M-Pire Of Evil – Crucified


    Crucified is a mixed bag of tracks which combine to make a pleasing and satisfying encounter that without lighting any hunger driven fires in the passions certainly brings a smile to the face. Unleashed by UK metallers M-Pire Of Evil, the band formed by former members of the legendary Venom, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals & bass), the album thrusts eleven heavy metal/thrash powered aggression fuelled tracks through the ear, their offerings made up of new material and revisited tracks from the five year period the duo played together in the black metal masters. It is an album which works much better than just a simple best of… album or one simply copying of past glories, but when the best material on the release is arguably the new songs there is a sense that it missed the opportunity to make a mark like its predecessor the acclaimed Hell To The Holy.

With drummer Marc “JXN” Jackson carving up the ear with his intensive rhythms alongside the founding pair, M-Pire Of Evil turn M-Pire Of Evil - Crucified - Coveron a furnace of insatiable riffs and heavy handed rhythms wrapped in a sonic enterprise which twists its skilled creativity around the assault. Opening track of the Mausoleum Records released album, Temples of Ice, originally from the album of the same name, swaggers in with an expressive groove  wrapping plundering of rhythms and a predatory atmosphere. Once Dolan unleashes his scowling tones upon the song the track surges with a thrash crafted hunger through to the senses, its switching gait as infectious as the melodic flames searing the ear from the guitars. It is a strong and enjoyable track which like all the subsequent re-inventions makes a valid declaration for their intent and presence.

The following Parasite, one of three visits to Prime Evil of 1989, is an excellent confrontation, a destructive spiteful fury which brings a Motorhead like rapaciousness for an unbridled treat but whether you can say it improves or does enough with the original is debatable, though such its strength it is hard to mind this slight failing. As the likes of The Waste Lands bred Kissing the Beast, the rabid Carnivorous with its corrosive riffing and delicious groove, and the excellent Black Legions bleeds its intensive destruction over the senses the album gets better and better even if still yet to truly spark any passion or find a true cutting edge to its spiteful snarl.

Both Need to Kill and Wolverine chew with accomplished craft and expected power though still the feeling of a lost opportunity shows its head across what it has to be said is enjoyable savagery. It is with the appearance of the three originals that intrigue is truly piqued and fed, starting with the title track, a song which prowls and courts the ear with less intensity but more expressive passion and inventive imagination. It is an enthralling song with the guitar captivation more about adventure than aggression and the melodic wash of sonic persuasion an impressive ally.

The closing pair of Demone and Taking It All grip attention with a stronger lure than in the earlier part of the album, the first with a punk infused thrash tempest which charges up the emotions with anthemic toxicity and the second with an air of exploration to its breath. The track is the best on the album, a ferocious consumption of ravaging riffs and belligerent rhythms ridden by the mutually voracious vocals. It is a fine climax which in many ways accentuates the feeling of a missed chance by the band to create something more memorable than it is.

Despite that Crucified is a an album which leaves only enjoyment in its wake whilst bringing a heavy metal energy to tracks which already have a place in history through their original creators. It is a strong interlude in what can be hoped is more original adventure from M-Pire Of Evil ahead.



RingMaster 17/05/2013

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Hessian – Manégarmr


Exhausting, senses numbing, and simply plain vicious, Manégarmr the debut album from Belgian band Hessian is as toxic as it is scintillating though a tempest which has to be endured and enjoyed numerous times to feel its full wealth of rewards and riches, admittedly by that time though the ears are wasted sludge on the floor and mental capacity reduced to that of molten tar.

Consisting of guitarist Levy Seynaeve (of Amenra), drummer Tim Bryon (of The Black Heart Rebellion), vocalist Bram Coussement, and bass player Kenneth Vanhoutte, Hessian came together three years ago, their different musical backgrounds and inspirations joining for an immediate understanding, an instinctive conspiracy which roars from within their raging music and album. A well-received debut EP set things in motion soon followed by a split 7″ with Amenra, a split LP with Pale Creation on Magic Bullet Records, as well as numerous shows throughout Europe. Their recent signing with Southern Lord has laid down the perfect base for the release of Manégarmr into the world though whether it is ready for it is debatable.

