The Summoned – Sessions

“Sessions is a concept album about a man who wakes up from a coma and is sent straight into a psychiatric hospital where he begins a series of tests against his will. In the process he meets a doctor who remains with him every step of the way. During these sessions, with the guidance of the doctor, he is transported into the outer reaches of his own mind to confront the insecurities and demons that plague him.”

Resembling the premise behind the new album from ferocious US technical metallers The Summoned is the listening experience of Sessions. The nine track exploration is a kaleidoscope of sound and technical craft which barely gives a moment for a breath within its often infernal tempest taking the listener into the darkest, deepest recesses of their psyche. It is a demanding and intensive journey across story and album but ultimately one seriously rewarding one.

Formed in 2007 and drawing on the inspiration of bands such as Death, Between The Buried And Me, Decapitated, The Faceless, Behemoth, The Dillinger Escape Plan and others, the Boston, Massachusetts hailing quartet pretty soon revealed their own individual character of sound. Since then they have relentlessly pushed theirs and in turn metal’s assumed boundaries to find a strain of uniqueness really having its head in the band’s latest encounter.  After the Harvest EP in their first year, the 2011 released debut album If Only Minds Could Paint Pictures garnered a wealth of critical acclaim, its success supported and followed by the band successfully undertaking a 23-day headline tour spanning the U.S. and Canada as well as being part of 2012 Summer Slaughter Tour with Cannibal Corpse, Between The Buried and Me, The Faceless and more. From the winter of 2013, The Summoned began working on their second album, entering the studio with long-time friend Evan Sammons of Last Chance To Reason to begin the recording process. The next three years were concentrated on the creation of Sessions, time and intensive attention showing all its qualities in a release even more enthralling as well as bolder and more accomplished, technically and emotionally, than its impressive predecessor.

Within seconds, opener The Pendulum Swing has the senses twisted and imagination askew, the guitars of Shaun Murphy and Jarred Sullivan spinning a web of disorientating metal aligned to post punk discordance as bass and drums grumble and impose their psychosis. Vocalist Stephen Thompson supported by the equally rawer tones of Murphy, is a venomous scourge, words and emotions a primal yet composed assault as blurry as precise in their invasively relentless suggestiveness.  The determined, unyielding nagging is a constant across sound and album, every aspect and texture a ruthless persistence in its moment within a just as eagerly evolving unpredictable tapestry.

The track is an absorbing, thrilling start; a rabid introduction but eclipsed in ferocity by the following Faradic. As the rhythms of drummer Sam Hang ravage the senses yet still manage to be an anthemic enticement, guitars dance provocatively and psychotically on the imagination. Flavours and styles proceed to flicker with enthusiastic dexterity and boldness across the song, jazzy and progressive turns colluding with extreme and technical metal tenacity as vocals flow with a toxic essence. As in the first and next up Fractal Patterns, there is a real virulence to everything too; an infectiousness veining every fury and creative twist with the third track a debilitating but equally magnetic carousel of sound and invention. Melodies spawn from ravenous hostility, deranged trespasses from atmospheric caresses; every second a cauldron of intrigue and harsh drama.

Through the possibly even more primal and savage The Grave Mistake and the dark climate of Built of Glass there is no lessening of the resolute examination of senses and imagination; both tracks a flight of startling adventure and striking craft with the first a spiral into disturbing calm from cyclonic agitation, and back again, while the second aligns melancholy and sonic savagery within its dramatic almost cinematic theatre.

Both Vertiginous with its whirling melodies and rotating spine of far more carnal strains and the unbridled ferocity of the equally multi-flavoured Primogenial Birth keep ears and imagination gripped and consumed, the latter at times as primal as it is in other moments elegant and jazzily bewitching. Again neither leave a second free for the body to relax or expectations to try and rear their head, Recollection similarly a storm of sonic transgression and off-kilter progressive enterprise which, as all tracks, really is impossible to truly represent in word and suggestion.

Closing up with the initially melodically charming, hope embraced Satori, the album is simply one uncompromisingly compelling proposition. Shadows soon crowd and invade the listener as the final track hits its creatively hungry stride; pretty much epitomising the whole of Sessions with its capricious yet intensely woven and nurtured web.

