Guilty As Charged – Leap of Faith

BAND guilty as charged

On the evidence of their debut album Leap of Faith, Belgian metallers Guilty As Charged create a brew of thrash fuelled heavy metal which without stretching originality too far provides a rather tasty and invigorating proposition. The band’s new album is a fiery and creatively gripping encounter which surges and rampages with all the right moves to ignite ears and passions as its ferocious enterprise works away on the imagination. A game changer it is not but for riotous pleasure and honest satisfaction not many albums have surpassed Leap of Faith so far this year.

Formed in 2008, Guilty As Charged soon made a good impression with their live shows and the following year through the demo Boxed In. That was followed by the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Pro-Pain, UDO, and Stormrider as well as festival appearances at events such as the Alcatraz Metal Festival in 2011 with Helloween and Death Angel, and Masters @ Rock 2012 with Soulfly & Channel Zero. Recorded last year, Leap of Faith is poised to push the foursome of vocalist/ rhythm guitar Jan De Vuyssere, lead guitarist Dempsey Derous, bassist Hannes De Caluwe, and drummer Matthew Vandenberghe into a wider and more intensive spotlight, one certainly deserved by the storming presence and exciting escapades within the release.

Opening track Preach to the Masses instantly seizes ears and attention with its swipe of melodic coaxing which is soon over run with thumping rhythms alongside keen and feisty riffs. It is an easy bait to find an appetite for, one growing Albumcover Leap Of Faithinto a magnetic stroll of roving beats and a senses entwining sonic enticement. The raw and grizzled vocal roar of De Vuyssere only accentuates the impressive and incendiary start, sparking off an even richer strain of guitar endeavour to snake across the song’s climate. In full muscular flight, the track badgers and intimidates with resourceful enterprise and a great rapacious groove which flirts perfectly with the throaty basslines and the melodic scorching of heavy metal incitement. It is a riveting entrance by the album, not one to leave jaws slack in awe but one to fire up body and emotions for a greedy anticipation for the subsequent tracks.

Those expectations are soon fed a tasty morsel with Last Chance, a track which does not quite match the opening plateau but still sets its own thrilling level with predatory riffs and similarly gaited rhythms and vocals. There is an underlying hostility to the song but it is tempered by the blaze of melodic enticement and skilled sonic suggestiveness. The vocals like the music mix up their textures and attacks to add their own depth and intrigue to the rampant confrontation. Its triumph is soon rivalled by the outstanding title track which from its funky lead in expels waves of sonic intrigue to which the ever impressing vocals add their expressive narrative. The dark hearted tones of the bass and ridges of riffs only add to the rigorously contagious encounter whilst Derous lays a web of ingenious bait which is as insatiable as it is addictive. There is also a punk edge to the track which offers hints of Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard to the flavoursome and impressing mix.

Both the Metallica like I’ll Never and the enthralling Lonewolf bring diversity and potency to the release, the first prowling and gnawing on ears with sinister expression and predatory invention which sparks the imagination into new adventures. Its successor again has that fierce attitude and breath with an air of the likes of Megadeth and Testament to it yet with its exploratory sonic designs equally provides something individual to the band. Both tracks incite the listener to join their potently anthemic calls before the melodic caress of Elysium wraps its elegance around ears. With rising sultry flames of guitar and emotive hues, the instrumental makes for an evocative engagement before making way for the bruising presence of Lack Of Control. With a caustic scent to its rapacious intensity and attitude, the track boils and bellows with passion and antagonistic purpose whilst veining its roar with acidic shards of sonic invention and colour which as much as the song intimidates equally seduces.

The album is closed by Down, maybe the least eventful and striking track on the release but a song bringing Leap Of Faith to a mighty close with its Pantera-esque swinging groove and simply ravenous intensity. As suggested Guilty As Charged do not change the face of heavy and thrash metal with their first album but certainly they have given it a thrilling and explosively enterprising new proposition and who cannot be up for that?

