Critical Solution – Sleepwalker

 

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If evil is looking for a new soundtrack it might not be too far from the mark to suggest that Sleepwalker might be in line for adoption. The new album from Norwegian horror thrashers Critical Solution is a glorious slab of visceral rock ‘n’ roll; a blood-letting drama and insatiable anthemic adventure rolled up into one seriously galvanic slab of ravenous metal. The band impressed with their debut full-length two or so years back, but Sleepwalker is a whole new thrilling beast from a band exploring new plateaus of imagination and flavour rich confrontation.

Formed in 2015, it is fair to say that the Helleland hailing quartet began really grabbing attention from 2011 when they, to use their bio’s words, “got serious”. It was at this point the band began working with Andy LaRocque in his Sweden based SonicTrain Studios, especially impressing fans and media with their first album Evil Never Dies in 2013, which followed the Evidence of Things Unseen EP of two years earlier. The encounter was a more thrash heavy proposition fuelled by the kind of horror storylines and sounds that helped shape the gripping presence of The Death Lament EP in 2014 and now their concept album Sleepwalker. The band has also earned a strong reputation for their ferocious stage show honed over the years and alongside bands such as Diamond Head, W.A.S.P, Marduk, and Grave over the years; an intensity and energy equally rampant within the band’s new blood show.

It opens with The Curse, the establishing of the evil coursing through the album’s character and narrative through atmospheric hauntings, intimidating tones, and a bedlamic theatre of sounds. With the imprecation in place the album unleashes its title track, Sleepwalker immediately slamming ears with meaty beats as guitars tantalise, it all the prelude to the insatiable charge of the song to come. As riffs and rhythms bound ruggedly through ears, Christer Slettebø’s guitar sends spicy slithers of bait into their midst before his vocals stir up their own kind of anthemic persuasion. It is a thumping incitement soon revealing its resourcefulness as it twists into seductive prowls and dynamic torrents of inventive tenacity. Like Metallica meets Chainfist initially and more creatively devilish with each passing minute, the track raises the ante in the album’s superb start.

Critical-Solution-Album_RingMaster ReviewWelcome To Your Nightmare ensures things are only more gripping and exhausting next, its Anthrax scented thrash tirade irresistible from the first breath and only increasing its lusty allure as it releases its devil. Driven by the slamming beats of drummer Egil Mydland, the song alternatively stalks and launches itself at the listener across its hellacious contagion. The guitars of Slettebø and Bjørnar Grøsfjell arouse as they abuse whilst the bass of Eimund Grøsfjell is aural predation at its barbarously seductive best.

Melodic and evocative caresses bring Blood Stained Hands into view next, their gentle and reflective tempting the surface to a brewing and gradually building intensity and aggression. Enjoyably even that is caught in the ebb and flow of the song’s energy, being held in check to act as a tease from within the captivating and infectious roar of the song. There is a slight taste of melodic rock aligned to grungy essences at play too, Gruntruck coming to mind in certain moments as the song leaves appetite lustful and ready to devour on the sultry haunting of Murder In The Night. It too cages listeners in a melodic embrace; warm kisses of guitar and their sonic trails of temptation a rapturous suggestiveness encased in a sinister atmosphere. There is danger and menace lurking in the shadows of the track’s slightly portentous air; a waiting incitement which bursts as the floodgates open to fiercely nagging rhythms and predacious riffs within the imagination sparking instrumental.

Ending on a news report harkening darker deeds and threats as events twist and turn, the track masterfully leads to up the barbarous revelry of Evidence Of Things Unseen, its successor swiftly a merciless assailant drenched in hostile intent and virulent persuasion. Again it is hard to escape a Metallica/Megadeth like comparison, though every swinging stick and pulled string breeds a fresh and dramatic strain of enterprise unique to Critical Solution.

The heavy lumbering Sabbath-esque entrance of LT. Elliot soon has ears surrounded and imagination enthralled as its doom soaked theatre gives a bird’s eye view of the last moments of its title victim. Crawling with insidious glee and equipped with expulsions of raw catchiness, the outstanding track is as cinematic as it is murderously compelling and swiftly matched in drama by the epic exploration in length and emotion of Dear Mother. Bringing some respite to the dark turmoil before it, its tortured reflection comes entangled in a volatile landscape of dense shadows and fiery infection loaded revelry. Through every second of its ten minutes, it is masterfully unpredictable and increasingly enthralling, like being locked in the mind and emotions of torment itself as it track spellbinds as powerfully as its predecessor.

