Murder FM – Happily Never After

murderfmcover_RingMaster Review

Murder FM is another band which over recent times has been the subject of enthusiastic talk, their live presence, EPs, and singles sparking increasing awareness on both sides of the Atlantic. Now the band is poised to release their debut album and show all what the fuss is all about. Happily Never After is a rousing proposition, a collection of skilfully crafted and creatively eventful songs that just seem to lure attention back time and time again. It is hard to say that the release constantly set a fire going in the passions or is going to send a major tremor through the metal/rock scene, but there is no escaping that Happily Never After leaves ripe enjoyment whilst making a potent springboard for future and bolder Murder FM adventures ahead.

Hailing from Dallas, the band has persistently enticed ears with their tenacious fusing of varied rock essences and industrial bred metal. Early singles alerted a great and increasing many to their presence, lures reinforced by a reputation gaining live presence and a host of impressive videos, all luring in fan and media appetites alike. Over time the band has supported and shared stages with the likes of Rob Zombie, Deftones, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Veil Brides, Korn, Sick Puppies, Lacuna Coil, Pop Evil and many more across the US and into Europe. More recently the quartet of Norman Matthew (vocals, guitar, programming), J6 (bass, backing vocals), Matt X3r0 (guitar, backing vocals), and Jason West (drums) signed with Famous Records Global for the world-wide uncaging of Happily Never After, easily the strongest step yet in the band’s continuing ascent.

MFMREVOLVER_RingMaster Review   The album opens with Legion, a track which is in no hurry to own ears but instantly springs a web of engaging rhythms and electro bait crowded with enticing vocal roars. It is a restrained yet compelling lure which is soon stirring up a nest of fuzzy riffs and electronic sizzling as vocals prowl and in turn launch the anthemic heart of the track. In no time the song has an air of Korn meets Dope to it but equally has a scent of artists like Marilyn Manson and Society 1 whilst creating what is not exactly unique but certainly an organic character of its own. It is a magnetic and blistering start to the album, a masterful trap which has ears and appetite on board ready for what is to follow.

We The Evil is the immediate proposition, it similarly brewing up an industrial seeded tempest of sound rife with sinew swung beats and grouchy riffs from bass and guitar. Vocally too, there is nothing but attitude as well as great diversity as the band, led by Matthew, all add their individual and eager tones. Even stronger Manson like colouring wraps the track as it stirs up the blood and imagination, powerfully backing up its predecessor without major surprises but plenty of tasty endeavours.

The bruising weight and carnivorous riffery of Last Breath captures ears next, the gnawing of guitar on senses swift infection which only increases as the band imaginatively slips into mellower melodic scenery. With vocals matching the slightly calmer waters, it is a tantalising twist which becomes part of a great revolving surge across the rest of the track through both textured extremes; its success emulated by the punk/alternative metal hued Machine Gun Kisses which again has a Korn-esque feel to its rapacious enterprise and contagious swing.

Four tracks in and Happily Never After is on a thick roll of adventure and persuasion, and as if it ‘knows’ full persuasion is in hand, from this point begins exploring far more boldly varied and unique pastures. Firstly Burn steps forward with a Deftones meets Cold like offering, to be followed by the grungier metal soaked Slaves, both increasing in sheer magnetism over time. The industrial nature of early songs is now a more distant whisper, as Murder FM shows more resourcefulness and imagination in songwriting and sound, it is still not game changing but brings a fresh unpredictability and spice to ears and release.

We get slithers of Black Veil Brides and My Chemical Romance in the classic/modern heavy rock shaped Lethal Lovers next, essences which just seem to work if adding open familiarity to proceedings, whilst Like Glass offers an electronic coaxing and evocative keys initially, before creating its own emotional and musical drama honed from the same kind of template as its predecessor. Neither track matches up to the songs before them but it would be unfair to say they left satisfaction and a want to hear more barren.