The self-released Leap of Faith is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guilty-As-Charged/73401643876

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

 

The essence of greatness: an interview with Franky De Smet Van Damme of Channel Zero

CZ Franky

The recent release of Kill All Kings, the new album from Channel Zero, comes after one of the most tragic and devastating times a band or anyone can experience. The death of drummer Phil Baheux left not only the Brussels band but metal itself distraught. After time to recover the band decided to continue and to record the album Phil was set to record with them. What emerged is an encounter which makes for a thoroughly enterprising engagement and makes a fitting tribute to their friend. We had the pleasure to talk with vocalist Franky De Smet Van Damme who kindly shared memories of Phil, as well as telling us about the impact of his sad passing, the new album, approaches to recording and much more…

Hello Franky and thanks so much for sharing your time with us.

You have just released your new album, the irresistibly enjoyable Kill All Kings; it must be an exciting yet also a sad moment for the bad with the album the first release since the loss of colleague and friend Phil Baheux. What are the feelings as the album makes its first steps into the world?

Well it’s a hard step … when you see how much pos vibes we have for that new album … Phil should have been here with us … sometimes it’s hard to get what life brings you … happiness and sadness can be so close together …

 

Phil

Phil

Can we briefly talk about Phil before concentrating on the album. He was a well-loved and rigorously respected musician and man by fans and the metal world, and of course a brother to you guys. Could you give us some insight into the man and his craft?

Well first of all he was a tall man …6 foot …a giant with a heart of gold … when he had it for you… he would have died for you … he had that comic thing in him … he was an 24/7 entertainer … when he was around us we were always hearing him goof around with everybody … it’s so quiet now in studio and on shows … we really miss him so much as a friend, there was no way you missed him when he was there … it’s still hard to get …

It must have been touch and go whether the band continued after his passing. What gave you the strength to continue and push the band on again, which we all know is what he would have wanted?

Well at first it was a hard time, we were so much in shock because he was really in such good shape … and then the next moment you can hardly believe what’s going on … his son of 5 years was always there with us … so much drama. I was out of options … we were about to record the new album 2 days later and as most of you know … that always starts with drums … so we were devastated. One month later we still didn’t know what now … we were still in that hanging phase where we didn’t really knew what, when or where … meanwhile we had had a message through a Belgian fan that met Lars Ulrich who made his condolences to us … and he also said … what happened was so tragic but please move on … Phil would have never want you to stop here … and pretty soon after that we also got that reaching hand from Roy Mayorga (Mikey’s good friend from in Soulfly ) who said if you want to make the album in memory of Phil I want to help you guys out, I’d be happy to do this for you …so we decided to make the album and see from there on, since there was no intention at all that Roy would play drums in Channel Zero. That’s how we got back on the rails.

As mentioned you have just released Kill All Kings, a fiery contagion of thrash and groove infested melodic metal. For us the album sits somewhere between modern thrash and its origins whilst adding its own individual twists. How would you describe its potency?

I think it’s got that look back and respect for the metal machine build-up of riffs and power and at the same time I’m always the guy that looks forward … that combination of Mikey and my pulling forward in ideas works well. It’s the second album now and we start to make things really work together … the music match is also very strong between Mikey and me, so it’s all about vibe and hard work.

I’m always concerned about … what is now … what should be the vibe now … 2014/2015 … I’m not the kind of person who looks back to much …

It is a fair old time since the band’s formation in 1990 of course, a time which included a decade or so long break, so how would you say your sound has most powerfully evolved since those early times and Kill All Kings? Channel Zero - Kill All Kings

That new impact comes from Mikey … he was highly needed in pos vibe and power to make this happen … so I found a music soul mate and a brother at the same time, destiny I think … sometimes things happen without a reason … this had to happen … I call it Channel Zero 2.0 😉

Did you have reservations going into the album’s writing let alone recording because there was no Phil to drive the rhythmic provocation?