Certainly Sessions is an imposing listen to match its presence and hard to take all in over a few let alone a single listen but rewards with every quest taken. Equally at times due to Thompson’s fine but exacting raw delivery lyrically the album shares moments lyrically which remain a mystery in the tale but are potently compensated by the clear emotion of the sounds and his presence; in saying that though a thicker use of the clean touches provided by Murphy within both Fractal Patterns and Built of Glass would make for another intriguing dynamic ahead. Nothing though defuses the potency and pleasure of sharing time with the album, or the calm to contemplate after its outstanding tempest.

Sessions is out now @ http://store.thesummoned.com/album/sessions

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Pete RingMaster 21/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Parallax Method – The Squid

A couple of months or so short of two years after the release of The Owl EP, British instrumental progressive rock trio The Parallax Method release its companion piece, The Squid. Continuing the theme of “space and a perpetual battle between the owl and the squid to convey their unique sub-genre of modern prog” started with the first EP, its successor takes ears on another groove infested, colourfully inventive, and technically captivating shuffle sure to have the body enthralled and twisted as eagerly as the imagination.

Emerging from the ashes of hard rock band Isolysis, The Parallax Method stepped forward in 2014 with old friends in guitarist Danny Beardsley, drummer Dave Wright, and bassist Daniel Hayes. Drawing on the inspiration of bands such as Between The Buried And Me, Tesseract, and Karnivool, they nurtured and bred the compelling tapestry of sound to grace debut EP The Owl in 2015. Its acclaimed release and complex yet easily accessible escapade announced The Parallax Method as an exciting prospect to watch and an adventure to devour. The departure of Hayes post the recording of the EP saw Ben Edis (Spirytus/Breed77) come in and complete a line-up even creatively bolder and mischievous within The Squid.

Let’s Get Kraken gets things underway; its title the first hint to the knavish and spirited escapade within song and EP. From within a busily engaged crowd, a swing guided bassline joins the jazzy flirtation of guitar, beats skipping along with them. It is an inviting collusion soon luring hips and feet into the waiting net of enterprise; every initial attribute and lure soon infested with lustful intensity and creative boisterousness as things get funky with the arrival of Donald Sutherland And His Magnificent Mane. Evolving from its predecessor, grooves captivate as hooks ensnare, all the while Wright’s swings landing with real bite and snap as the track gets down to laying a web of intrigue and beguilingly evolving adventure. There is chunkiness to its body which sparks the appetite as much as its gentler wanderings across the senses, all making for a compelling incitement for body and imagination.

Its final vocal sigh sparks the similarly spirited and energetic shuffle of You Gotta Be Squiddin’ Me’, the track slyly entwining ears with seductive grooves with a whiff of predacious devilment as around them melodic interplay blossoms its own beguiling enticements. Electronic spicing only adds to the tenacious and imaginative touch of song and guitar, Beardsley weaving another rascality of sound through his strings as Edis’ bass prowls with its own coltish instincts and intent. Fuelled by mood swings of enterprise, the track at times heavy and rapacious whilst in other moments crafty and sprightly, it has body and thoughts leaping and inventing respectively.

As too does the creatively athletic and kinetically energetic canter of Owl Pacino Vs Mega Mango; a piece of music which can feel in certain moments like a stand-off between battling textures and attitudes but at other times a heated yet respectful collusion of both sides; though it is the aggressive instincts of each side which drive the outstanding track.

Its funk lined finale flows into the epic melodic epilogue and dynamically entrancing theatre of I Squid You Farewell (Owl Be Seeing You). The final track is a drama of sound and texture; an imagination woven and guided frolic of the rich craft and strikingly inventive versatility of all three musicians as they lead the listener on a fruitful gest as much of their own as the band’s making.

Every listen of The Squid brings escalating joy and adventure as new twists in the imagination flare up as fresh nuances and layers are discovered. The EP is a stunning move on from The Owl yet still works perfectly with its earlier companion; the full glory of The Parallax Method ingenuity and creative fertility best served with both releases played back to back and given full attention of ears and mind.