The band bring the most destructive essences of sludge and black metal into a merger with just as predatory intent of punk and crust, the result a carnivorous abrasion which scores flesh and leave synapses a dysfunctional wasteland. Opener Ascension sends a sonic banshee squeal through the ear before thrusting a furious onslaught of blackened riffing and energy right after it. It is a mere appetiser though as the full force and hunger of the track explodes in a hardcore brawl fuelled attack with bass and drums chewing everything in sight in rapacious urgency and the guitars searing anything left, whilst the vocals of Coussement treats the senses to sand blaster bred violence.

It is a murderous start easily matched and at times outbid by the following likes of the scintillating venomously grooved Serpent’s Whisper with a cascade of fervid malevolence accompanying every skilled and malevolently crafted note, the savage Plague Monger, and Father Of Greed. The second of these rips a big hole in emotions with an annihilatory scythe of riffs and a down pour of rhythmic brutality before cauterising the wounds with a sonic greed and melodic acid for a painful but delicious confrontation, while the latter of the trio throws its full weight against the senses with lumbering oppressive doom cored intensity.

Allowing a little respite through the acerbic and melodically distressed instrumental Vamacara, band and album regain any lost submission through the ferocious Swallowing Nails, its fire of sonic animosity leaving a hazy aftermath of burnt consciousness and simpering compliance, and the equally vindictive Hollow Eyes, a ravenous war on the senses whose every note is a rabid predator obliterating any notion of escape or hope.

Completed by the title track and Mother Of Light, it is hard to say enjoyment played a major part in the experience such the pungent havoc unleashed but there is only a massive selfish hunger to return to its nasty arms left after the final duo of songs leave their branding. Both tracks epitomise the release and band, grievous, sonically severe, and the deliverers of undefined but intense invention, even if you have to fight through the corpses of lost brain cells and demolished senses to find the treasure.

Manégarmr is an excellent release deserving of all the acclaim it will receive. One more final warning, do not try to listen to anything else for a least a day after facing Hessian eye to ear, the ringing does stop…eventually.



RingMaster 13/05/2013


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Sidious – Ascension to the Throne ov Self


Consisting of four bestial violations of the senses shaped with purposeful and creative craft leading to total enthrallment, Ascension to the Throne ov Self is a striking and wholly satisfying debut from UK band Sidious. Consisting of members of Eye Of Solitude, the London based band has risen from the demise of Seed Of Detest to emerge as one of the more inventive and captivating confrontations of blackened death metal and this, their first release one scintillating and bruising slab of impressive ravaging.

Consisting of vocalist Tom “Void” Allen, guitarists Steffan Gough and Mark Antoniades, bassist Chris Davies, and Fahim Ahmed on drums, Sidious use its member’s experience to strong effect, their fusion of extreme metals from symphonic to black, death to deathcore an accomplished and inventive ferocity upon the ear and senses. Released via Kaotoxin Records and produced by Russ Russell (Dimmu Borgir, Lock Up, Napalm Death), Ascension to the Throne ov Self is a furnace which leaves exhaustion and pleasure in its tidal strong wake and instantly marks the band with a formidable introduction.

From a brewing ambience with an air of epic like proportions opener Insurmountable emerges upon a symphonic call heralding 760137002222_TOX022_Sidious_Artwork_600x600-300an impending sense of grandeur, that epic voice growing louder by the second. Bone shuddering rhythms next step forward alongside intensive riffs and beckoning shielded vocals to open up the sinews of the track, their spreading arms bringing savage riffing and the caustic squalling venom of vocalist Allen forward to accost and sear the ear. Throughout the malevolence the keys strike a balance with their beauty, a warm seductive temper to the raptorial hunger crawling all over the rest of the sounds which across the shuffling gait and evolving premise of the song  continually makes the warmest persuasion to contrast but stand akin of the corrosive elements bred elsewhere.

     Sentient Race takes over where the destructive climax of its predecessor left off, riffs and drums colliding with the ear whilst the bass prowls and lurches over the wounds with the grinning rabidity of a ravenous beast. A torrent of intense unbridled energy and spiteful aggression careers over the senses with only the keys offering any form of respite from the imaginative and impassioned annihilation. The symphonic call of the song is never far from a sirenesque temptation but hardly gets a clean shot at the passions, rapture being seized by the tempestuous fury at work and then elevated by the expressive keys.