Well this album was already there before Phil passed away so the songs were created with Phil’s impact … in demo writing we use drum computers to write since we don’t have budgets to record whole demos in studio. What happens is that when songs come together, Phil always kinda followed the drum tracks so we were sure it was something he could go for … it would have been crazy to try to program things that we could not play later on live. So here we were totally there, all songs were chosen to record with Phil …

There was a deeper personal element to songs, lyrically and musically, than ever before on a release this time for you?

Well the impact of Heart Stopped, the song that was kinda of rewritten in „ Angel „ acoustic, was a hard one … Brothers Keeper too … these songs now refer so hard to what happened so that’s really emotional … on the other side I have always written lyrics that have a deep impact or feeling to me …

I have that thing where I want to wake up people’s conscious … always been my intention in writing lyrics.

The recording must have been very hard especially but it sounds on songs that emotion rife in the studio went into a stirring and anthemic passion which soaks the release. Do you feel that too?

Well we want to make songs that kind of stick to the brain … we wrote about 40 of them and when you write more songs you always have more good ones in the end … that’s a thing that probably made all the ones on the album have a certain strength … which they should have.

Impact and dedication … lyric wise and song wise …

Tell us about the songs on the album, Phil’s involvement if at all, and the inspiration for the majority of their themes.

All songs are written by Mikey musically and then I come into the game with feelings … vocal lines … and that is where it moves on … sometimes it falls really fast together, sometimes it goes slow in writing. When things start to pop up at the surface it means it sticks to the brain … so we learned to take time …

We must admit we expected to feel or hear something missing in the rhythmic part of the album, no disrespect to Roy Mayorga who joined you in the studio, but the man nailed it in a different way to Phil but as potently…

I think that’s normal … Roy really listened hard to the demos and he wanted to put his heart and soul into it but off course Phil and Roy have both different playing styles We tried to find that sweet spot with Roy in the studio … to make it work in such a way that Phil would have loved it … we really worked hard in that vibe or direction and it was not easy for Roy to step into someone else’s shoes but he really did such amazing job and impact … all in the memory of Phil … we can’t thank him enough for that …

Having been one of the most notable driving forces of European thrash in the nineties have you felt the need to twist your sound to bring it ‘up to date’ with modern sounds within the genre or has it organically simply evolved for the new album and its predecessor Feed ‘Em with a Brick?

The change was obvious … we had a new guitarist and automatically we moved on to something different but the impact we wanted to give was still a metal impact and sound so Mikey was a dream scenario, even if we didn’t have many things in mind when he joined. The new album has evolved to better songs and also we thought about it way more that F W A Brick … I think that’s an evolution you owe to your fans and yourself also…

There seems to be two camps in regard to modern thrash and its varied flavoursome design, old school fans who hate it and those who devour it eagerly. How have you found responses with a sound which embraces both aspects?

Well as I said before, Mikey embraces that old school metal vibe which he understands really well as a metal guitarist … and on the other side I’m always open for new things …and the mix was important too, I made some decisions that had to be done and I think we made a move that kinda made it work … I mean by work it gets accepted really well so I hope we can surprise people with our 2014 album ….

Channel Zero - Band Photo 2014 #3 - Photo Credit Tim TronckoeWith plenty of albums under your belt, have expectations over the way you approach recording new records changed over time?

Yes it has … bands have less and less budget and ways to record without making any comments on the downloading thing …

With no income anymore for most bands out of the fact their music gets copied … it gets more and more complicated to bring it on.

I always say … if you have 3 months time or 3 weeks time to build a house … which house will be the most finished? Working on music still brings in the fact it will probably be stronger as a song …

I still believe that producers make a big difference also, their knowledge is inevitable but who can still pay a decent producer and pre-producer so all these things matter. The band has to have a certain strength but on the other side the people that work on your music also have their talents and qualities so I still believe in the strength of working together … not in making an album in your living room and selling it on your own. A couple of exceptions out of the world-wide market maybe make it work like that but 98% of the majority of the bands they only work like that …

Do you still get the same buzz?

Well if you write good songs you hopefully get good reviews etc. … if the music talks the rest walks, I still believe in that…

You released Electronic Cocaine as the first single from the album, strong bait to the album for sure; tell us about its background and creation.

Its lyrical content is about the addiction we all have on the social media and internet … it’s a American term for people being hooked on internet and the fact that our brain needs the dopamine of getting tickled, when we receive less messages our brain is disappointed … it’s a typical human reaction but we can’t live anymore without the net and that’s where that lyric goes all about, about the fact we all are hooked without realizing it anymore. For me the song has that strong verse pre-chorus chorus impact … I really love that song personally, it is a favorite for me …

Roy Mayorga was only involved in the recording of the album, so what is ahead in the rhythm department for the band?

We are not going to replace Phil … we will play with drummers that will take his seat; we are not ready to have a fixed drummer on Phil’s seat. It’s too emotional ….same for band pictures with someone new … it’s a bit more complicated than you should think

And for the band as a whole, live shows?

Well in the meantime … Seven Antonopoulos plays drums live and he is making a great job helping us out. He is a great drummer and awesome person, we are so grateful he is there for the moment. We hope we can get on tour any time soon with Kill All Kings; we get really great reviews everywhere so when we are getting the possibility to tour … we will get on that bus…

Thanks again so much for chatting with us, any last thought you would like to add?

Thank you for checking us out and thank you for taking a spin on our new album … and if we convince you, come to a show to see Channel Zero live … and thank you for all your messages of respect for Phil .

Looking back at the writing and making of Kill All Kings, is there one overriding aspect or emotion which marks its moment in time for you?

Phil’s passing should not have been there … life is precious … keep that in mind, live your life to the fullest because it can be over before your realize. Happily Phil lived his life at 200 M/Hour … I’m happy he did, he was a great person and awesome brother.

Read the review of Kill All Kings @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/channel-zero-kill-all-kings/

www.channel-zero.be

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

Channel Zero – Kill All Kings

Channel Zero - Band Photo 2014 #3 - Photo Credit Tim Tronckoe

The first release since the untimely death of drummer Phil Baheux, Kill All Kings from Belgian thrashers Channel Zero is a worthy tribute to their friend and one of metal’s rigorously stylish stickmen. The loss of one of the Brussels quartet’s founders understandably almost brought the band to an end but honouring him by not giving in to the obvious temptation to call it a day for the second time, Channel Zero has unleashed an album which simply sees the band draw on all its undoubted craft and invention to create a captivating and thrilling encounter. It is not an album to set new templates or plateaus for thrash metal but like a safe and rewarding friend hits the sweet spot of wants and satisfaction for a thoroughly enterprising engagement.

Formed in 1990, Channel Zero pushed themselves into world recognition across the next seven years through their potent groove infested thrash sound. The period saw four well-received albums with Unsafe of 1994 and Black Fuel two years later especially acclaimed, whilst in between those particular releases and amidst a clutch of successful EPs, the band played around the world, touring with the likes of with Megadeth, Danzig, and Biohazard as well as playing numerous major European festivals. 1997 though saw the band call it a day but fevered support for the band from fans continued, eventually going some way to persuading the band to get together and return with a one off live performance at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. That was the plan but with the show sold out in a minute, the further five added devoured in less than two hours, and the shows all a major success, the band in many ways had no choice but to unite for a full return. Fellow founders, bassist Tino Olivier de Martino and vocalist Franky De Smet Van Damme alongside Baheux and newcomer guitarist Mikey Doling (ex-Soulfly), who replaced original Xavier Carion, after a series of singles created and unleashed their fifth album. The 2011 Logan Mader (ex-Machine Head, Soulfly, Devildriver) produced Feed ‘Em with a Brick was wrapped in praise by fans and media alike, putting the band back on the front foot though the sad passing of Baheux from a rupture of an artery in 2010, made the band contemplate stopping again.

