Isvind – Gud


Formed in 1992, Norwegian black metallers Isvind quickly made a potent impression on the underground scene, forcibly nudging acclaim along the way with their opening releases. It is fair to say though that it is from their return in 2011, that the band has really reaped the rewards for their creatively imposing and inventive sound and releases. New album Gud continues that progression with a mighty and impressive presence equipped with a blistering tempest of sound fuelling atmospherically charged songs. It is a dramatic and ravenous encounter full of surprises and uncompromising textures, and a release to push Isvind towards the strongest spotlight within the black metal scene.

As its potent predecessor Daumyra, the new album comes through Folter Records and features Isvind as a quartet for the first time. Alongside band founders, vocalists/guitarists Arak Draconiiz and Goblin, the Oslo band is completed by bassist Skævvtroll and drummer Slää, though Gud features Antichristian of Tsjuder who replaced Slää after he broke his arm just before the recording of the album. The encounter itself is a cold and harsh landscape of provocative sound and expression, and as mentioned a great unpredictability which turns strong tracks into fearsomely compelling encounters.

Gud instantly ignites the imagination with opener Flommen and indeed the song’s very first touch. Angelic harmonies fill and seduce the air, their beauty mesmeric yet with a tinge of the siren about them which is realised once guitars and rhythms erupt in controlled but fiery style. There is instantly more of a ravenous maverick tone to the bass which quickly catches the ear and gives heavier darker depth to the increasingly sonically descriptive track. Eventually it pulls up, gathers its intent and surges with a torrent of magnetic riffs and hostile rhythms bound in magnetic guitar enterprise. The raw vocal squalls breathe discontent and venom but are superbly tempered by the returning angels across the increasingly rabid of the song. It is a masterful start to the album, a proposal seeded in the cold wastelands of old school black metal yet blowing with fresh creative winds.

Isvind - Gud - Artwork_RingMasterReview   The rich beginning continues with Ordet, grooves and hooks as ready to engage the senses as the barbarous onslaught of riffs and rhythms. It is a contagious mix, bursts of hostility taking seconds of captivating breath throughout as the guitars continue to relentlessly spin their more refined bait across the sonic and emotional ravishment. The track perpetually keeps attention gripped with every pestilential surge which in turn is disrupted by expectation defeating invention, a trait repeated across Gud and indeed following track Himmelen. Its air, as those before it, might suggest uncomfortable and stark landscapes but its uncompromising presence is a full on charge of musical and emotional rabidity, one uncaging brutality rather than ambient suggestiveness and just as riveting.

Dåren leaps in next with an irresistible rock ‘n’ roll swagger and an addictive grooming to its contagious presence, grooves and rhythms a tenacious temptation and violent shuffle respectively never missing a beat in stirring up body and passions of those it simultaneously and venomously violates. The track is outstanding, and only increases its persuasion when sonic and vocal strains of acidity and imagination spill their taunting bait across its insatiable trespass of the senses.

Both Tronen and Boken create their own striking and pleasure inflaming proposals, the first a malevolent fury which veins its caustic ravaging with melodic intrigue and tempting whilst the second is a bellow of raw musical antagonism also eager to share sharp and invention driven exploits. The guitar craft and imagination across both songs is almost bewitching, their ferocity a tasty and bracing abuse but certainly the sonic endeavour that springs often from nowhere, is the richest key to the track’s triumphs, as shown again within Giften. As the previous track, it too is rampant rancor in tone and presence launched from the darkest ruinous intent. The almost nagging unruly persistence which Isvind installs in a majority of their encounters through riffs and rhythms again just bullies and overwhelms welcoming ears here, their submission rewarded with a smug stroll of flirtatious grooves and swaggering beats.

The album is completed by firstly the mercilessly disorientating Hyrden with its bestial rhythms and cosmic ‘hallucinations’ within savagely oppressing sonic scenery, and lastly Spiret. The final song is as cold and unforgiving in sound and atmosphere as it is virulent in grooves and sparkling imagination, a union of extremes providing another mouth-watering peak within Gud.

Though not newcomers by a long way, Isvind probably has not quite breached the frontline of black metal’s attention. That should change once Gud is set free and brings the genre something rather exciting to chew on.

