KLANK: Urban Warfare

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    With a new release waiting on every click of a button each and every day, it is easy for some impressive music to slip by the attention of far too many unsuspecting ears. Urban Warfare from US metallers KLANK is one prime example, a mighty incendiary album which has yet to surface on the radar of a great many though it was unleashed last year. Consisting of fourteen slabs of irresistible industrial metal veined by magnetic electronic lures and even more seductive delicious grooves, the release stops you dead in your tracks and recruits the passions in a brawling riot of enterprise and intensive energy.

Since forming in 1995, the band has earned a rich position within the metal underground constantly breaking into wider recognition and acclaim through their immense live performances and vigorously compelling releases. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Daren KLANK Diolosa (ex-Circle Of Dust), guitarist Danny Owsley, bassist Charlie Parker, drummer Eric Wilkins, and Pat Servedio on guitar, keys, programming and production, KLANK first smacked music in the face with debut album Still Suffering via Tooth & Nail Records in 1997. It brought muscular groove metal, industrial, and dance music together with a vengeance and brought plenty of intrigued and enthused ears their way as well as strong radio play. Its successor Numb two years later elevated the band further especially with its immense and successful single Blind, and its re-issue the following year only added to the brewing rise of the band. KLANK also made plenty of compilation appearances over this period but arguably their real dawn of recognition came through the In Memory Of… EP in 2007 and the fifteen track release Numb…Reborn three years later which included guest appearances by Jim Chaffin, Larry Farkas and Mike Phillips. Urban Warfare though is the band at its finest moment yet and the album to place them in the higher echelons of grooved/industrial metal.

The best way to describe the album is a fusion of the previously mentioned musical spicery in a richer and more potent flavour.Urban Warfare Cover Imagine an aggressive offspring of Pitchshifter and Pitbull Daycare incited to further devilment by Dope and Powerman 5000 and you get wind of the tremendous energy and invention going on. Opening on the intro A Call To Arms with its infectious beckoning and full incitement the album takes no time in offering the fullest persuasion with Unamused. Its initial caress is an electronic sway which is soon ruptured by towering riffs and thumping rhythms whilst still delivering its own warm dazzle. Into its stride the track rampages with real hunger from the bass and guitar riffs to consume the senses whilst the drums of Wilkins prey on the ear like a middleweight boxer. The vocals of Diolosa are a stirring blend of clean with enough growl to intimidate which match the stance of the song, its combative gait entwined with the melodic heat of the keys.

The title track has a Toxic Grind Machine feel to its darker shadowed intensity and malice whilst still unleashing a contagious melodic inducement to bring feet and passions to energetic life. Its sturdiness and suggested violence makes a great contrast and variation to its predecessor and the following Bigger Man, though neither of these songs lacks feistiness or a burning passion to bruise. Bigger Man is a tempest of tumultuous riffs and rhythms tempered by a virally contagious chorus and the mesmeric sultry dance of the keys. Certainly one of the biggest highlights in an album which is one big pinnacle, the song is the final piece of suasion to ignite a real ardour for the release.

Songs like the squalling and impressively abrasive Alive in Me, the quarrelsome Built to Survive with its wonderful avalanche of explosive rhythms and prowling riffs within an equally intensive and raptorial atmosphere, and the excellent Stomp You Out, continue to drive the album deeper into the heart with accomplished invention and even headier passion. The third of the trio is another disputatious encounter with a thicker industrial metal oppression and heat playing like a mix of The Browning and Ghost In The Static.

As further tracks such as the less intense but greedily imposing Blow It All Away and the malevolent Disdain with its outstanding primal predatory caustic breath work on the passions, Urban Warfare stands without any notable flaws or deficencies…that is until the final pair of songs. Now to put this into context if Eraser and Something About You was on another release they would earn strong applause for their straight forward metal and raw ‘live’ state, they certainly stand as strong songs but against what has come before they feel out of place in time and situation, simply they are pale against the rest of the album.

Despite that minor niggle, Urban Warfare is outstanding, an album all metal fans should take time to immerse themselves within. KLANK stand on the edge of the widest recognition and deserve every ounce they get.



RingMaster 15/02/2013

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Whyzdom: Blind?

Blind? the new album and return of French philharmonic metallers Whyzdom, is a release to leave mouth, senses, and heart in their individual ways, wide open in awe. It is a stunning album, a startling world of symphonic and power metal caressed and shaped into something magnificent and epic, and most of all distinctly Whyzdom. Released through Scarlet Records, it follows their acclaimed 2009 debut album From The Brink Of Infinity and as good as that was the new release proves it was only the beginning of something wonderful.

Formed in early 2007 by guitarist and orchestrator Vynce Leff, the band was soon drawing strong responses from media and fans alike with first release, the Daughter Of The Night EP, which appeared less than six months after the inception of the band. Their blend of orchestral and symphonic imagination and sounds soon led them to awards and numerous festivals appearances, many as headliners, with their debut album only elevating their rapidly rising reputation and recognition worldwide. The departure of their vocalist in 2010 led to a long search for a replacement with Lisa Middelhauve, former Xandria singer, standing in as a guest vocalist for performances at the 2010 Raismes Fest and for a show in Paris supporting Tarja.

It was with the arrival of Elvyne Lorient to the band in February of this year that the quest was over and wow, what an addition she is. Blind? is a total triumph and the voice of Lorient as major an ingredient to its success as the inventive and stirring brilliant sounds. The album title has a dual reference to firstly the blindness of people towards what is happening around them and also how people choose to be blind in uncomfortable circumstances which eventually lead to wrong decisions and paths in life.

As opener The Lighthouse turns its epic aural charms upon the ear, guitars dazzling with a burn to their sonic touch, Lorient caresses and owns the ear with vocals which envelope and seduce. Avoiding the full blown operatic indulgences many of the genre singers seem to offer she sings with a delivery, range, and expression which is instinctive, organic, and irresistibly mesmeric. The sweeping orchestral weaves around her are delicious, their enveloping kisses emotive and evocative whilst the bass growls and sturdy rhythms keep shadows and intensity as full and dramatic as the dazzling melodic enterprise. It like many that follow, is a piece of songwriting which pulls you completely into its personal world, the perpetually dawning surges and triumphant crescendos as inciteful and invigorating as any rising unobstructed sun.

Dancing With Lucifer and On The Road To Babylon both transport heart and thoughts into realms of twisting gritty energies and pulsating melodic grandeur with hypnotic skill and emotion, each track an ever evolving canvas of emotion, vision, and brewing aural expanses. It is Cassandra’s Mirror sitting gloriously between the pair though which steals not only top honours out of the three but for the whole vast show. With folk whispers entwined around the uncompromising metal confrontation and the soaring orchestral elegance merged within a furnace like passion, the track is a raging tempest of energy and uplifting drama.

It is hard to find the words to fully represent the impressive presence and might of Blind?. From beginning to end it is a stunning piece of imagination and creativity, with the beautiful Paper Princess, The Foreseer with its perfect combination of extremes and perpetually unveiling, and the colossal closer Cathedral Of The Damned, just three of the exhilarating pinnacles of the senses blowing, heart bursting  theatre. The final track makes the word epic feel so small as a declaration of its immense power and stature, the musicianship, arranging, and sheer magnitude of emotive imagination sheer captivation and pleasure.

Whyzdom return to take their place as one of the most innovative and imaginative symphonic metal bands in recent years whilst Blind? makes a late challenge for the best album to grace and light up the year.


RingMaster 01/11/2012

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