The opening beguiling atmosphere of next up Nihilistic Regeneration unveils a vision full of emotion and brewing elegance even with the venomous erosive vocals and intimidating rhythms beginning their fiery build. The visual narrative cannot hold back the heavy shadows for long though as the band explodes into another inferno of inventive maliciousness and imaginative sonic sculpting disguised as violence. It is an enthralling track, the continual twist of attack and the reflective melodic keys designed embrace a beguiling lure of ingenuity veining and pushing the vociferous oppressive intensity further into the soul and heart.

As the title track casts out its own individual creative decimation, fragmented air turned into sonic shards of blistering and far reaching animosity whilst the keys and melodies dance upon the wounds within the turbulent maelstrom of black hearted excellence, it is fair to say Ascension to the Throne ov Self secures any lingering doubts and turning them into the final seal of ignited passion for its insidious and engrossing might. As beautiful as it is nasty, and as emotive as it is ruinous, the release instantly places Sidious to the fore of extreme metal and raises expectations and anticipation for their next release to testing levels for the band, though one doubts they will do anything less but exceed them as they look destined to be one of the bands shaping the next era of UK metal.



RingMaster 08/05/2013

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Haiduk – Spellbook


Bringing death, black, and thrash metal into an exhausting and thrilling tempest of imagination and corrosive enterprise, Spellbook the debut album from Canadian band Haiduk, is a startlingly impressive introduction to an artist who you can only imagine going on to make a deep rooted mark on extreme dark hearted metal. The ten track album is a fascinating and invigorating often quite merciless intrusion, a stunningly crafted carnal encounter which devours and rewards with equal potency.

Haiduk is the solo project of Calgary based Luka Milojica, a musician investigating and creating a pure undiluted musician union between shadow driven musical ideas and the listener for a unique and solitary provocation free from outside influences. The first strike from the project came with the raw and ravenous 8-song demo Plagueswept in 2010. Missed by most it was a potent and intriguing statement which Spellbook reaps for an intensive and magnificent evolution. With tracks considering themes of magic, evil, nature, and myth, the album explores the listener and their thoughts as well as emotions, as eagerly as it does its own intent and enthralling journey.

The self-released album opens on the insatiable rampage of Lich, the track a torrent of ravenous riffs and urgent rhythms which haiduk_spellbook-300x300escapes through melodic flumes of sonic beauty and carefully crafted inviting malevolence. It is an unbridled flight of intensive energy with imaginative guitar persuasion playing at will upon the irresistible onslaught. Immediately the track lays a deep rooted lure within the listener which seduces and increases all album long, and is an open declaration of the skill and invention of Milojica.

The following Stormcall and Black Wind both offer the same rapacious confrontation in their unique and contagious guises, the first with a more merciful pressure in its face to ear attack but loaded with the dark serpentine growls and scowls of the vocals. It is a brief storm of corrosion handing over to the ruinous breath of the second of the pair, its intriguing and unpredictable insistent severe dance on the senses a mauling intensity veined by infectious melodic sonic flames. Both tracks leave a lingering mark and hunger for the already impressive temptation of album and artist.

Next up track Maelstrom unleashes exactly what its name suggests, a ravenous expanse of unsympathetic and unquenchable oppression from erosive and scalding sonic mastery and pungently acrimonious riffs, the attack swarming over the senses with no respite or kindness given. It is a fatigue inducing encounter which leaves bliss as the overriding emotion and is soon replicated in its individual spite by Forcefield, another track of dangerously niggling yet deliciously compelling sonic fortitude and viciousness.

Through the likes of the enchanting yet violent Hex and the outstanding Tremor with its insidious inventive form of continuous sonic teasing and grooved melodic tempting leaving a burning rapture enflamed in thoughts and emotions, there is little persuasion left to me made by the album. Though the second of the pair alone makes the final convincing with its epidemic of majesty sealing the deal, it is a combined effort of the whole album which declares the witnessing of and the deep rooted recognition of the appearance of an emerging force in metal.

Closing songs Firewield, another just terrific unbridled caustic rub on the ear, Lightning with a frazzling waspish insurgent demand, and the closing thrash bearing Vortez, complete an immense and intensely inventive album. Spellbook is exceptional with only one negative to offer which is the electronic drums. Admittedly the album ensures it is a minor niggle, the expertise and excellence of everything else pulling any shortcomings from obvious view but there are moments with focus where you feel a live drummer would have found another richness and depth to a track. Haiduk has produced a dream of an album though and one which is sure to ignite the appetite of extreme metal fans of any of the genres employed and enhanced by the release.



RingMaster 26/04/2013

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Lo! – Monstrorum Historia


In 2011, Australian violators Lo! seized and exposed raw nerves within the senses with their debut album Look And Behold, at the same time they lit a furnace of passion towards their sonic creativity for a great many such as us. Monstrorum Historia sees the return of the Sydney quartet but would it have the same power and enslavement as its predecessor. The simple answer is yes and then some. The band once again forge their own distinct form of invasive metal through a merger of the most insidious strains of hardcore, black metal, and crushing sludge metal, but this time the resulting corrosive tempest is even more impressive and ferocious, and wonderfully exhausting.

Released via Pelagic Records, the new album unleashes a brawl of violent imagination and creative intensity which makes its predecessor’s vicious beauty seem almost lightweight in comparison. Their breeding of sonic antagonism and contagious invention has found stronger potent depths and the imagination of the band a greater open malevolence which leaves only undiluted sore pleasure and invigorated intrusive satisfaction in its caustic wash.

The opening track As Above is a slowly dawning menace, the dramatic keys marking its arrival suggesting danger soon lo_MH_cover_squareaccompanied with the same intent by the sonic commentary of the guitar. As thumping rhythms from drummer Adrian Griffin bring their intimidation to bear upon the brewing event, the bass of Adrian Shapiro unleashes a predatory prowl which only increases the stature of the compelling intimidation. It is an instrumental which taunts and plays with the fears and punctuated by accumulated crescendo of all elements, it is a stirring and impossibly strong hook to start off the release.

Its departure is barely a whisper past before the following Bloody Vultures swoops with its hungry ravaging. Persistent virulent riffs abrase the surface of the ear whilst vocalist Jamie-Leigh Smith adds his caustic squalls with equal intensity and spite to proceedings, the delivery and attack of the frontman also having taken a leap on in intensity, his malicious searing squalls as well as the control he exerts honed to reap their strongest effect. Snarling like a beast in heat, the song shifts its poise continually without losing any power in its attack but ultimately it’s intent to chew up the listener with crushing rhythms and carnally inspired riffing wins out.

Tracks such as the equally carnivorous Ghost Promenade and the sonically intrusive Caruncula work on the senses further, softening up their defences with enthralling invidious invention whilst the villainous temptation Haven, Beneath Weeping Willows takes the listener on a walk through a landscape of doom coated atmospheres and tantalising yet sinister dark avenues. The instrumental is a canvas for thoughts and emotions yet an open aural painting in sound which conjures an inescapable distrustful landscape expertly sculpted from the uncomplicated but inspired strokes of the guitar of Carl Whitbread and the bass of Shapiro.

Across its length Monstrorum Historia continues to impress and spark emotive hysteria towards its contents. Certainly it is an album which will not find a home with all but if its rapacious noise and intent makes that union it is instant ardour. Further songs such as Fallen Leaves with its suspicious dark atmospheres toying with the psyche, the fiery and brutal Lichtenberg Figures, and the deliciously hypnotic Palisades of Fire lay out further greedy grasping temptation for nothing less than full eager digestion in return, their continuance of the addictive sonic deviancy at large helping to provide as the only option by the end of the album, an instant irresistible return to its ferocious grip.

Monstrorum Historia is a barbed and spiky triumph with a ferocity and invention which leaves not only wounds and scars within its recipients but unbridled acclaim and passion. Lo! is one of the noise giants and just gets better and better.



Pete RingMaster

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Aosoth – IV: Arrow In Heart

AntaeuspromobandpictureIV copy

An invidious black consumption to ravage and douse any well -lit emotional template and hope fuelled presence, IV: Arrow In Heart the new album from French metallers Aosoth is a threatening and deeply rewarding violation. Viciously intimidating and at times almost too much of a challenge to listen to, the caustic and vengeful nineties death metal cored sounds of the band leave no sense, emotion, or synapse free of brutal provocation, and a thoroughly pleasing and rewarding experience it is.