The Death Lament just tears into ears with its rapacious horde of riffs and legion of barbarian bred rhythms next, the violation thrash fuelled anthemic metal at its primal explosive best enslaving ears before letting Back From The Grave bring the chain of bloody events to a close. Featuring guests in Michael Denner and Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate), the final infestation of the senses and body is similarly pure thrash butchery and openly majestic in its crushing, rabid way.

There will no doubt be many voracious metal releases thrilling ears this year but already it feels safe to say few will surpass Sleepwalker and its thrash horror malediction.

Sleepwalker is out now via Punishment 18 Records across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 27/01/2016

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Chainfist – Scarred

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It is fair to say that Danish metallers Chainfist with their new album Scarred, has not ventured too far from the roaring core which made their debut album Black Out Sunday an acclaimed and greedily devoured storm. To that easily agreeable seed though, the quintet has found a bolder, fuller, and melodically driven freshness which makes second full-length and even stronger and gripping proposition. The release still wears the inspirations of thrash metal’s founding fathers openly and proudly on its sinew bulging sleeve but twists them into a new creatively exciting and voracious adventure.

Formed in 2007 by members who have the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist, and Frozen Sun to their pedigree, Chainfist made their first major impression in their homeland and around Europe with Black Out Sunday in 2010, it gaining further recognition when the band signed a management deal with Rock N Growl two years later. It was a release making strong first impressions before growing to be an increasingly persuasive potential soaked thrill. Scarred makes the biggest impression right away, the band fulfilling the promise offered on their debut whilst building a more distinctive presence of sound and invention. There is still not a massive uniqueness about the release but with a melodic emprise and imaginative resourcefulness which inescapably captivates ears and emotions, the album stands as a thoroughly riveting and anthemically powerful proposition.

The Michael Hansen produced and Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Volbeat, Anubis Gate, Pretty Maids) mixed and mastered release swiftly grips ears and imagination with the start of opener Scars of time. A lone guitar within a chilled ambience offers a haunted and portentous yet inviting coaxing which soon opens up the door to rugged riffs and thumping beats. It is prime thrash antagonism which gets the blood running urgently through ears and emotions but also carries an infectious swing leading to a rampant chorus. In no time vocalist Jackie Petersen is driving the song to greater ferocity, his clean but welcomingly raw tones backed perfectly by group harmonies whilst the guitars of Michael Kopietz and Thomas Hvisel provide an abrasing and melodically bracing temptation to fire up the senses even more. It is an impressive if not startling start, in comparison to things to come, which sets the tone for the album perfectly.

1000 ways to bleed strides intimidatingly in next, the rhythms of drummer Jesper Heidelbach flirting with hostility whilst bassist Braca Pedersen provides a heavy compelling lure around which vocals and guitars cast their addictive ChainfistScarredCoverdesigns. Less aggressive than its predecessor in some ways and more intimidating in others, the track explores a melody rich but imposing scenery of invention and enterprise before making way for the outstanding Black rebel noise. A spicy groove wraps ears early on before the track finds a swagger to its punchy incitement. There is a definite Volbeat feel to the energy of the song whilst musically and vocally it is hard to look past Metallica and John Bush era Anthrax as references but the track soon develops its own contagious suasion to enslave body and passions.

Both Another day in hell and Poison moon keep the thrills and quality coming, the first bursting from an evocative stormy ambience coloured by a melodic caress of guitar and the continually impressing vocals of Petersen. It subsequently evolves into an emotive reflection which is at ease whether smouldering with melodic calm or raging with virulent hostility. Melodic meets classic heavy metal within a thrash bred predation the track is an unpredictable and impassioned blaze of sound and craft. Its successor goes for the jugular from the start, almost moving in reverse as it brings warm washes of melodies into its unrelenting tempest of intensity and ravenous riffery. It is a striking and richly pleasing provocateur but soon shaded by the next up 10.000. Prowling ears from the start with menacing riffs and brutal beats, the song stalks with tenacious vocals and sonic enticement, guitars spinning a caustic and infection soaked web to bind ears and thoughts. It is a glorious muscular anthem unafraid to explore its more devilish side through toxic addictive hooks and a scorching solo.

Know you hate similarly sets the heart afire with its ridiculously catchy temptation within an aggressive weave of riffs and rhythms. Volbeat again comes to mind whilst also thoughts of Disturbed make their suggestive hints from within the exhilarating slab of addiction. It is not quite matched by Seven minutes of pain, but the following song powerfully lays down a bordering on savage assault of riffs and rhythms which is prone to scythes of sonic intrigue and melodic radiance vocally and musically. It is another song where its infectiousness is irresistible for feet and voice, an aggressive provocative fuel for the passions.

