Riffocity – Under A Mourning Sky

As if thrash metal has not be blessed enough with some outstanding releases this year, Greek metallers Riffocity have added another mouth-watering roar with their debut album Under A Mourning Sky. Thrash bred but casting a web of inescapable hooks and incessant grooves doused in melodic fire, the ten track encounter is like a dog with a bone; seizing ears and imagination with creative jaws, gnawing and shaking the senses until absolute submission is given to its predacious prowess.

Formed in 2013 by guitarist Dimitris Kalaitzidis, Serres hailing Riffocity gave notice of their potential and invention with the Disciples of the Storm EP last year. It is fair to say though that Under A Mourning Sky has not only realised that early promise but taken it to a whole new level. Recorded with Firewind guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis, who also mixed and mastered the encounter as well as provided its keys, the album instantly lays a tight grip on attention with the opening throes of first track Hail Thy Father. As imposing beats land riffs gather, guitars and bass colluding in drama and intent as melodic wires emerge to entangle the threat. Straight away an appetite for the impending explosion is ripe, increasing in anticipation as the band heads into a momentary suggestive breath and the groove woven netting which springs from it. Made up of various twists, the track’s nagging enterprise is irresistible, the guitars of Kalaitzidis and George Lezkidis casting addiction as the bass of Panos Savvas grumbles. With the rousing roar of vocalist Thomas Trabouras backed by Kalaitzidis its own anthemic incitement, the track is near on perfection and certainly one of the best starts to an album this year.

Riffocity swiftly show the dexterity of sound and imagination in their sound with next up Arnis Oblivion, its opening piano nurture elegance is soon wrapped in classic metal breath and suggestion before thrash instincts again charge ears with nostrils flared. The sudden drop into melodic calm with a great clean Greek sung croon just catches the imagination, Constantin Maris guesting alongside Trabouras across the song. The band continues to sublimely blend mellow and feverish endeavour with increasing imagination and unpredictability before the song makes way for the ferocious energy and infectious trespass of the equally outstanding Bitter Sunday. Again the fusion of thrash and groove metal, to simplify its character, is so easy to devour and get involved with, riffs and rhythms alone a virulent persuasion never allowing expectations a moment to settle.

Fortunes of Death emerges from its stormy climate with melodic tendrils wrapping ears with more poetic suggestion, their vines as captivating as Trabouras’ gentle but commanding vocal caresses. It too is an enslaving start which blossoms into a compelling theatre of sound and enterprise with Maris once more adding his vocal prowess. There is something familiar about the song once it is in full bloom yet nothing which can be defined only enjoyed as the band blends an array of metallic flavours with increasing boldness and intensity; the track at times as rabid as its predecessor.

Through the ravenous tone and exploits of This Eternal Secret Lies Above and the senses stalking tenacity of From Inside the Arrows Come, the album and pleasure just escalate, the second of the two especially invasive and riveting with Riffocity again showing they really know how to begin a song and build anticipation for its attack, and indeed how to back up that suggested potential with craft and invention.

There is no sign of a dip in adventure or enjoyment as track by track the album ravages the senses, next up Isolation open in its Testament/Exodus like breeding and bold in its own creative mature while Perished Unloved, with Savvas’ bass simply and wonderfully bestial in voice, twists and turns with dervish qualities and a devilish intent though its thrashing antics are all controlled and eagerly rapacious.

The album’s title track is another where certain elements seem recognisable yet everything is fresh and eagerly chewed upon as the song dances voraciously and trickily in the ears, setting up a new wave of greed ready for the closing raptorial grasp of Above the End. With riffs that hound ears, rhythms that pummel the senses, and an anthemic urgency that ignites the spirit the track is inescapable pleasure, and with imagination and melodic canniness blazing within those walls, a conclusion to the album as potent as its start.

As suggested, thrash has had a mighty year with impressive releases and Under a Mourning Sky just might be the best of the lot; certainly it is at the fore of the most enjoyably addictive and devoured right here.