The band was formed in 2002 as a side project of black metal grinders Antaeus, which took on stronger purpose when the main band stepped back from performing live. Through their  previous three albums the band has earned an immense recognition and acclaim for their invasive sounds and within the previous year has played selected shows with the likes of Watain, Shining, Ondskapt, Nehëmah, Farsot, Enthroned, Hell Militia, Blacklodge, Heretic, and more, their fourth album now stepping forth via Agonia Records to lay waste to senses and emotive bodies. It is a darker more virulent malevolence from Aosoth which the band itself commented on with “We’ve spent such a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity, yet open to a wider range of influences. Those tracks still haunt us, as delivering them was a painful and excruciating experience, and left some of us even physically wounded… which gives that album even more of a spiritual value, as it involved a form of sacrifice. This fourth full-length release is without a doubt a great step forward for us in term of music writing, and sound.” Listening to its hateful beauty it is ready to receive the same sacrifice from the listener, something which is deserved and more than generous in return.

An Arrow in Heart erodes the senses from its first insidious note, the track alone raising the threshold of endurance and passion. Aosoth_IV_artwork copyIt is a visceral encounter, though that applies across the whole release, which twists the senses into a wasted defenceless recipient of the decayed breath and light extinguishing punishment. The sonic veining is a groove to ignite ardour and sear flesh whilst the roaming soon ravaging black course of the song, is a torrent of aural spite and crafted violent invention.

Through the following One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies and Temple of Knowledge, the band increase the desolation overwhelming the emotions with an intrusive air whilst mutually igniting greater ardour and addictive appetite for their contagious rabid grooves and acid coated melodic maliciousness. The first of the pair shifts and exposes every weakness in the psyche and emotions through continually twisting intensity and gait whilst the second finds a further furnace of intense ferocity and invention to crave and obliterate the senses with. Each song on the album, is rife with riveting imagination and equally mesmeric enterprise but Aosoth make you work and suffer for it with only numerous journeys through its mordant intent the only way to devour it all.

    Under The Nails and Fingertips continues the testing nasty transgressions with again the guitars and bass painting a plaintive narrative to extinguish any lingering corner of light or peace whilst the two parts of Broken Dialogue offer an individual confrontation which is cinematic in their make-up and carnally greedy in their creativity. The first part sets a debris strewn emotive collapse whilst the second is a toxic corruption, the droning and exhausting severity placed upon the ear permanently scarring.

     Ritual Marks Of Penitence closes off the album with its finest moment, the again drone driven sounds and chaining rhythms demanding subservience whilst they feed and suck senses and passions dry yet leave them desperate for much more of the insurgent beauty and magnetic invention. With a production as throughout the album, which allows the skilled craft of the members to stake their claim on the listener within the ferocious intensity, song and album is a masterful piece of mental and physical cruelty and very deeply satisfying.

Whether you can actually truly enjoy an album like IV: Arrow In Heart is debatable but the desire to frequently allow its blistering hellacious touch upon the body is undoubted.




RingMaster 18/04/2013

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Among Gods – Self Titled


Previously available as a digital release last year, the self-titled debut album from Norwegian extreme metallers Among Gods now has its physical release through PRC Music. It is an album which though the Bergen based band is tagged as death metal, employs numerous intense elements of the likes of black and doom metal to their core intent. Offering a wealth of promise from the band ahead equal to if not exceeding the strong satisfaction it provides in its pleasing presence, the album is a noteworthy investigation for genre fans and the band to keep an eye upon.

Formed in early 2011 by Syrach vocalist Ken “Ripper” Olsen as a side project, the band upon the album consists of guitarists Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (Syrach), bassist Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas), and drummer Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma).  The rest of the year saw the band playing live and recording their debut album which had its initial release as mentioned last year. Since its arrival the band has reduced to a trio of Ripper, Broke, and Ivan, and is currently working on the follow-up release for a possible late summer unveiling.

Opener Crucifixion immediately gnaws on the senses with a tirade of tight ravenous riffs whilst the squalling growls of Ripper scar among_gods_covertheir surface further with malevolent spite. He is not the easiest vocalist to find instant connection with but easily adds nastiness to the textures of the release which aids their destructive intent. With a rampant groove held in check within the corrosive riffs the track has an open hunger which is as potent as the driving swing of the track well into its stride. Like many of the songs it does not wholly convince the passions to react with fire but has a certain hook which is intermittently contagious but always making its presence known.

The following Martyr is a similarly clad confrontation but with its own individual stance within the release, if not necessarily to the outside world. With another grooved twisting to its annihilatory presence and a rabid growl to the bass which is irresistible, the track without matching its predecessor still hooks up thoughts and emotions into its maelstrom of death and black metal, the vocals at times especially adding a blackened caustic malevolence to the encounter.