The Squid is out now digitally and on CD @ http://theparallaxmethod.bigcartel.com/

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Pete RingMaster 16/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

V/ VEGA – Leaving Lyra

V Vega Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Leaving Lyra is like a newly discovered dish which lies on the tongue very nicely on the first mouthful, but it is in the after taste and subsequent eager snacking that its full range of flavours escape to thrill and seduce the taste buds into having another bite, and then another. So it is with the new EP from British progressive metallers V/ VEGA, a release which pleased on the initial listen but continues to reveal new creative spices and textures to simultaneously and increasingly impress at the same time. Elegant and warm, fierce and volatile, the EP’s quartet of songs challenge as they entice and enthral, each a tempest of sound and emotion which only leaves an appetite for more.

Hailing from the eastern county of Bedfordshire, V/ VEGA emerged in 2014 with a sound which we earlier stated as progressive metal but in truth it is a tapestry of styles and flavours across metal and rock. Band inspirations include the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dance Gavin Dance, Karnivool, and Periphery amongst others, they alone a clue to the diversity involved within the sound and now EP from the quartet. Making their live debut in the June of last year, V/ VEGA have hit the live scene with hunger, sharing stages with bands such as Shields, Giants, Canvas, and Create to Inspire whilst earning acclaim and potent reputation for their craft and explosive performances. The well-received release of debut EP Nostalgia, also out mid-2014, whipped up further attention, including that of Crooked Noise Records who now nationally release Leaving Lyra. It is easy to expect bigger spotlights and reactions to follow in the wake of the new EP’s unleashing, an assumption quickly in place after that initial listen and only cemented thereon in.

V Vega Cover Artwork_RingMaster ReviewThe song Lyra starts things off, it’s opening ambience of brewing intrigue sparking the imagination with ears swiftly involved as atmospheric melodies and invitingly agitated rhythms unveil their suggestive prowess. The vocals of Jim Dummer firmly engage and impress just as quickly, his soaring tones backed well by Tom Williams whose guitar enterprise alongside that of Edd Durcan, similarly spins a web of emotive and at times tempestuous persuasion. Outbreaks of heavy and voracious crescendos only add to the drama and lure of the track, raw antagonistic growls emerging from either Dummer or Durcan to drive the ferocity which manages to potently align with and be entangled in the melodic charm colouring the warm landscape of the encounter.

It is a thickly enjoyable opening to Leaving Lyra which continues with Grand Declaration. Straight away the track is badgering ears with the hefty swings of whoever is at the drums and the carnivorous tones of Josh Levy’s bass. Simultaneously melodic flames and clean vocal prowess wrap the twisting grooves and sonic tendrils that vein and spear the keys spun ambience which, as in the opener, adds an ethereal breath and climate around the stormy heart of the song. Even more than its predecessor, the track is a maelstrom of ideas and textures which may need time to reveal its depths but only with increasing rewards for the time offered in return.

Wanderer follows and swiftly flirts with djent seeded technical adventure within another ferocious expulsion of dark metalcore like antagonism. After another mournful yet inflamed breath, the band slips into a melancholy washed calm which subsequently embraces fearsome volatility, an progressive wind, and corrosive malevolence, in time all fusing into one rich confrontation. It is a mouth-watering proposition which again needs time to be explored before announcing itself as the best track, if only by a slither or two such the quality throughout Leaving Lyra.

The EP comes to a fine close with Reaching Eden, a song instantly gripping ears with its opening bait of riffs. Featuring the potent tones of Glass Cloud front man Jerry Roush, the song is a rousing and fierce blustery wind of sound and emotion, but also unafraid to drift into ambience clouded calm spun by technical tempting, flowing harmonies, and emotional reflection. Everything is seamlessly involved; what came before and is to follow fluid with the now within the track, uniting for a constantly contagious and raucous cacophony of vocal and emotive animus driven magnetically by the rhythms. Like Karnivool meets Periphery meets Bring Me The Horizon, with a healthy wash of Between the Buried and Me too, the song is a dynamic and wonderfully testing finale to a continually impressing offering from V/ VEGA.

With the band still barely into its second year, it is easy to think this is only the start of bigger and bolder things for and from V/ VEGA. A smile is breaking out at that thought.