Under A Mourning Sky is available now through Riffocity.

https://www.facebook.com/RIFFOCITYbandgr/

Pete RingMaster 21/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Nightfall: Cassiopeia

Nightfall_2013_Photo

    There can be very few who do not know of the Greek dark metal weavers Nightfall or be aware of their continuing legacy to metal in general let alone their chosen genre of creativity. From deeply impressive and acclaimed albums and putting Greek metal on the wider world map, the Athens band has also nurtured and brought forth many musicians who have moved on to other high profile bands, such as Bob Katsionis and Mark Cross (Firewind), George Kollias (Nile), and George Bokos (Rotting Christ). After a seeming break the band has returned with their new album Cassiopeia via Metal Blade Records, and a senses awakening piece of accomplishment it is.

Formed in 1991 by the now only original member, vocalist Efthimis Karadimas, Nightfall took little time in grabbing attention, their initial four track demo bringing them to the attention of French label Holy Records and leading to the signing with them. The following year saw their debut Parade Into Centuries released to enthused responses whilst the next mass of years saw its success and acclaim repeated and exceeded through albums Macabre Sunsets, Athenian Echoes, Lesbian Show, and Diva Futura. During this time many line-up changes challenged but brought fresh spices to the sound of the band, their original death metal breath honed into an even more atmospheric and melodic wind upon the ear and heart. Via Black Lotus Records, the albums I Am Jesus in 2003 and Lyssa: Rural Gods And Astonishing Punishments a year later were open and impressive realisations of this direction change. In 2005 though as the band ceased performing live and with members leaving, there was a ‘hiatus’ of sorts for Nightfall.

The announcement of a new line-up and the following release of Astron Black & The Thirty Tyrants in 2010 through Metal Blade, showed the band was back stronger than ever, the album the recipient of immense praise from critics and fans whilst their further evolved sound was a passionate and rich soundscape of blackened death metal malevolence weaved into a melodic and dark symphonic grandeur. Cassiopeia is drawn from the same inspiring well of imagination and one which dances with the passions. Whether it exacts the same rapture as its predecessor will be arguable from individual to individual but the release certainly mesmerises and intimidates with equal craft and magnetism.

Alongside Karadimas the band consists of guitarists Evan Hensley and Constantine, bassist Stathis Ridis, drummer Jorg Uken, and 039841516821Stathis Kassios on keys, and again as is notable across its existence, it is a collection of musicians which perfectly fit and further the heart of the band. The album as its title suggests, takes essences for its theme from the constellation and the mythical character of Andromeda’s mother but more so refers to and investigates the arrogant characteristic of the human race. Opening with Phaethon, the release immediately holds attention in its majestic palms, the beckoning weaving of the guitars lighting the way into the shadows of the song which then swamp the senses with the oppressive growls of Karadimas and seductive caresses from the keys of Kassios. The rhythms are reserved though the bass is a prowling entity with strong sinews within the sonic fires being conjured along the journey of the song. From eagerly appealing to deeply hypnotic and switching often, the song is one which ebbs and flows within its lush presence and enthrals throughout. The great starter is a sign of the album in that it is a constant engagement one can only be enthused by but at times ignites greater passions from particular moments of ideas. This could be said to show inconsistency but in this case it is a nice problem to have if the case.

The following Oberon & Titania is a delicious storm of caging rhythms, spiralling sonic enterprise, and melodic teasing with a sensational lone wanton taunt of piano erupting which sparks sheer adoration for its unexpected and enchanted mischief. The track is a formidable encounter, one which stirs up the primal and emotive dark inside to coax it into a vibrant furnace of invention and destructive beauty. From keys to guitars, bass and drums, to the venom coated vocals, it is bruising yet invigorating treat.

Tracks like the infection invoker The Nightwatch with its familiar but knowing melodies and barbed hooks, the thought and senses wrapping Hubris which again stokes the heart with irresistible keys ‘doodling’, and the riveting Hyperion, leave one breathless and captivated. To be fair every track has that grip for the main of its presence making an album in Cassiopeia, which provokes and incites the dark and light within the listener.

At times the album is scintillating and even in its lesser moments compelling, and though it maybe does not trigger the furnace of passion as their previous album, it is one which lures you willingly back again and again.

http://www.nightfallstar.com

RingMaster 25/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright