzzing around brawly rhythms but soon exploding into an invasive tempest of attitude and barbarous sound though still a storm bound in a virulent infectiousness as devious as the ferocity around it. Predatory in every aspect, the track devours with every breath, a quality no less forceful within next up Knives Are Easy and its maelstrom of technical and instinctively quarrelsome enterprise. The combined creative voracity of Tsjakalov and Verhaert is seemingly encouraged by the irritable jabs of Carriere and Albrechts’ grizzly tones and just as intrusive when the charge turns into a prowling examination of the listener. It is a stalking which cannot sustain its lust for long, the song ending on the same assertive thrust it began with.

The Oath entangles the senses in its own agitated and kinetic almost gladiatorial frenzy next, harmonies and melodic seduction enticing from within the cyclonic ambush and having their own moment of inescapable persuasion like a warm oasis at the eye of an increasingly psychotic storm. With every element combined, it is a fearsome bewitchment with the animalistic growl of bass irresistible, delicious bait continuing as 7 strolls into view carrying a maze of meandering anxious grooves and sonic psychosis. Becoming more brutal and intense with each passing moment, it equally breeds a captivation of harmonic and melodic seduction, the union of extremes as catchy as it is wanton. The song is a helter-skelter of invention and craft, fiercely glorious leaving exhausted ears in bliss and easy prey for the slow menacing prowl of instrumental Klank before Raw has them consumed in another eddy of feverish craft and unbridled discord abound with swirling contrasts and volatile textures all woven into one mouth-watering dispute.

The album is completed by the just as argumentative and creatively pugnacious Construct.Constrict and finally the physically and emotionally subversive Adjust.Adapt. As distinct in nature and body as they are united in bristling attitude and laying a sanguinary touch upon the senses, the pair stretch and open up new realms in the Bear sound; the closing song especially charming in its harmonious siren-esque heart within another truculent body.

There is simply no weak spot within ///, not even a moment when the album slips a foot let alone falls from of very early established pedestal. Quite simply the album and indeed Bear for newcomers is a must!!

/// is out now through Basick Records across most online stores.

http://www.bearpropaganda.com/band/   https://www.facebook.com/bearpropaganda    https://twitter.com/bearpropaganda

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Aliases – Derangeable

Aliases_RingMasterReview

Obviously, it is too early to suggest what will be the best of 2016 but amongst album contenders we suggest you can expect to see Derangeable flirting with the top spot. The new and second album from British progressive tech-metallers Aliases is simply majestic, inescapably irresistible, and a proposition more than living up, in sound and imagination, to its title.

The brain-child of former SikTh guitarist Pin and fellow six-string maestro Leah Woodward, Aliases quickly whipped up attention and eager appetites from the first steps of its emergence in 2010. The band’s first year saw ear exciting single We Never Should Have Met create a potent buzz; an introduction quickly backed by the band making their live debut at Euroblast Festival in Germany and subsequently signing with Basick Records. Highly acclaimed debut album, Safer Than Reality, was uncaged in 2011 to swiftly make the band a potent presence and protagonist within tech metal and suggest the potential to rise to the stature of Pin’s former band. With a new vocalist and drummer bringing their prowess to events, Aliases easily live up to that promise and indeed have more than matched, and arguably surpassed, anything previous exploits have offered with Derangeable.

The album is a non-stop, often exhausting kaleidoscope of sound and invention; a release as technically beguiling as it is infectiously compelling and creatively mouth-watering. It is also an openly individual and unique proposal which at times borders on the loco in its dance of craft and imagination. It all starts with Find Where You Hide, a track which leaps at ears with a wall of imposing rhythms and spiky guitar coaxing as new vocalist Joe Rosser springs with equal attention grabbing zeal. From his initial dirty tones, he swiftly gives a glimpse of his melodic and harmonic diversity which increasingly shines across song and especially album. If ever a voice was perfect for an unpredictable and fluidly eventful sound, Rosser’s is it; his delivery and invention seeming to flow and prowl the inventive discord and flirtation lining every twist and turn in sound with their own striking adventure. The song itself continues to seduce and incite; the sultry addition of sax, antagonistic beats, and finally classical keys, just a few strands in the enthralling tapestry of the song.

art_RingMasterReviewEverything Is Upon Us is soon dazzling ears and thoughts with its instant busy weave. Entangling varied metal bred lures with funk, avant-garde, and nu-metal devilment, the track enslaves in seconds. The guitars of Pin and Woodward simply dance with almost schizophrenic invention whilst Joe Heaton’s bass prowls through it all like a predator equipped with resonating groans and salacious grooving. As with all songs, it is impossible to reflect the emprise of senses twisting and psyche captivating exploration going on, every second seemingly a new cascade of adventure as shown again in the beefier and equally melodically alluring Back To The Start. Shaped by the crafty swings and beats of Jof Walsh and coloured by the impressive vocal exploits of Rosser, the song emerges like a mix of The Kennedy Soundtrack, KingBathmat, and maybe unsurprisingly SikTh on the way to being something distinct to Aliases.

The pair of Smile All You Like and Deep Sea Avenue keeps attention tight and the imagination stirred; the first with its intricately woven exotic bedlam of guitar and rhythmic ingenuity ridden by the great vocal resources of Rosser and band. It is a fascination of sound and imagination emulated in an even more strikingly unbalanced way by its successor, a track that growls and leers at the listener whilst taking them through its sonic psychosis. It is an outstanding and virulent treat of sound and temptation pretty much matched in success by the lighter yet just as frenzied tango of Uncontrollable Desires. There is a touch of Korn and System Of A Down to the song; spices which simply add to the irresistible web of creative alchemy infesting body and spirit.

The commandingly intensive and barbarously engrossing Callous comes next; it a merger of contrasting shades of aggression and intent bound together by the band’s ever riveting casting of unhinged innovation in sound and idea. It completes a quartet of unmissable favourites at the centre of Derangeable, though through the agitated maze of Face For Lust, where the bass is instinctively flirtatious, and the similarly dynamic and left-field bearing Seen It All, the album and pleasure are locked closer together than ever.

The album comes to a mighty close with the grooved beauty and psyche bending resourcefulness of the wonderful Untangled Mind and finally the warm harmonic charm and mischievous eccentricity of Above The Sky. The pair provides a quite glorious and lingering conclusion to not only one of the year’s major triumphs so far but one of the most enjoyable and impressive adventures in the history of tech and progressive metal. Derangeable is one of those releases which are destined to become an inspiration to others and the best friend to ears and imagination; the tag of genius is already on the lips in reference to their glorious triumph.

Derangeable is out now via Basick Records with buying options @ http://www.basickrecords.com/releases/derangeable

https://www.facebook.com/aliasesband   http://www.twitter.com/aliasesband

Pete Ringmaster 18/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Create To Inspire – Home Is Where My Heart Dies

 

CTI_RingMasterReviewBuilding on the success of their debut EP, British melodic hardcore quintet, Create To Inspire, are poised to release its successor in the rousing shape of Home Is Where My Heart Dies. It is the band’s first offering since signing with Basick Records at the turn of the year; a pungent roar of emotion and imposing sound showing potent depths of invention and imagination beneath its impressing surface.

There are no major ground-breaking moments in the band’s new EP, the release more of a confirmation and expansion on the potential already offered by predecessor Halfway Home, yet predictability is noticeable by its absence while freshness in confrontational textures and accomplished craft is a persistent persuasion. From emerging in 2012, it is fair to say that the Essex hailing band has perpetually and increasingly drawn attention and praise their way; a success, it is easy to expect, set to reach another pinnacle with their latest release.

2014 saw the band win the Red Bull Studios Live At Download competition, subsequently playing alongside the likes of Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, and more, before the Halfway Home EP really stirred up ears and appetites. Since then they have toured alongside While She Sleeps and Giants, they particular highlights of a busy 2015, and following the release of Home Is Where My Heart Dies, Create To Inspire are set to make their debut tour into Europe in support of Skywalker, before returning to again hit the road with While She Sleeps. 2016 is looking another eventful year for the band starting here with Home Is Where My Heart Dies.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens up with History and immediately has ears under a rhythmic cosh with predatory riffs for company. Thereafter the song uncages a tide of hungry riffs amidst the vocal ire of Sean Midson, subsequently expanding and blossoming its catchy rhythms and melodic endeavour with every lyrical snarl and sonic scythe.  The hefty swipes of drummer Luke Taylor continue to punctuate the track whilst inciting ears alongside the similarly intrusive tones of Dan Fuller’s bass. They also make a forceful impact on the senses whereas the imagination is held by Midson’s potent mix of attack and the web of enterprise cast by guitarists Jack Morris and Connor McLeod. The track is a potent start to the release; an ear grabbing proposal lining familiar hues and flavours with the band’s own stirring invention.

Counting Days steps forward next and instantly reveals its punk origins with its hardcore bred opening, a bracing bellow of voice and sound. Forceful as it is, the song also keeps one hand on the reins so melodic endeavour can flow seamlessly from within its brooding tempest. As aggressive and abrasive as it is melodically and harmonically infectious, the track is a striking roar of volatile and emotive intensity, and the EP’s strongest moment.

A gentle melodic caress brings Don’t Let Go into view next, its melancholic charm joined by the rawer expression of Midson’s vocals as beats land with determination. It is a highly suggestive start which is only accentuated by the infectious hooks and swinging energy which follows before the process is repeated with an even more irritable air coating the song’s subsequent energetic expulsion. It is another memorable encounter, maybe the one which lingers most from the EP though it’s title track has plenty of creative and catchy moments to its storm that hang around in thoughts and enjoyment.

It is another inflamed proposal of sound and emotion which masterfully shows off the vocal variety and sonic resourcefulness of the band , and the rhythmic imagination which steer the songs. As the EP generally, the closing track is not rich in ear catching surprises but has a multitude of alluring sounds and ideas in its equally pleasing body. Home Is Where My Heart Dies as a whole is an impressive continuation of the first Create To Inspire EP and confirmation that this is a band with the potential to make great strides within the UK music scene.

The Home Is Where My Heart Dies is released March 25th via Basick Records.

https://www.facebook.com/createtoinspireuk

Pete RingMaster 23/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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No Consequence – Vimana

No Consequence press shot

It is probably not too far from the mark to suggest that Vimana, the new album from UK progressive/tech metallers No Consequence has been one highly anticipated offering, and right on the money to say it is one strapping beast of sound and creative attitude. The release takes an already highly flavoursome and attention grabbing sound to new pastures of imagination and voracious intensity, aligning the established technical and aggression of the band to a more concentrated brew of melodic and expressive adventure. It is their most rounded and gripping proposition yet with just the hint that they and we are still nowhere near the finished article of their potential and sound.

Renowned as one of the most impressive live acts on the European metal scene, listing the sharing of tours and stages with the likes of TesseracT, Chimp Spanner, Carcer City and just recently Monuments and Murdock on their CV, No Consequence follow up their previous acclaimed albums In the Shadow of Gods and IO, of 2009 and 2013 respectively, with an incitement which seduces as it tears strips of the senses and relentlessly fascinates as it casts a roar of uncompromising aggressiveness.

NC-Vimana-packshot   Vimana begins with the short persuasion of Acala and an immediate hint of dramatic climates and textures within a harmonic embrace. An intro come scene setter, the appealing opening is soon departing for the more rugged and emotionally intensive Our Time Has Come. Restrained yet rich grooves wind around ravenous riffs and a sonic turbulence as the rawer aspect of vocalist Kaan Tasan comes to the fore. He too though is soon showing an adept range as a cleaner presence entwines with his dustier snarls. As the guitars of Dan Reid and Harry Edwards flirt and abrase ears with craft and enterprise, the song’s tempest provides a persistent challenge and enticement of progressive and technical tenacity. It is equally a weave of varied metal and melodic toxicity, it all colluding in one magnetic lure holding attention and appetite firmly in its hands alongside enjoyment.

The following Is This A Way To Live has a calmer if no less energetic presence, though vocal squalls and cantankerous riffs as well as a grooved taunting offer disagreement. Subsequently the song slips into a mellow reflective passage within a still tempestuous atmosphere, the bass of Tom Parkinson a prowling shadow in the growing web of wiry grooves and hooks whilst the rhythmic animosity of drummer Colin Bentham is barbarous in the norm and bestial, like the bass, in the track’s most agitated state. With a Middle Eastern suggestiveness emerging in its thick ambience and unpredictability driving every twist and turn, the track has ears and thoughts thoroughly captivated before making way for the more rigorous examination of Resistance and in turn the cyclonic energy of The Turning Point. There is a carnal essence to the savage riffs and technical predation of the first of the two, but countered by and aligned to a constantly evolving landscape of immersive melodies, heart driven vocals, and a blustery fury. Virulently contagious and intrusively dynamic, the track is the first major pinnacle within an already seriously impressing album and quickly matched by the inventive theatre and hostile temptation of its successor. It is another song which merges contrasts and contradictions in sound and energy in a riveting emotional and breath-taking physical turmoil. Though arguably not as technically busy as previous releases but certainly as skilfully dynamic and inventive it, as all the songs within Vimana, reveals new corners and depths with every listen, ensuring every flight of the album’s raging adventure is increasingly rewarding.

The elegant caress of brief instrumental Half Light comes next, its evocative beauty courted by a vocal sample before Citizen with a similarly warm charm and presence takes over. Of course things get more heated and agitated soon after, guitars spinning a trap of sonic predation matched by heavy rhythms though almost as quickly, a melodic tempting returns to seduce once again. The vocal variety of Tasan leads an eventual merger of both aspects as the song becomes a bewitching trespass on ears and passions.

There is something familiar about the following Speechless especially when vocals and song are in full roar but ultimately it casts a uniquely inflamed presence rife with emotional ire and sonic adventure. The lead track from the album and another highly satisfying encounter, it still does not quite take ears and emotions on the same thrilling ride as other tracks upon the album or indeed Disconnect which straight after unveils a worldly melodic emprise within a creative bellow and an imposing persistently evolving incitement.

Vimana is drawn to a close by firstly the cauldron of diversity and extremes that is Signs and finally its title track and its mellow croon on ears. Also equipped with a rhythmic stalking, the last song increasingly spawns brighter and bolder voracious flames throughout but without ever catching ablaze; a restraint which you have to say superbly works.

Both tracks bring Vimana a fine and absorbing finale, the album ending as potently as it began. There are moments where personally there was a wish for the band to go further with its melodic explorations or inhospitable endeavour but no moment when No Consequence just do not seriously impress. Bottom-line is that Vimana is an unbridled recommendation for not only technical/progressive metal fans but for the broad attention of metal itself.

Vimana is available now via Basick Records digitally and on CD @ http://music.basickrecords.com/album/vimana and http://basick.supplies/collections/no-consequence

https://www.facebook.com/noconsequenceband   http://www.basickrecords.com/bands/no-consequence

RingMaster 09/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Heights – Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above

HEIGHTS_shot1

As in the size of its title, Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above is an epic proposition, an atmospherically expansive offering which is simultaneously an encounter of emotional intimacy. In similar fashion whilst being technically intricate and involved there is an organic and almost simple flow to the whole thing. The new creative emprise from UK band Heights, the album is the host of many contrasting things entangling in mesmeric majesty, combining and aligning for an irresistible adventure of aural beauty.

The trio take rich sonic threads from varied styles such as post and progressive rock, jazz and more classically seeded flavours, weaving them into instrumental explorations which invigorate ears and fascinate the imagination with a sublime creative seduction. Formed in 2006, this has been the way of the trio since day one. It is a flavour and imagination ensuring that previous releases like 2008 album Salvation and Trepidation and its 2010 successor From Sea to Sky, have been irresistible lures for the senses and magnets for acclaim. Now guitarist/composer Al Heslop, bassist John Hopkin, and drummer Jay Postones, also of TesseracT, return with their finest most transfixing creative emprise yet, a release which simply immerses the listener in unique and invigorating explorations of sound and sonic suggestiveness.