Thankfully Channel Zero decided to carry on in honour of their brother and last year set about working on Kill All Kings with again Channel Zero - Kill All KingsMader. With Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour, Soulfly) providing the drums for the recording, the album is a fitting tribute to the memory of Baheux and a new chapter in the sound and future of the band. From the opening Dark Passenger, band and release ignite ears and imagination, with feet and neck muscles in close order. Guitars rustle up a sonic mist and a portentous atmosphere before erupting in tandem with crisp punchy beats and jagged riffs, into a transfixing heavy stride. Bass and guitars carve out a magnetic lure, the first especially gripping with its throaty predation, whilst the rhythms swing with sinewed urgency as the excellent voice and delivery of Van Damme roars with an appealing growl and melodic enticement. There is nothing dramatically new about the song in respect to its seeding genre but still makes a compelling and anthemic introduction to light ears and emotions easily.

There is also an immediate and understandable emotive passion to the track, especially vocally, which just as potently spices up the following Electronic Cocaine. The initial winding embrace of acidic grooves and meandering basslines leads a ready appetite into a slower but no less captivating stroll of rapacious riffs and vocal coaxing. It is riveting bait which lays down the perfect terrain for the contagious and gloriously alluring chorus to break out from. The exceptional song continues to stomp and sway, entwining both within its inventive melodic casting and rhythmic incitement to prove an imaginative and imagination sparking treat which is swiftly matched by the more voracious Burn The Nation. Beats and riffs are antagonistically besieging ears from the start, vocals soon employing their own animosity lined encouragement to thoughts and emotions. As its predecessor, the track embraces a melodic toxicity which is as drawing and gripping as the insistent rhythms alongside a great bass sculpted lure.

Both Digital Warfare and Ego keep the album in the heart of eager attention and greedy hunger, the first fuelled by an old school thrash rapaciousness bringing thoughts of Exodus to the fore whilst its flirtation of grooves and drama clad invention creates a rich incendiary hue for the core of the song to charge masterfully through to seduce the passions. It is another scintillating proposition which is matched by the emotive prowl of its successor with its Metallica like gait and fiery resourcefulness in melodies and rhythmic agitation. As with all of the major peaks across the album, it is the impossibly contagious and invigorating anthemic potency of the track which turns excited embers into flaming ardour, a vibrant bed stoked further by the strong guitar craft and imagination aligned to intriguing inventive adventure.

Across Crimson Collider and the title track, the album seems to settle into a more emotionally driven but less openly exploratory premise. The pair of tracks certainly retaining the album’s grip on thoughts and emotions with ease whilst treating ears to powerful and creatively magnetic propositions but the spark of adventure is lessened by a more expectations feeding aspect to the songs, that safe feeling mentioned previously washing over keen hopes. To be fair both tracks do have body and mind caged within their infectious designs ensuring pleasure and involvement is still leading reactions, though even that meanders a little with the imaginative but ineffective balladry of Brother’s Keeper.

Things move in the right direction again with the predatory stalking of Army Of Bugs if without sparking a riotous hunger, the bass and scything riffs especially alluring alongside the great malevolent growl crawl of Van Damme’s delivery. It is a compelling and enticing track which triggers an expulsion of and return to the gripping unpredictability and instinctive adventure which started the album off. Mind Over Mechanics bristles with muscular confrontation and rhythmic demands to enslave ears and thoughts whilst a sonic web from the guitars courted by melodic flames, colour song and emotions with a rich fascination and enjoyment. It is a formidable provocateur with addiction forging properties just as the following tempest Duisternis. Sung in his own dialect, Van Damme seduces and cages ears in a blistering weave of vocal temptation wrapped in a similarly enslaving bass taunting and riff nagging. With rhythms a concentrated swing of primal rabidity, the track is raw voracious metal at its.

The closing Heart Stop brings the album to an ear capturing conclusion if again not quite matching some of its fellow storms on the album. Like Kill All Kings as a whole though, there is an underlying potency which refuses to let attention and rich satisfaction waiver and look elsewhere, its emotive drama as pungent as the creative skills at work. It is a fine end to an excellent album, not a release to set new standards but an encounter to place Channel Zero back to the fore of European thrash and more importantly to provide one of the most enjoyable metal albums this year so far.

Kill All Kings is available via Metal Blade Records now!

www.channel-zero.be

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com