With Happily Neverafter and Rainy Day Parade, Murder FM again please without finding the key to stronger reactions, and for personal tastes Happily Never After plays like a release of two halves, the first a storming and irresistible anthem of sound and insatiable energy and the second though arguably the more creative theatre of invention and adventure on the album, after Slaves lacking the kick and incendiary elements to incite the same instincts and thus passions.

Completed by a corrosive remix of We The Evil by Tommy Lee, Happily Never After is nevertheless nothing but enjoyment from start to finish and easy to recommend all taking a good listen to at the very least. We can only think Murder FM will get bigger and bolder with every passing release as the potential in this first album is realised with fresh imagination and originality. A happy thought indeed.

Happily Never After is available from August 7th via Famous Records Global with worldwide distribution by Pavement Entertainment.

RingMaster 05/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Isolation Process – Self Titled


    Thick in sound, textures, and emotional presence, the debut self-titled album from Swedish alternative metallers The Isolation Process is a transfixing adventure which catches the imagination and ignites the senses. Expectations for the album were slightly on the high side looking at the pedigree of its creators and it certainly does not let those hopes and assumptions down, instead leaving them an underestimation of what emerges from the riveting release.

      The Isolation Process was borne from the ashes of Scandinavian alternative rockers Lingua, vocalist/guitarist Thomas Henriksson, bassist Anders Carlström, and drummer  Patrik Rydbrand from the group (and also of sludge metallers Come Sleep), continuing to write and create together after the band’s recent demise. With a heavier, darker, and slightly more progressive sound emerging, the trio recorded their debut album with Michael Nordström (Switch Opens, Lingua, Jesaiah) last year. Mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna, Khoma) the resulting proposition is a mouth-watering incitement aurally and emotionally. Released via Version Studio Records the nine track evocative journey merges beauty and intimidation, shadows and flames into a creative landscape which immediately enthrals and continues to intensify its persuasion over every listen.

     Opener A Simple Gesture takes no time in casting a voracious presence over the ears, riffs gnawing the senses as they chug the-isolaton-process-cover-300dpiwith an intimidating predation alongside a bass sound which is bestial at its core and wonderfully ravenous at certain moments. It is just a teaser to the enterprise to follow though as just when you expect to be chewed up from start to finish unrelentingly the band swoops into a fire of melodic temptation and soaring sonic endeavour which aligned to the impressive rich vocals of Henriksson simply captivates. Merging and alternating between the breath-taking sounds and climbing intensity, it is a skilled and fluid union of diverse textures, a masterful suasion which by its end has alone seduced the fullest attention and appetite for what is on offer.

    The following Visions is a different kind of creature right away, it’s gentle entrance, in comparison to its predecessor, a melodically bred coaxing which canters across the imagination as guitars stroke out magnetic chords and firm but respectfully rhythms frame the potent welcome. Into its stride with again great vocals wrapping every word and emotion around the striking sounds, the track unveils its sinews to create crescendos of intense incitement with again the bass producing a throaty rapaciousness which only deepens the persuasion. It is an anthemic slab of a song which like the first only strips any stability from remaining reservations, if any are still remaining.

     Underneath It All steps forward next and with a melancholic air to its beckon provides an emotive canvas to reflect and immerse within but one unafraid to erupt with volcanic force and passionate ferociousness from within the sirenesque melodic narrative. Not for the first time on the album there is an element of Stabbing Westward and Cold about the song which though adding a familiarity only enhances the potency of the bewitchment. Initially not as instant in its strength as the first pair it a song which just gets better and better every time it evokes attention, again just like the album.

     From the pleasingly sculpted and intriguing instrumental Inhale the album is back to snarling with a voracious rabidity through Victims of the Masses; the track a mentally invasive and emotionally provocative tempest of aggressive hunger and elegant beauty forged into a sonic landscape which is as rugged as it is mellow and as reflective as it is feverishly intensive. An adrenaline raising evocation, the song makes way for the scowling beauty of The Dead End, a giant of a track which roars with melodic passion and growls with rigorous bearing before it departs for the second instrumental Exhale to provide a breathing space. Both pieces of music are perfectly enjoyable but to be honest more allow time to process and reflect on what has come before than reveal any addition to the album’s objective no matter their intent. It is not their failure but just the power around them.