Phantasia, as we will call the album from hereon in to save space and time in your lives, opens with Universe Forming and swiftly entangles ears and thoughts in a gentle but evocative melodic embrace. A celestial atmosphere and warmth soaks the air of the emerging song, kissing the thickly enticing groove and sonic colouring which is soon filling the song’s spatial canvas. A melodic seducing lights up the now energetic stroll of the encounter but just as potently lays an emotive hue over more calmer, almost solemn moments. Each move within the song, and in those to come, are seamless twists in the landscape whilst rhythms provide a wonderful shading to the prowess of Heslop’s fingers and ideation. That shadow becomes a more vocal, almost predatory tempting further in the track, in turn sparking sultry and Latin spiced enterprise in the melodies. The track is a glorious start to the album instantly matched by its outstanding successor.

4PAN1T  The eagerly prowling incitement of guitar and bass ignites Solar Bringer of Chaos Lunar Bringer of Light into life, their intriguing and beguiling venture springing a new greed in an already fully awoken appetite for what is in offer. Their bait takes ears into another flight through a vast soundscape of universal expanse but also veined by intimate and provocative tendrils of guitar and rhythmic imagination. It is impossible to project everything which goes on in a single moment upon Phantasia, let alone within whole songs themselves, but it is easy to say that the sonic persuasion and ingenious tapestries cast simply take body and emotions into sensational realms away from reality.

Through the climactic smoulder of Aeolus with its jazzy rhythmic enticing and the more agitated lure of Time Dilation, band and album engage and further involve the listener in sonic scenery which is as visually potent on thoughts as it is aurally stimulating. The first is an elegant romance of melodies and those unpredictable rhythms but with more danger lined shadows whilst the second of the two aligns feisty, bordering on volatile mini crescendos with emotively stimulating caresses. It is the darker essences which in many ways spark the emotional side of things for album and listener, ears certainly seduced by the flair and imagination of the guitar but it is the darker drama surfacing around this, especially in bass and drums, which trigger the cinematic stimulus pervading the release.

New Star explodes in a fresh dawn of infectious melodic light next, again the bright air nicely tempered but more so complimented by the throatier tones of bass, before the outstanding Centrifuge turns into an unexpected avenue of discord lined jangles, wiry grooves, and unbridled unpredictability. There is a free flowing essence to the whole of the album, an improv like suggestiveness which at times hints but in this riveting encounter simply engulfs ears and pleasure. Of course it is a planned and again superbly sculpted incitement but worming into the psyche with an organically flowing instinct.

That almost riotous enterprise continues in Perseids, a similarly bewitching encounter with a great grizzle to the bass and expansive textures to its invention whilst Heliograph and the following Astronomer explore more personal and creatively intimate emotions in their individual ways. That is another potent key to the success of Phantasia, though over an hour of in many ways intensive imagination and technical majesty, every song reveals a wholly unique character and presence within the growing and glowing soundscape of the release.

Emotions and thoughts continue to be enthralled as the virulently compelling Ballad Of The Space Time Continuum and the more low key but inescapably enticing On The Wings Of Astral Projection bring their own absorbing aural theatre, whilst ears are especially spellbound by the closing excellence of Everlasting. Rhythmically addictive from its first breath and sonically enchanting throughout, the pure captivation posing as a song brings the album to an intoxicating conclusion.

Whether taking tracks alone or the album as a whole, Heights have created a place to escape to and bask in whilst evading the trials of life and the shadows of the day. There is nothing grand in the intent of the band and their creative thoughts but everything majestic and epic in the results. Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above is a must for all progressive/post rock fans, heck melodic rock fans in general.

Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above is out now via Basick Records @ http://music.basickrecords.com/album/phantasia-on-the-high-processions-of-sun-moon-and-countless-stars-above and all online stores.

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RingMaster 28/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net