Gud is available from June 26th via Folter Records @—black-metal.html?XTCsid=6nikf1dgnjb2bd4u0e8a90uca1

RingMaster 25/06/2015

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Hagl – Lenket til Livet


There is something bewitching about stark and expressionless landscapes, a chilling seduction which embraces the senses and enthrals the imagination. This also applies to cold and desolate aural terrains, especially those conjured by Norwegian black metallers Hagl on debut album Lenket til Livet. With masterful creative hues throughout, it is a ten track ravenous exploration of uncomfortable emotional and physical terrains, a captivation of ears and thoughts providing an hour of thickly satisfying provocation.

Featuring members of other Norwegian black metal exports in Beastcraft, Endezzma, and Vulture, Hagl’s sound basks in the seeds and original depths of their region’s black metal, infusing it with strains of modern resourcefulness and ideation. As shown by Lenket til Livet, the trio of Malphas (guitars, bass and mellotron), Sorath (vocals), and Gheist (drums) also delve into the darkest pestilential climates and ruthless depths of ruin, decay, and sound, dragging the listener with them. The album is a long term investment of time and attention it is fair to say, but with increasing rewards repaying the demanding effort.

The album opens with Askefast, its initial web of guitar and sonic tempting a cold, ruthless wind alone setting the terms and conditions of the impending crawl through ears and psyche. The raw monotone shaded tones of Sorath equally set the scene for his delivery and also the insidious nature of song and release. As harsh and abrasive as it all is, there is also a magnetic swim of melodic suggestiveness lurking in the ambience of the track, the guitars almost flirting with the imagination until stepping into clarity further into the song to expel fresh evocative expression.

Hagl - Lenket til Livet - Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt is a transfixing start matched by the more rigorous and savage Den Sorte Porten where rhythms and riffs immediately show more aggressive urgency and volatility. A lumbering stalking of the senses emerges eventually though, scythes of guitar and brutal rhythmic stabs lining the incitement before busying themselves again beneath the singularly gaited stroll of the vocals. The song continues to flit between both assaults, smothering all before with its ruinous touch before making way for the predatory and glacial trespass of Ulvehyrde which in turn gives the listener to Fra Kulden Til Flammene to consume. The first of the two reveals a great trail of sonic colouring, grooves which could just as much be bred in the barren realms of post punk as metal, whilst its successor from an enthralling and delicious acoustic serenade of guitar, spreads a melodically toxic tapestry courted by heavier and less dramatic but just as potent bass predation. The track is a gripping affair, the guitar of Malphas absolutely stealing the show but sizeably backed by the individual intimidations and threats of Sorath and Gheist for one of the major moments of the album.

   Helvete Ligger Så I Lende is a little less striking yet the melodic shimmers from the guitar within the relentless encroachment by its bitter and rancorous presence is almost sorcerous in its tempting, whilst Ondskapt brings its own blend of aural savagery and melodic beauty right after. There is a running similarity of sorts in the templates and sculpting of many tracks within Lenket til Livet, as shown again by this pair, but it matters little such the radiant lure and exploits shaping each track’s individual cancers. There is an additional undefined spark to the second of the two allowing it to shine out over others and the fruitless scenery cast by Liksøk right after it, another offering with plenty to entangle ears and appetite in such as the slow rabidity of the vocals and rhythms as well as almost intoxicating melodies.

Sjelefiende almost bounds along compared to the previous songs, its keen stroll an infectious enticement draped in tendrils of sonic suggestion and hate infested vocals, whilst Vardøgn drifts solemnly through its own emotional desolation littered with crystaline temptation. As all tracks there is much more going on within the intrusion, plenty to be discovered over time which ultimately only increases the success and impressiveness of Lenket til Livet too.

Closing with the corrosive weight and ferocity of Endelikt, a track in a constant evolution as bracing as it is inhospitable and as creative as it is overwhelmingly tempestuous, Lenket til Livet is an enthralling and punishingly enjoyable encounter. Though overall it did not ignite ears as to the same consistency as it might and as one of two other recent genre releases every listen brings something new and more persuasive, its stature only growing. Well worth a hearty checking out is the suggestion.