      Night Procession opens up with commanding and resonating beats and equally compelling riffs whilst the bass again brings a throaty threat to devour eagerly before taking a stride of more reserved but raptorial gait, the again impressive grooves employed veining the savage breath of the onslaught for a tempering and magnetic lure. The vocals slip into place within the ear naturally at this point and in what is a less ferocious and more melodically sculpted track, brings a grizzled shade to its brighter energy.

The excellent blend of doom and classic metal cast within the death driven gait of The Plague makes for another standout track, the grooved swagger of the song nestling easily within the snarling walls and malice dripping vocal delivery. As is the norm across the release, the infectious grooves captivate and ignite the emotions whilst the shifting pace of the track from a keen swing to lumbering doomed consumption and closing thrash feverish urgency makes the track one of the more unpredictable and intriguing within the album.

The closing pair of City of the Dead and Apocalypse ensures the album ends on a high, emerging as the best tracks alongside the previously mentioned one. The first of the two is a slow breeding assault which erupts into another thrash cored rampage with death metal intensity. Shifting patterns to its charge and variation within its sonic craft, makes the song a richly satisfying violator and though it again is not breaking new grounds its hold on the passions is tight and lingering. The final song has no other intention than to control and savage the ear with salaciously tempting grooves and bludgeoning rhythmic sinews interspersed with carnal riffing and once more a heavily fibrous bass prowl. It is an excellent finish to the album and a last statement of the promise of Among Gods.

The release has flaws, mainly in originality and creating enough sparks to fire up the passions but equally there are moments which control the body and emotions for a heady enjoyment. Their next album will possibly be the better architect of their quality and future but on the evidence of this we will anticipate its release with eagerness.



RingMaster 16/04/2013

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Patria: Nihil Est Monastica


    Expelling malevolence which is raw and instantly venomous, Nihil Est Monastica the new album from Brazilian black metallers Patria is an exhausting and compelling release. Blatantly inventive and almost secretly addictive, the thirteen track beast leaves no sense or thought free of violation and hunger for its abrasively imaginative sounds. Though not breaking into new boundaries the early nineties driven sound certainly stretches limits for the fullest rewards. From those previously aware of the band, Nihil Est Monastica is said to be them at their most experimental and viciously driven, on the evidence of the album there is no reason to doubt just richly enjoy.

Patria consists of vocalist Triumphsword and multi –instrumentalist Mantus, with the band expanding to a quintet for live performances. The first appearance of their black metal and ambient fusion came with the 2008 demo Hills of Mist, the release opening the doors to the band unleashing shadows and darkness which invades and persuades with dramatic efficiency. The following year saw debut album Hymns of Victory and Death followed in 2010 by the second Sovereign Misanthropy, both earned good reviews and brewing acclaim. September of the same year saw a MCD entitled Gloria Nox Aeterna released on, as with the two full-lengths, Russian label Monokrom. Stronger and more intense awareness and acclaim came with third album Liturgia Haeresis in 2011 on, like the new album, French label Drakkar Productions. The release saw the band expand their already in place dark mixture of black metal and atmospheric experimental avant-garde music and with Nihil Est Monastica Patria has taken it to new riveting heights, fusing numerous flavours and textures into their almost rabid consumptive blackened enterprise.

The opening title track is a brief but impacting instrumental, the portent for something colossal and powerful and perfectly sculpted.patriacover A great many bands are now opening up releases with this epic sounding type of intro but few back it up with sounds which live up to the declaration, something Patria do with accomplished ease. The following Conquering Death’s Palace ravages the ear with full intensity but a restrained gait, the song letting the persuasive tight guitar teasing and rasping vocals instigate the first seeds of temptation initially. Into its stride the track has a swagger and allure like a cobra except its toxicity is sharp and deadly whilst that of the song is raw and greedily welcomed. With firm rhythms and a predatory bass prowl the track does not rip the senses into shreds but overwhelms with a persistence of poisonous breath and skilled enterprise for even greater reward for them and us.

Through the likes of Dark Cosmic Legend and the rampaging Nyctophilia the album squeezes tighter on the passions, the latter of the pair a delicious ride through bone splintering rhythmic maliciousness and scorching sonic intrigue. It is after the exceptional epically triumphant instrumental Altar where things really reach a plateau of scintillating and bruising excellence. Sacro Vale dos Encantos is a terrific depravity upon the senses, a track which from being a brawling and unrefined tempest evolves into a seduction of sharply grooved and contagious melodic lashes from the guitar and light expelling suggestive ambience all within the still imposing breath of the track.