Leaving Lyra is available from October 2nd digitally and on CD via Crooked Noise Records.

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Pete RingMaster 02/10/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Opensight – Ulterior Motives EP

Opensight band picture smaller_RingMaster Review

Described as cinematic metallers, London based Opensight take ears and imagination on a drama laced, mystery fuelled adventure with their new EP Ulterior Motives. A collection of tracks which have thoughts running this way and that like a classic noir lit crime thriller and a weave of sounds which manage to be as intimate as they are expansively suggestive, and at times bordering psychotic, Ulterior Motives is a release which simply has the listener lost to the world within its riveting theatre.

Opensight is the brainchild of Colombian guitarist/vocalist Ivan Amaya, an idea which began in his homeland but realised and evolved further once he moved to the UK. Subsequently the band grew with the addition of guitarist Genia Penksik, drummer Redd Reddington, and bassist Danni Stanner. Originally a more concentrated progressive metal project the band’s sound and imagination has blossomed to embrace a vibrant array of genres and cinematic influences, which going by Ulterior Motives seem to embrace visual inspirations as well as soundtrack seeded ones. Debut album Prosthetic Soul was released in 2008 with the well-received The Voice of Nothing EP following two years later. For many though, us included, Ulterior Motives is the first introduction to Opensight and a meeting long overdue.

OPENSIGHT_Ulterior_Motives_RingMaster Review    The release opens with Alibi and a Nintendo-esque dance of electronic shimmer. It is soon clutched by a web of dramatic rhythms and melodic flaming which in turn spawns a sonic shuffle around the instantly striking tones of Amaya. Barely a handful of seconds in and the song is a creative jungle, hooks and grooves colluding with the darker shadows of bass and the lively attitude of drum beats. Atmospheric colour comes from wistful keys whilst the guitars spin a weave of grooves which understandably seem to incite Bond like references from a great many. We would not go quite that specific in their description but imagine Faith No More crafting the soundtrack to a sixties espionage themed show and you get some idea of the visual potency on the imagination and the intricate yet seemingly simple tapestry of sound seducing ears.

Such the persuasion of the track you are almost crouching in secrecy as you move to its instrumental lure, only stepping into bold clearance as the lyrical narrative returns and leads the song to its ripe end and into the waiting funk kissed arms of The Chase. Whereas the first song also had a feel of artists such as 6:33 and Diablo Swing Orchestra to it, its successor takes a more dramatically intensive turn nearer to a mix of Voyager and Native Construct, with at times a whiff of Between the Buried and Me. There is an adrenaline rush and urgency to the track which matches the hinting of its title, whilst seventies flavoured electronic bubbling only adds mystique and flirtatious intrigue to the whole exploration.

Vanishing Point explores more rugged scenery initially, subsequently settling into a sultry climate and evocative persuasion with crescendos of intensity and emotion. Vocally the song is a bit mixed, Amaya’s slow vocal walk not as powerful and impressive as his lung busting roars or anthemic incitements but it does not defuse the fiery blaze of sound and enterprise rippling through the song. All the same, the thoroughly enjoyable and captivating track does not quite spark ears and thoughts as successfully as the songs around it, especially the outstanding Ulterior Motif right after.

The track is a symphony of aural colour and imagination seducing tempting. A first slow caress blooms into a soundscape of exotic beauty and sinister shadows, a canvas inspiring new adventures with every listen and if any track was evidence of the band’s talent at cinematic songwriting alone it is this glorious flight of craft and suggestion.

The EP is finished by Antagonist, an emotional and physical cliff hanger of a finale driven by creatively imposing rhythms, fascinating sonic invention, and a vocal delivery which is part the story teller part the protagonist in it all. With smouldering beauty and jazzy elegance reminiscent of The Chase earlier, the song drifts and erupts with bewitching craft and ingenuity. Sometimes it feels like a celestial flight into the unknown and the broadest emprise and in other moments a close romance wrapped in personal mystique and earthbound theatre; and at all times slavery for body and mind.

It frustrates that it has taken to now to discover the band but better late than never as we suggest all think about immersing into the dark and enthralling world of Opensight.

The Ulterior Motives EP is available from September 4th

Pete RingMaster 04/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Scaling reasoning: talking Abiotic and Casuistry with John Matos

 

abiotic2_RingMaster Review

   Gripping eras and attention with its first touch, it is fair to say that Casuistry, the new album from progressive death metallers Abiotic, has grown into one fiercely fascinating and increasingly compelling proposition. The Miami quintet’s debut album Symbiosis three years back marked the band out as ones to seriously watch but it only hinted at the evolution and corruptive majesty now enthralling from within its successor. Casuistry had us hooked at go, only tightening its grip over every listen, so with big thanks to guitarist John Matos we had to delve deeper into the album; the less than settled times leading to its birth and the whole creative adventure involved.

Hello John and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It has been a short while since your new album Casuistry was unleashed, a release which has come after an ‘eventful ‘time for the band in personnel changes alone. Has its release come with a flush of relief as well as excitement in some ways?

An album release is always full of excitement and nerves. On this one, we had to overcome some particularly difficult hurdles, but it’s made us stronger than ever before. Stoked to finally be able to show Casuistry to the world!

As a listener it is clear the impact both Brent (Phillips) and Travis (Bartosek) have made on not only the album but your sound too. Where did their contribution to Casuistry begin? Were songs already written before their arrival or were they heavily involved in that area too?

The music for Casuistry was just about done being written and in skeleton form when both Brent and Travis joined. Brent had some great ideas and really brought some power and creativity behind the kit. Travis had complete freedom on both lyrics and phrasing. Really blew us away with how catchy his phrasing was and how comfortable he looked. First time together in the studio and it felt like he’d been with us since the beginning.

How did you meet the pair and what inspired the (right) choice to bring them into the line-up?

We met Brent and at a show in south Florida where his band opened up for us. When that transition period began, he was my first choice in finding someone who’d be up to par with playing these tunes, but also with a lot of potential and drive. Brent was an easy decision for us and finding a good drummer is always hard, so we were very lucky! Travis came highly recommended from a friend in the Bay Area death metal scene in California. He auditioned, along with some others, and we decided his sound, tonality, and phrasing was what the new sound needed.

abiotic cover_RingMaster ReviewI am assuming the album took a fair amount of time to get from writing to release, from the disruptions alone. What is the time period to its creation?

We started working on new songs right before our run with The Faceless in 2013, so it had been a little over two years in the works. The disruptions actually worked out in our favor, because we had more time to make the songs the best they could be. We were able to give each song the time it deserved and I’m really glad it ended up that way.

Where would you say the changes in members have affected the album most, in the positive and the negative where you had to reassess ideas and intentions maybe?

Musically, we’ve always been on the same page as far as what our intentions were. We’d been talking about what we were wanting to do with the next record even during the Symbiosis album cycle. I feel like the member changes brought out even more so what we were trying to accomplish. We were able to explain our goals and find those key parts to the puzzle that wanted to accomplish the same things. The negative aspects were merely in the momentum. Because we were in a transitional period, we took a couple of steps back to make some necessary steps forward.

Our first taste of your sound was with debut album Symbiosis, which blew us away. In hindsight though, as we mentioned in our review it is now for us overshadowed by the maturity and sheer creative strength of Casuistry. Where do you see the differences and the strongest leaps between the two?

Thanks so much for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed Symbiosis. Strongest differences were definitely in the song writing. We really tried to focus on putting what gets fans enjoying Abiotic into catchy songs that aren’t overly technical or sounding forced. We also took the approach of this album being pummelling from beginning to end…No filler tracks or anything half assed. Every song has a focus and a goal on its own and in its place on the record as a whole.

Did you approach the new album, apart from the enforced issues, any differently to its predecessor in writing and in the studio?

We did it very differently than the first one, actually. On this one we were able to record pre-production for all the songs and really get a listeners point of view before going into the studio and finalizing. Our first album was written completely in a warehouse and we just practiced for hours. The new approach gave us a different perspective and allowed us to hone in our sound.

The album was recorded with producer Jamie King, a name which needs no introduction. What inspired the link-up and was there anything specifically you discovered in your sound and ideas through his input which brought something unexpected to the album?

We always had Jamie’s name in the mix when it came to recording. He’s recorded some of our favorite records and has a great relationship with Metal Blade. The opportunity presented itself and I could not be more satisfied with the product. Jamie really killed it! Jamie let us be us in the studio and creatively, kind of dick around. We were extremely prepared going in, so we had time to explore and Jamie created the exact kind of vibe and environment we needed to do that.

Any ideas inspired which you are looking to explore further in the next release?abiotic photo Vince Edwards_RingMaster Review

We definitely want to explore some more progressive elements on the next one. We’re already working on some new stuff and it’s going in a cool direction already!

Two tracks on the album also feature guests in vocalist John Gallagher of Dying Fetus (Cast Into the Depths) and guitarist Paul Waggoner from Between the Buried and Me (Absence of Purity). What sparked their potent contributions to Casuistry?

We toured with Dying Fetus in 2013 and kept in touch. Those dudes are amazing and absolutely legendary. I still jam Fetus every day and having John on was an absolute honor. Jamie actually reached out to Paul for us in regards to the guest solo and I could not be more honored to get to play such an awesome solo live. Paul absolutely rips it on Absence of Purity and we’re very grateful for his contribution as well!

We obviously have our favourite moments on the album, is there any particular song or moment in a track which gives you that extra tingle of satisfaction?

I feel like the ending of Absence of Purity is the embodiment of everything we’ve had to go through as a band. Every obstacle we’ve overcome and all the uphill battles to come. I get that purely from the music and it gets me every time. Even on stage. I hope that other people get that same vibe.

You have blasted the album out live since May; did you expose the whole album to the stage in one go or choose particular tracks?

We’ll choose particular tracks for this one, but we’ll be playing about 5 or so new ones, so nearly half the album. It’s going to be a fun one, for sure!

When writing and creating tracks some bands have the live setting in mind to, how songs will translate to studio and gigs, and others of course worry about that after. How about with you guys?

Though we would not sacrifice creativity for it, we definitely keep the live setting in mind. We’re all fans first and really want to make sure everything translates well in the setting where we have everything to prove. We always want to keep our live show on par with what you hear on record.

What comes next for Abiotic after the tour?

Our goal is to stay as busy as we can during this cycle and see as many faces in as many cities as we can!

Once more thank you for chatting with us, any last thoughts you would like to add?

We can’t thank you all enough for the support and hope to see you at a show soon! Thank you for keeping metal alive!

Read our review of Casuistry @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/abiotic-casuistry/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic

Pic by Justin Reich

Pic by Justin Reich

 

It is tempting to call the Between the Buried and Me music a kaleidoscope of sonic and inventive hues yet that suggests a randomness which certainly does not apply to their persistently compelling and dramatic explorations. In saying that though, there is an organic unpredictability which seemingly evolves on its own so that at times you wonder if the band knows what is to emerge any more than the listener. And so it is with their seventh album Coma Ecliptic, a series of gloriously imaginative plains of roaming sounds and immersive textures which whether a BTBAM fan or not is seriously compelling, that together create an epic emprise of aural fascination which is either creative ingenuity or insanity.

It is easy to see Coma Ecliptic splitting opinions though hard to imagine many dismissing its technically immense, musically explosive, and rivetingly captivating journey out of hand. Equally the reference to it being like a rock opera does it no favours, certainly with those like us instantly cringing at the thought and term, but assumptions should be cast aside as, even though there are indeed moments of indulgences and flamboyant enterprise, the concept album is bred from the same template of musical and lyrical probing that made previous release The Parallax II: Future Sequence so bewitching and thrilling. It is a whole new beast of course bred from the similar seeding which unites all the band’s releases, but BTBAM doing what they do best, tearing up their own rulebook with zeal and tenacity.

Lyrically Coma Ecliptic follows a single protagonist who stuck in a coma travels through his past lives, each track an individual episode set in “a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque” world. In each place he can choose to stay or move on to search for a better place, ultimately being met with the ultimate question life or death. The rest is for you to find out but in true BTBAM fashion, the lyrical side of the album is as involved and time consuming to reap its full rewards as the music. There are a few things to pull Coma Ecliptic up on, if you wish to be over analytical and demanding, but like the best sci-fi/fantasy movie, run with its liberties and proposition rounding flaws, and unbridled pleasure through full-blooded adventure are the rich prize.