Lenket til Livet is available now via Folter Records @

RingMaster 25/06/2015

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It is time for the Underground Metal Alliance (UMA) compilation of some of the best underground metal bands in Italian, and once again UMA Compilation 2015 awakens ears and attention to a host of highly accomplished and thrilling encounters. With a line-up selected by fans and the UMA jury, which included members of Exilia, Sadist, Nanowar as well as managers of studios and festivals, plus other bands already part of the selected UMA roster, the album is an eclectic treat which is all the more sweeter through its availability as a free download for all.

It kicks off with Milan symphonic folk metallers Atlas Pain and their track Each Uisge, a rampant canter of rolling feisty rhythms and raw folk tenacity. It roars and bristles with magnetic persuasion lifting its potency further when allowing a Celtic influence to flirt with the aggressive heart of the excellent starter. It is a fine opening continued by Avoral, epic metallers from the same city, and the dramatic War Is Not Over. With nagging riffs, enjoyably theatrical vocals, and muscle-bound rhythms, the track is an attention grabbing bellow which even ears not quite enamoured with their seed genre can find plenty of resourceful and imaginative textures to enjoy and be involved in. In any large compilation you will always find some songs not quite fitting personal tastes but from start to finish it is fair to say that the compilation has little difficulty sparking a healthy appetite for the strengths and unique characters of all those involved.

Caelestis and Calico Jack are another example of the diversity across the release, the first a Naples duo creating provocative blends of post/progressive rock and shoegaze which immerse ears in captivating landscapes and the second pirate folk metallers from Milan who stomp over the senses and into the imagination with their busy and fiery adventures. The band’s songs are poles apart yet alongside each other, Ode Al Mare and House Of Jewelry make a highly satisfying union backed by the following punk folk metal of Evendim, their raucous temptation Whiskey On Fire an instinctive whipping up of energy and participation from those taking a swig of its rousing persuasion.

A web of nu and progressive metal cast by Pescara quintet Fake Heroes is next and quickly emerges as another keen favourite. The strong vocals in On The Hill are a mellow lure within skilfully conjured tempestuous sounds which busily twist and entice around them. Featuring Giacomo Castellano, the song is a compelling embrace of emotive and technical tempting, almost volatile at times though it is soon clear that GorganerA have that area cornered with their malevolent fusion of death and black metal. As shown by Veleno, The band embraces familiar inspirations yet though only one song, as it stalks and barbarously seduces ears there is an open variety of flavours and ideation ensuring the track stands out.

Away From My Fears from Edolo trio Hell’s Guardian is one of the songs which on first listen seem to lack the spark of others but with persistent listens begins revealing its eventful and increasingly enjoyable attributes, the vocals especially growing in stature and raw charm. It is a slow burn of persuasion, just like the following Falling Snow from avant-garde metallers Ideogram, but an increasingly impressing one. The latter’s offering from its first breath casts elegant melodies and evocative sounds in a masterful invitation, the track subsequently growing into an unpredictable and again persuasive offering as operatic and guttural growls bring their striking mix to an unrelenting maelstrom of musical enticement.

Como quartet Ignotum offer a slice of their enjoyable debut album Larvas Mortal God next, the atmospherically fiery and raucously trespassing Hecatomb Memories an intrusive and compelling insurgence of the band’s black/death enterprise. Its mighty incitement is matched by Kanseil and the excellent roar and devilment of their track Panevin, a song which leaps upon ears from its first breath inciting pleasure physical and emotional enjoyment from thereon in with its anthemic and melodic folk metal revelry.

Novara avant-garde metallers Locus Animæ is another band taking longer to get into, their startling sounds and minimalistic ambiences a pleasingly testing adventure with constant rewards ensuring their song, which also carries the band name, grows to be another welcome proposal over time. Similarly Insane Asylum from heavy rockers Mary Brain is a y less immediate tempting compared to other tracks but soon turns into a raucous highlight with its jagged riffs and predacious personality.

For personal appetite and ears, the album hits the sweet spot over the next handful of songs, starting with the excellent Mechanical God Creation and their slab of technical death metal brilliance, Shadow’s Falling. The song is a brutal beast of intensity and craft, a track making you stand up and pay attention with consummate ease. To be fair every song on the album does do that, though maybe few as commandingly as Milan quintet’s offering. It is followed by Lady Loneliness from Misteyes, the song a bewitching serenade of gothic metal led by a beauty clad caress of female vocals and keys. It gets darker and nastier over time but never loses its elegance and grace.