The unpredictable and brutal Ascendent of Darkness and equally virulent Storm Before Eternity explore and ignite the passions further, and though like the album they are not going to be an easy ride for a great many they leave a potent and lingering passion behind. The guitar work of Mantus is exceptional but every aspect and instrumentation upon the album is as accomplished and imaginative as you could wish without unbalancing their unity and the songs themselves. The grazing vocals are in many ways formula black metal but again craft a presence which enhances the tracks and takes a keen hold on the ear.

Closing the album with a decent enough cover of the Sarcófago song Black Vomit, Patria has unleashed a magnificent scourge upon ear and passions, a release which stands to the forth of other genre releases over recent months. Nihil Est Monastica is a must for any black and experimental extreme metal fan.




RingMaster 29/03/2013

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Goatcraft: All for Naught

CD Tray

    All For Naught, the debut album from Goatcraft certainly caught us by surprise, the release an introduction to a band which from name alone we had made inaccurate assumptions about. The name, song titles, and to some extent the cover art brewed thoughts of a band unleashing either or a mix of black, death, and occult metal with a serpentine breath as toxic as its sound. What strikingly emerged was an instrumental album which certainly moved through the insidious breath of those genres but is a neo-classical bred feast of key sculpted tracks soaked in and breeding the most compulsive shadowed ambiences.

The album does not take long to make those preconceptions a distant thought as track by track it ignites and inspires thoughts, imagery, and emotions which relish and feed upon its inciting sounds. Elegant and intensive, the release is an intrusive and captivating tempest of passion and creativity from a project borne from the frustration of its creator in regard to the state of occult and other extreme and imposing genres at the time. Formed in 2010, the solo project of San Antonio based Lonegoat was soon creating strong impressions as it began playing numerous shows opening for underground metal bands across Texas. From initially a sonic keyboard attack the sound evolved and was refined into an enveloping encounter of neoclassical piano layers wrapped within atmospheric cinematic ambiences and noir whispers. Released via Forbidden Records, All For Naught is a truly unique encounter, the result of Lonegoat creating music in isolation overlooking the dark suggestive waters of Texas which leaves the listener bristling with vivid colourful questions and scenarios which can only be resolved and explored through further involvement with the album.

Opening track Call Me Judas slowly immerses the senses in a brooding velvety ambience which offers rich menace and satanic Cover Artseduction. Immediately one is thrust into thoughts of seventies/eighties Italian horrors films, the piece a dark hearted dramatic wash which would have perfectly suited and driven on a Tenebrae or Suspiria. The resonating voice of the off kilter piano is sensational and with the throaty lure combines for an enthralling and emotion igniting fire. The track is the perfect example of each individual and distinct track and their ability to provoke feelings and mental situations, its personal journey sparking images of encroaching shadowed corners and beckoning dark temptation reaped from a malevolent yet tempting insistence.

The intense and emotionally pressuring enticements continue with compelling and skilled imagination through the likes of Infinite Death, the intricate weaves of synths and keys which deliciously haunt Journey to the Depths, and Isolation Ripens, a track which embraces the first cinematic efforts in tone and innocence yet driven by a blackened melancholic passion which opens up a multitude of emotive investigations.

Across its whole expanse, the album ensures every note and breath of the release is impacting, emotively and mentally incendiary, the composing and playing of Lonegoat stunningly innovative and impressive. Its classical seeds ripple and engross not only musically but also with the literary and cinematic essences which pervades each piece of passion enslaving music. For music which is devoid of everything but keys of numerous descriptions and a production which allows them to breathe and tell their narrative with an honest and raw yet refined craft, the intensity it bears upon the senses is immense and again startling, a presence which numerous full on black metal albums would fail to blossom within the listener.

Some tracks are mere whispers in time and others with a prominent stance, all of which holding the deepest attention. Further exceptional highlights come with Laconism of the Cosmos and Consciousness is a Disease, but to be fair every piece of music is sensational and richly inspiring to thoughts and emotions. All for Naught is an album which will surprise, maybe even shock and wrong foot, but it will also bring rewards unlikely to be found or felt elsewhere, rewards which incite the fullest fires.