Cover_RingMaster Review     Opener Node cups ears in a gentle yet emotive touch of keys, Tommy Rogers’ fingers and voice swiftly stroking ears and imagination even before melodies broaden and their elegance mesmerises. The melancholic air of the song has its own ethereal light and hope, album and band immersing the listener into the realm of album and story with sublime ease, even adding Queen-esque flames of epic tones and sonic grandeur to striking effect. It is a potently enticing start which slips into the theatrical and magnetic embrace of The Coma Machine. Many have compared the album and some of its textures and flavours to bands like Dream Theater yet aside from the unavoidable uniqueness of BTBAM, here and often across the album Australian progressive metallers Voyager nudge thoughts. The track ebbs and flow in energy and rousing intensity as it explores its and the story’s depths, and is just as enthralling as it writhes with majestic imagination, whether in a gentle hug of a croon or roaring with aggression and passion.

Dim Ignition emerges from an electro bubble next, synths a lively and nagging simmer within drummer Blake Richardson’s increasingly intimidating rhythms. The song flows into the immediately darker hued Famine Wolf, portentous and ever gripping bass tempting from Dan Briggs alongside just as shadowed keys, their haunting smothering consuming the senses for the ever spellbinding craft and invention of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring to exploit and shape further. The track’s early predator like union grows from one relatively inviting premise to a volatile incitement, with Rogers vocally entwining his superb clean and just as impacting raw metalcore seeded deliveries to match the sounds. The track is thoroughly absorbing, even making its less than seamless slip into a jazzy, psych rock like twist work perfectly and never relenting in making every minute unique from another.

As outstanding as it is though, King Redeem / Queen Serene steals the show, growing from the departing breath of its predecessor into a tempest of pop, funk, melodic revelry, and ravenous metal ferocity; every aspect fuelled by a contagiousness which simply intensifies with every elevation of aggression and invention. Imagine spilling the essences of Periphery, Society 1, and Cardiacs into the BTBAM mix and you get something close to this exhilarating encounter.

Both the imposing Turn on the Darkness and fascinating The Ectopic Stroll keep the fires of serious enjoyment burning, the first at times bordering on the bestial as its landscape savages as siren like seduction joins in equal creative measure. Its successor explores a dance seeded gait and scenery, piano keys a punchy spark to the tenaciously evolving avant-garde landscape, and both songs, but especially the second, tempestuous weaves of expansive flavours, styles, and bold intent sculpted by musicians openly at the top of their game and imagination.

     Rapid Calm brings a spatial yet melodically and emotionally intimate proposal forward next with mellow vocals, harmonies, and keys the warm serenade to the carnivorous walls and depths soaked in challenging intensity lurking and eventually exploding from deep within. Bewitching hardly does the song justice but that is what it is as it wraps its mesmeric and often rabid charms around ears and thoughts. Coma Ecliptic is undoubtedly an album which challenges and involves both aspects with every second, it shown again with Memory Palace and after that Option Oblivion. The first of the pair is soaked in blues and funk rock resourcefulness, a folkish festivity also getting in on the persuasion as the song traverses through ten minutes of instinctive and virulent creative alchemy whilst the second is like looking into a fire, every flame of sound distinct to another yet perfectly aligned in one senses sizzling incitement.

Coma Ecliptic is completed by the emotionally rousing Life in Velvet, another fusing intimacy with grander winds to fine effect. The intoxicating Jamie King produced album leaves the richest hunger to hear and learn more, which is lucky as like their other encounters, it is a proposition which needs numerous plays to really get into its constantly revolving corners and levels, our words above barely scratching its surface let alone depths to be truthful.

The best album from Between the Buried and Me to date?…Well it has to be seriously considered and argued over but there is no denying this is another major success and thrill from the band which their fans will get lustful over and others will at least offer a thick complimentary smile or nod.

Coma Ecliptic is available now on Metal Blade Records @ http://www.metalblade.com/btbam/

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RingMaster 14/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

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