The outstanding rapper/masked guitarist Red Sky is next, his percussively lively and rhythmically compelling track I 7 Vizi Capitali, an undiluted temptation. The track is a quickstep of animated ideas and atmospheric shadows, a riveting jungle of stirring textures and shamanic tones kissed by the pipe seduction offered by guests Kanseil. Its enslaving persuasion makes way for Scum and their ferocious assault on the senses, Becoming Heavier. Thrash bred, punk infested, and woven with a host of metal essences, the song is a delicious and bracing onslaught, rich in craft and unbridled in fury, and quite thrilling.

Gallipoli heavy metallers Serial Vice provide a heftily flavoursome roar next with You Are Heroin, the song another inescapable anthem bellowing from within the album, whilst the blackened death metal fuelled Il Culto Della Pietra reveals its creators Veratrum to be a gripping and quickly intriguing prospect from Bergamo. Both songs are ripe with enterprise and craft, the latter of the two a broad expanse of textures within a mix of blistering hostility and alluring melodies.

The collection is brought to a close by a trio of tremendous creative outbursts, starting with Roma heavy metallers Whisperz and the rabid tempest of metal bait called Malicious Intent. Taken from their self-titled album, the track is a rugged and flirtatious lure of old school and modern metal, a rousing of attention and energy which the following Winterage takes on its own bold journey with The Harmonic Passage, a symphonic power metal recruitment of body and emotions, and yet another inescapable anthem bursting out. If there is still anyone yet to find their feet listening to the release, there is no chance of remaining uninvolved as Wolfang brings it all to a storming end with their fiery riot of Wild Forest. It is symphonic folk metal let loose to ravish air and ears with unbridled passion and energy.

It is a fine end to an invigorating and exciting release. Italian metal is blooming right now and the UMA Compilation provides all the evidence whilst shaping up to be one of the best collections of artists to thrill ears in recent times.

You can get your copy of UMA COMPILATION 2015 as a free download HERE.
RingMaster 24/06/2015

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Groteskh – Code:End

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Not startling but certainly striking and a captivating torrent of imaginative and enticing ideation, Code:End is a rich and creative persuasion which ensures its creators close attention within the black metal scene. The second album from Austrian metallers Groteskh is an intimidatingly immersive and malevolently seductive offering, one of persistently intensive craft and enjoyment but with a dramatic and inventive adventure pushing band and release well away from the crowd. Released via Austrian label Cursed Records, the album is a wake-up call to a broader audience and attention with Groteskh proving themselves as a potent emerging force.

Coming out of Sankt Veit an der Glan, a small town within the Austrian state of Carinthia, Groteskh was formed by vocalist/guitarist Malthus Holytoxicomaniac (ex-Hellsaw) and guitarist Goreman (ex-Obscure) in 2010. Within the band’s first year the line-up was joined by bassist Necrosodomizer (Vomition) and in 2012 drummer T. Martyr (Irdorath). The following year the recording and release of debut album Unconsciousness drew well-received responses and acclaimed interest, its success followed by the addition of guitarist Isiul (ex-Hellsaw) and an European tour with Demonical, as well as numerous show and festival appearances. It is fair to say the band’s stature and recognition has grown which every passing year, 2014 being an eventful one for Groteskh with Necrosodomizer leaving the band to be replaced by Mike Hell (Sakrileg /Disastrous Murmur) before the recording of their sophomore full-length. Now unleashed and increasingly impressing with every listen, expectations are that Code:End will take spotlights and awareness to new demanding levels whilst musically the album suggests the quintet has the presence to be a potent name within black metal.

CD_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     The sonically irritated and intriguing lure of Mystery Orbs is the first rapacious persuasion to the album, the opener an increasingly volatile maelstrom of riffs and melodic toxicity governed by the intimidating vocal scowls of Malthus. Equally though, there is a composure within the song which allows moments of tantalising beauty and calm to entangle with the ravenous black hearted hostility and erosive intensity. It is a seriously magnetic start to the album, guitars like rancor soaked troubadours in the design of the song and rhythms a barbarous framing to an impending apocalypse.

Delusions Of Immortality follows and quickly reveals itself a unique character to its predecessor, clean prowling vocals matched in tone and intent by spicy grooves and menacing rhythms. As in the first song though, unpredictability is prominent bait and exploited by the open craft and imagination of band members and the song’s own dark almost psychotic intent. Tagged as black metal, and rightly so, there is also as shown by the opening pair of songs, a wealth of additional flavours to the Groteskh sound, a progressive/doom exploration creeping across this track alone.

Next the imposing climate and ferocity of Displaced Axis transfixes ears and thoughts, its initial clearer air soon a muggy tempest of intensity and uncompromising emotion but still open to scythes of sonic magnetism and warped melodic enterprise. It keeps the impressive start to the album on a lofty plateau, pushing it higher with its ferociously invigorating second half before a calm of sorts comes with Posthuman. Expected turbulence is never far from the surface of the song though, throughout creating fierce whirlpools of rabid discontent which further ignites the relentless technical and provocative landscape sculpted and twisted across the absorbing encounter.

Both Doomdevil and Nothing Exists entwine ears in their own involved and insidious trespasses, the first a senses winding seducing of rock ‘n’ roll grooves bound in blackened voracity and its successor a proposition which is part savage beast, part infectious revelry, and all irresistible enthralment. As with all tracks, every listen reveals new nuances and dark resourceful corners, increasing persuasion and enjoyment a welcome result but fair to say the second of these two is an instantly inescapable thrill; much as the bestial might of Oblivion Of Being straight after. At times there is a similarity between tracks but again with continual focus an unveiling of individual creativity helps every song develops its own distinct character, this song a prime and fascinating example.

The album’s title track lays down another peak to the album with its almost revengeful ambience and prowl of sound whilst Illumination, from a deliciously grizzly bass opening courted by solidly jabbing beats, expands into a cancerous and venomously addictive incitement on body and imagination. Both songs come equipped with toxic grooves and contagious hooks within waves of creative and emotional enmity.

Moral Pessimism is the same, a tsunami of bad blood and ill-willed grudges skilfully crafted and delivered, if without the same spark of certainly the previous pair of tracks. Nevertheless it has the listener ensnared before the powerful beauty of Abandoned Mines closes things out with its melodic romance bred from superb guitar craft and expression. The instrumental is bewitching, a tantalising epilogue and temper to the creative malignancy before, and further evidence of the depths of Groteskh’s invention and imagination.

Code:End is maybe not the release to thrust Groteskh to the forefront of black metal, though it has the potential, but it is a notable and highly pleasing marker in the band’s continuing ascent to that destination. Both are proposals genre fans should definitely be checking out.

Code:End is out now via Cursed Records digitally and on CD @

RingMaster 14/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Serpent Seed – Debris of Faith


There is little we can tell you about Polish metallers Serpent Seed, their background information as sparse as their sound is imposingly flavoursome, but one thing about the band easy to reveal is that their debut album is one potent and potential fuelled proposal. Consisting of seven attention feeding and appetite raising tracks, Debris of Faith provides instant evidence that Serpent Seed, though not yet a startling proposition, is certainly a fresh and fiercely enjoyable new protagonist in the extreme metal landscape.

Serpent Seed hails from Łask, forming in 2012 with the current quartet of guitarist/vocalist Aryman, guitarist Jatssa, bassist Jakub, and drummer Wojtass bringing experiences from playing in bands such as War, Lugburz, Iugulatus, and Slain to the project. Honing a sound merging death and black metal at its core, the band recorded their debut release last year, Debris Of Faith emerging via The End of Time Records. It is a challenging and compelling incitement on ears and imagination, an intriguing encounter which without tearing up the creative neighbourhood provides new and accomplished scenery.

The album opens with Demon’s Blade, guitars instantly casting a web of predatory riffs and enticing melodic intrigue as rhythms hungrily descend with their own infectious potency upon the senses. Its climate is dark and ravenous, nature inhospitable, but even with the menacing blackened tones of the vocals, there is a gripping and catchy lure fuelling the tempest. Just as swiftly evident as the consuming heart of the song, is the individual skills of its members and songwriting which takes every opportunity to twist expectations and keenly venture into new corners and depths within the band’s sound.

The strong start is eclipsed by the following stalking of ears and emotions by I Spit on Your Cross. The heavy oppressive maelstrom opening the song soon expels an irresistible groove which, as the song itself, continues to evolve and take on new guises without losing its potent temptation. It is also the spark to a matching invention from guitars and rhythms around it, a sonic tapestry seducing the barbarous and addictive landscape shaped by the grouchy bass and the rapier like barracking of the drums. Quick slavery of attention and appetite, the outstanding song makes way for the even more hellacious and uncompromising Mother Night. The song stalks the listener with its first and every subsequent breath, holding that intimidating restraint even through its intensive expulsions of sound and ire. As fascinating as it is invasive, the track is an apocalyptic suggestiveness for thoughts and a battlefield for the senses.

Both Płonie Stos and Unholy Trinity continue the tight hold of ears and satisfaction, the first the most dangerous predator on the album with its demonic sonic tones insidious and cavernous ambience debilitating. Despite that as further melodic craft and enterprise fiercely flames upon the rabid canvas of the encounter, there is a virulent persuasion and inviting air to the song leading, or misleading, emotions into feasting on the rancorous heart of the incitement. Its successor is similarly sculpted but soon uncaging its own distinct animus of sound and emotion, if without quite having the same extensive temptation as its predecessors. Nevertheless the song grows and blossoms as it persists with its creative ravaging, leaving only thick enjoyment in its wake before the thrilling song Serpent Seed, spreads its sonic and inventive malignancy through ears to devour the senses. There is at times a similarity in certain aspects and tones to songs within the album, noticeable again here, but everything is soon woven into new tapestries and violations which ensure diversity and the imaginative playing of the band are the lingering enticement.

One major moment makes way for another with closing track Bloody Vengeance, a song which prowls and erodes emotions with every one of its malevolent creative seconds. Though not as easily accessible as other songs, it is an engrossing provocation forging the sonic endeavour of the guitars to the unpredictable and gripping bait of the rhythms. With raw and caustic vocals driving the narrative deep into thoughts, the song is a powerful end to a thoroughly pleasing encounter.

For an introduction Debris of Faith is a concrete and promise soaked base for Serpent Seed to move on from, so expect to hear their name on a more regular and acclaimed footing over coming years.

Debris of Faith is out now via The End Of Time Records

RingMaster 14/06/2015

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Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

Pic Ester Segarra

Pic Ester Segarra

Whether a fan or not, there is no escaping or denying the impact Paradise Lost have had on the doom/gothic and indeed metal scene in general since emerging back in the late eighties. They have also shown and revelled in the seduction of melancholy and beauty of pain through propositions which emotionally and sonically have ravaged senses and devoured the rawest corners of themselves and listeners alike. The UK band has been one of the most pungent forces in dark metal across their thirteen studio albums and as an explosive live incitement; an unrelenting inspiration continuing to ignite ears and spark imaginations with no sign of diminishing as evidenced by new album The Plague Within. Where the album sits in the landscape of the band’s inventive history we will leave for others to discuss, but fair to say that Paradise Lost have unleashed one of their and metal’s most emotionally and physically dark, musically voracious and compelling recent proposals with their fourteenth protagonist.

The album is an evolving predator and seductress from start to finish with songs that provide the fiercest intimidation and warmest enticement within their own investigations of sound and human condition inspired turmoil. It is also startlingly diverse and unpredictable, not to say previous albums lacked such qualities but virtually every twist and narrative within The Plague Within throws a curve ball to certainly expectations and assumptions of the Paradise Lost sound.

It starts straight away with opener No Hope In Sight, its cloud of shadows enriched by immediately spicy guitar enterprise from lead guitarist Greg Mackintosh. Vocal scowls from Nick Holmes infuse the air soon after as the song eventually settles into its melancholic and predatory stroll, the thick rhythms of drummer Adrian Erlandsson and throaty lures cast by bassist Steve Edmondson aligning with the steady tempting of rhythm guitarist Aaron Aedy and Mackintosh. A Type O Negative croon emerges as the always impressive clean delivery of Holmes entices over the jagged riffery nagging ears, though subsequently the early tempestuous air returns to immerse the enthralling nature and persuasion of warmer hues.

Press_Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review    The riveting start leads to the far more caustic and ravenous presence of Terminal. There is a militant feel to the rhythms right away, their heavy swipes belligerent against the rasping vocals and sonically acrid air around them, whilst the guitars have a corrosive edge to their riffs and melodic entwining of ears. It is a solid and tightly gripping encounter, a blackened examination of emotions but does miss the spark of the first track and the following An Eternity Of Lies. The third song opens with keys and an instantly captivating orchestral caress, with a guitar quickly joining the tempting with its own melodic hues. Keys continue to brew and expel a gothic hug on the imagination as the song blossoms, an aural portrait invigorated by the drama of guitars and the diverse delivery of Holmes. It is a bewitching encounter, a melodic fascination infusing a heavier rapacious tempting across its rich and volatile dark dance, and quite irresistible.

Already the potent diversity of songs and album is apparent and highly persuasive, continuing in the contagion that is Punishment Through Time. The song is a thick and ferocious rocker of a track, but controlled in its assault and dirty in its rock ‘n’ roll. Fair to say it was a track not expected, the song almost welcoming even with its lyrical despair and predacious character, and almost arguing with the earlier claim that The Plague Within is one the band’s most intensive and darkly suffocating offerings yet. There is a black heart to it though that is emulated and shown in its fullest rancor in Beneath Broken Earth. The track prowls with emotionally leaden jaws and an oppressive animus of tone and intent led by the bitter guttural growls of Holmes. A tsunami of slow hate and erosive doom ferocity, the song almost draws a death rattle from the senses with its weight and enmity.

Both Sacrifice The Flame and Victim Of The Past enthral with individual uniqueness, the first a hymn of melodic and vocal beauty within a funereally paced and cancerous stalking of the senses whilst its successor with a similarly sedated energy, certainly initially, blossoms from a mellow seducing of vocal and melodic charm into a creative and emotional turbulence. With a storm bred atmosphere, the song ebbs and flows between the two climates as it reveals and explores its morose yet enticing landscape; again Paradise Lost crafting a sublime collusion of extreme and contrasting textures in one inescapable seducing.

The epic like heralding of Flesh From Bone at its start is one irresistible essence backed up swiftly by a saunter through blackened and cavernous symphonic terrain before exploding in a venomous spewing of rabid rhythms, scarring riffs, and voracity soaked vocal animosity. Fearsomely enchanting in its full hostility, the song makes way for another imposing slab of rock ‘n’ roll posing as Cry Out where blues rock grooves and acidic ingenuity infiltrates inventive bad blood. It is another, as so many encounters within The Plague Within, which has a host of turns and detours of sound that there are almost songs within songs. The blackest, ravenous anthem is soon a passing memory in that precise moment in time though as the colossal Return To The Sun brings the album to a mighty and climatic close. As brutal as it is melodically immersive, the track is an intensive exclamation mark to The Plague Within, a final creative swipe to emphasise what is one masterful and threateningly majestic proposal.

Fourteen albums in and into their third decade, we can safely say that Paradise Lost still provides one of the benchmarks for aspiring metal bands to contemplate, the proof is all there in The Plague Within.

The Plague Within is available now via

RingMaster 05/06/2015

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Nekrogoblikon – Heavy Meta



For all those acquainted with and new to Nekrogoblikon and their self-tagged “goblin metal” sound, time to embrace one of the most enjoyable and impressive metal albums of the year so far. You might initially snigger at the band’s goblin themed presence and invention, and you will giggle with the band’s lyrical rascality and self-referential mischief, but ultimately you will come away from one exhaustingly inventive and exhilarating new album basking in metal at its stirring best; you might also just want to be a goblin yourself.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Nekrogoblikon formed in 2006 releasing debut album Goblin Island the following year. At this point the band was just the founding duo of Nicholas Von Doom and Tim Lyakhovetskiy. The line-up subsequently expanded as their sound began evolving as shown by second full-length Stench in 2011; becoming even more openly diverse and exploratory in third album Power two years later. The raw black and death seeded sounds which primarily fuelled their first release, were soon part of a maelstrom of rabid flavours and styles from electronic to folk, symphonic to experimental metal, all colluding to seduce ears and imaginations. The evolution has continued and is now in full blaze with Heavy Meta, the band’s new savaging of the senses. It is a fascinating and irresistible tempest; simply a devouring proposition of flirtatious menace and bewitching voracity.

From opener The End of Infinity, band and album has attention gripped and appetite licking its greedy lips. The song’s initial stride through ears has an electro air to its contagious swing and as it expels further ingenuity and imagination, thoughts of bands like 6:33 and Destrage give a nudge. Keys and hooks only add to the virulent web being cast, the great weaselly vocals of Scorpion almost dancing on the strands of their tempting. A brilliant start only explodes into a greater escapade as guitars cast a melodic weave with tangy hooks and grooves whilst rhythms stalk that enticing with lustful intent. The devilish nature of melodies and enterprise has an additional feel of French band Pryapisme to it, and quite simply everything combined creates aural addiction, an intimidating and fanatically unpredictable shuffle impossible for feet, neck muscles, and the imagination to resist.

Nekrogoblikon-HeavyMeta-AlbumArt_Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewThe passions are ignited just as potently too, finding further lust as the following We’ve Had Enough with its opening saunter of evocative keys swings in with drama and rampant devilment. Riffs and grooves are soon driving infectiously through ears, vocals spilling the narrative with salacious intent as clean harmonies court ears in the background. The diversity of emerging sound is matched by the great variety of vocals, every second and twist of the song as unpredictable as they are a fluid persuasion. Like a temptress ruffling the love sacks whilst stealing the gold, the track is a salacious temptation leaving ears and emotions on a high ready for the quick step and tenacious revelry of Bring Us More. Jazzy keys, pop bred harmonies, and funk kissed energy are all sucked into the fiery climate of the song’s rabid creativity, once more the likes of 6:33 coming to mind alongside hints of Trepalium and Mr Bungle whilst devouring the unique goblin sound.

Snax & Violence is a more predatory proposal, its blackened heart and melodic death metal voracity a ravishing of the senses. The song though is unafraid to infuse guitar and keys bred beauty into its climatic tempest, adding folkish hues to its grooving simultaneously. It is an enthralling stalking of ears soon outshone by the outstanding Atlantis. The band’s latest single exposes its rhythmic muscle and tenacity straight away, lacing it with scythes of sonic bait as vocal squalls and synth spawned teasing bring their individual persuasions to the rebellious landscape of the song. Like a death infused version of Hardcore Anal Hydrogen, the track is a puppeteer to body and soul, pulling the strings of pleasure before making way for the equally thrilling We Need A Gimmick. Think of a style of music and it is most likely infused into the bedlamic but flowing emprise of a song with something for everyone within and outside metal.

Full Body Xplosion is as grouchy as a ravenous bear and as rhythmically skittish as a dog in heat. Riffs and vocals are similarly fuelled across the volatile storm of invention whilst hooks and grooves offer magnetic toxicity and the keys intrusive seduction. The growl of the bass we will leave for your discovery and nightmares as another pinnacle in the lofty plateau of the album moves over for the raucous anthem that is Let’s Get Fucked. Featuring Andrew WK, it is as riotous as you might suspect and more merciful than you might imagine, with its guest the welcome and Scorpion the venom. Without rivalling its predecessors, the track still has the real world a distant memory in its company and energies ready to take on the caustic and sultry saunter of Mood Swings. Musically the track lives up to its title, each twist bringing a fierce fondling or flirty soliciting of the imagination, everything fully agitated and hungrily unpredictable.

The song Nekrogoblikon brings Heavy Meta to a glorious end; its cantankerous stomp an alchemy of relentlessly catchy rock pop exploits aligned to ferocious hostility. It is a torrent of vivacious turmoil and creative diablerie, just as the album itself. Heavy Meta is easily one of our favourite offerings this year so far and a major incitement for the metal scene, demanding and deserving the fullest attention in return. Now where do you get goblin masks…

Heavy Meta is available via Mystery Box now on CD and vinyl @ and digitally @

RingMaster 03/06/2013

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