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Inter Arma: Sky Burial


    Sky Burial is an album which already people are shouting from the rooftops about and once consumed by its impacting perfect storm of creativity and exhausting mass it is hard to resist joining them in a fire of ardour. The album is immense, a genre stirring offering from a band in Inter Arma who will define and engineer new inspiring avenues ahead just as they have with this sensational release.

Formed in 2006, the quintet from Richmond, VA merges the thickest richest essence of doom, sludge, psychedelia and grind as well as inciting black metal and progressive flames to create their own unique and formidable sound and place in metal. Their debut album Sundown in 2010 rightly put the metal and critics on eager alert but with Sky Burial, which follows their acclaimed Destroyer EP of last year, Inter Arma has ingrained an indelible mark upon metal and set new plateaus and bench marks for others to aspire to. The album is like a tsunami, hurricane, and tornado of aggression and invention rolled in to one infernal and riveting tempest, and the fact that despite its staggering presence it still has moments which do not quite light internal fires so you feel and know there is still so much more to come from the band. This realisation is frightening and deeply exciting when immersed within the massive triumph that is Sky Burial.

Released on Relapse Records, the album immediately lays a sonic scourge upon the senses with The Survival Fires, the guitar riffsskyburial_900 thick, musky, and striking against the insatiable drum rolls of T.J. Childers. The track envelops and rolls around the ear with acidic venom and a pervading malevolent breath driven by the insidious earth borne squalls of Mike Paparo, his delivery a scathing abuse and graze upon emotions. The repetitive grooved hook which pervades the song enchants and niggles with a tortuous tease which with its insidiously persistent ignites eager acceptance and defiant antipathy. The persuasion is merciless though and submission to the erosive imagination and tar thick power of song and band is a given, the guitars of Steven Russell and Trey Dalton brewing a perpetual mix of invention and that repetition which magnetises the senses towards them whilst the bass of Joe Kerkes has a delicious hunger which drools over every oppressive note.

The following piece The Long Road Home comes in two movements, the first Iron Gate a simmering and shimmering blaze of reflective acoustic guitar and sonic spirals of sound lighting the sky of the track whilst an emotive resonance brews from the rest of the band to surround the expressive heart of the track. It eventually escalates into a brief blistering intrusion before settling down as the second part opens up its again restrained and isolated passion through coaxing guitars, shuffling beats, and biting ambient winds. The track is a reflection inspiring piece which unleashes more energy and emotion the further across its soundscape it goes, its gait and energy rising to compliment the almost pictorial and reminiscent touch it offers. Everything though leads to a maelstrom driven climax of blackened malignance with sonic scarring and savage rhythms to match the exhausting serpentine vocal abrasion. The two pieces combined are an enthralling confrontation as unique to the opener and tracks to follow but united in its overwhelming strength and emotive foreboding.

Destroyer is pure corrosion in aural form, every second from its invidious vortex of grooved toxin and lumbering predatory rhythms through to the enveloping raw vocal hatred and unrelenting light suppressing persistence, a thoroughly compelling and deeply welcomed transgressor to senses and emotions. Into the latter part of its mission of intent the band shifts and twists the track with captivating inventive additions in sound and energy but never loosens its cruel consumptive embrace.

At this point the album has already convinced the passions of their destination but with the simply stunning ‘sblood leaves them orgasmic in lust. The song is a classic, one of the most thrilling tracks heard anywhere in a long time. The drums and rhythms of Childers are sensational, a torrent of vicious enterprise and rabid savagery matched by the carnivorous bass and ravenous riffs. The track for its whole gnaws and gnaws upon the senses, with the moment where bass and drum are left alone to unleash their own ruinous ravaging instructive and destructive to all primal instincts. The track is a blistering chaos which with ease sucks the listener into its innovative and towering mass, a declaration which applies to the whole of the exhilarating and awe igniting album.

Through the remaining furnace of imagination and aggressive energy in the tracks Westward and its dramatic ferocity, the instrumental Love Absolute, and the epic imposing closing title track, Sky Burial is a phenomenal release which will impact on fans, bands, and the various genres they embrace ahead. If the likes of Neurosis, Melvins, Darkthrone, Kylesa, and Rwake pave your passions than Inter Arma have something to stretch your heart further.



RingMaster 19/03/2013

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