Through the similarly structured and creative Statement, band and album reinforce their potent persuasion whilst Mass frustration provides the most intensive and volatile track on Scarred without neglecting the radiant melodic side of the invention running through the release. It is a powerful encounter which leaves ears on an agitated high for the final acoustic version of Black rebel noise to restore calm and peace to. It is an enjoyable and skilled end to the album but the meat is in the richly flavoursome meal of the previous songs.

Chainfist have moved their sound on to a striking new plateau with their album and it is easy to feel there is still more to come even as impressive as Scarred is. The album confirms the Danes as a major proposition in the making and a thrilling encounter of insatiable metal in the now.

Scarred is available now through Mighty Music @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scarred-Chainfist/dp/B00M9JLS06/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412602534&sr=8-1&keywords=chainfist

http://www.chainfist.net/

RingMaster 07/10/2014

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Chainfist – Black Out Sunday

With the recent signing of Danish groove metal band Chainfist in a worldwide management deal with Rock N Growl, the band’s debut album came back into view so we thought it was time to dive into it and get a taste of things to come. The band has just finished recording a 3 track promo with producer Søren Jensen with the results to be mixed by the legendary Jacob Hansen and from the evidence of their album Black Out Sunday there is nothing short of eager anticipation and high expectations building for its release later this year.

Consisting of Jackie Petersen (vocals), Michael Kopietz (guitar), Jesper Heidelbach (drums) and Braca Pedersen (bass) Chainfist recorded Black Out Sunday in 2010 and gathered some good acclaim upon its release. Since then the band has been joined by the skilled guitarist Thomas Hvisel recently, to take over lead guitar and there is a sense that the band now a quintet, is only going to be more powerful and creative.

Chainfist has strong pedigree with members previously in the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist and Frozen Sun. Their individual ability and accomplished songwriting is evident from the opening track to the last lingering note of Black Out Sunday. Chainfist’s sound is a heady mix of metal, heavy metal and hard rock, the band seamlessly blending the flavours into an intriguing and thrilling beast of a sound that offers something captivating and powerful at every turn. First listen brought an appreciative nod and full enjoyment but upon subsequent plays as more and more qualities emerged within songs the album simply worked itself deeper and deeper to become one of the more rewarding and satisfying rock releases heard in a while.

The infectious rampant ‘Free Me’ opens up the onslaught of Black Out Sunday. Driving riffs, dominating rhythms and a swinging groove from start to finish make the song a vibrant exhausting party. The vocals of Petersen are clean, crisp and expressive yet hard and aggressive in the right spots. The track does not offer too much new but to introduce a release and band it is an insatiable pleasuring of the ear. If you are looking for an explosive straight forward rock song this is it.

The songs from here on in are nicely varied and creative whether more melodically led as in ‘Edge Of The World’ or on a thunderous charge as in ‘Be A Man’. The latter of the two is an aggressive little fiend of a track, defiant and carrying a stunning senses twisting teasing groove. It recalls elements of the likes of Society 1 as does the brilliant ‘Have You Ever’. This song is a gloriously dark pulsating brute winding within the head and heart with sinister riffs, grouchy basslines and a hungry waspish groove that consumes relentlessly.

It has to be said when the Chainfist go for the heavy and intensely direct route they really light up the senses though their ‘mellower’ melodic flows are just as gratifying. In the excellent ‘Stay’ the band begin the song with an emotive voice and feel before the song lifts off into a forceful but controlled rock song. On the less aggressive songs such as ‘Show Me’ the band has a sound that reminds of bands like Volbeat and Dommin with a touch of Danzig which pleases just as much as the heavier more intense tracks.

Throughout the album feeds the senses wonderfully with the chugging riff fest of ‘In Your Face’, the rampaging mischievous and venomous chaos of ‘Clown’, and the chunky guitar loaded ‘Blackout’ as striking and thoroughly as stirring as those previously mentioned. Black Out Sunday is simply a great rock album from a band that has yet to find one feels its full potential. Guitarist Michael Kopietz has said “The new material is stronger, heavier and even more melodic than the songs we made on our debut CD Black Out Sunday.” We say bring it on!

RingMaster 25/01/2012

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Chainfist – Have You Ever

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