     It Will Burn and Nothing To Collect complete the immense encounter, the first arguably the most bestial track but again in league with a melodic flaming and sonic invention which radiates and sublimely tempers any unbridled aggression which other bands might succumb to. It is not the strongest on the album but still a moment to lose one’s satisfaction to before the final emotionally fuelled fury brings the album to a dramatic conclusion. A slowly burning but wholly convincing and absorbing storm of sound and intensity, the song momentously completes an album which it is impossible not to find a torrent of time for physically and emotionally. The Isolation Process has for these humble ears and thoughts created the finest moment of its member’s artistic journey to date, a gem of a release and a long term engagement.


RingMaster 10/01/2014 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Aries of Hellsaw

Austrian black metal band Hellsaw with their new album Trist, released a beast that demands and tests before it consumes and lays waste to the senses. Intensely powerful and completely devastating upon the ear the band has set the genre up for a mighty year if others can rival Trist. We had the chance to talk with vocalist Aries from the band about the album, songwriting and Hellsaw itself.

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly could you introduce the band and its members?

I am Aries, and I am one of the founder members and I handle the vocals, write the lyrics and the music.  Our two guitarists are Malthus and Isiul.  On bass we have Desderoth and on drums we have Neuroticon, a recent, and very welcome, addition to the band.

What were the beginnings of Hellsaw like; I believe you were initially just a duo?

We were yes.  Hellsaw was founded by myself and our then drummer Svart, with me handling the vocals, guitars and bass, so essentially we were a studio band at that point.  We knew what we wanted to do with our music, but we were really trying things out at this stage.

This did not include live shows or did they only come once you expanded the band line-up?

They came later.  Once we had released our first full length album Spiritual Twilight it became obvious that there was a demand for the band to appear live, and we knew that if we wanted to take the band to another level we would have to do that.  We first used a session line up, but we needed the commitment that comes from permanent members who can contribute to every aspect of the band, which is what we have now.

What was the drive and inspiration that inspired Hellsaw and has that changed over the years in any way?

To be as good as we can be at any given moment in time, and to continue getting better and better.  That will never change.

What were your influences that shaped your sound and personal musical developments?

We were influenced to become musicians by the Black Metal of the early 90s but that was just the catalyst really and I should point out that being derivative is not something we have ever aspired to.    It is very important for us as musicians and individuals to create and develop our own sound.  Obviously, as we grow in experience as musicians and performers there will be tweaks to that sound, but essentially it’s very much Hellsaw.

You have just released your new album, the impressive Trist; can you give some idea of what it has in store for new listeners to Hellsaw?

We recorded the album live in the studio, and I am sure that most people will realise how much more difficult that is to do as you have to get everything right in one take.  But we feel it paid off and that the listeners will get a sense of spontaneity and aggressiveness that is often missing in studio recordings.

How has the band evolved for you over the years from previous albums Spiritual Twilight, Phantasm and Cold?

We have obviously grown both as individuals and musicians, and the band has grown with us.  We have always known what we wanted from our music, but now we have not just the skills, but also, very importantly, the technical knowledge to be able to make it sound as we want it to sound.

Do you approach recording differently now to how it was for earlier releases?

Apart from the fact that we recorded this album live in the studio as I mentioned previously, these days we can go into a recording session better prepared in terms of knowing what will be required of us in order to get the sound we want.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

I do the majority of the songwriting, but the others will also contribute.  Once the song or the riff has been written it is a collaborative effort, with everyone having their say.  We all know our own and each others strengths so we can write or arrange accordingly.

Do you write with particular intentions especially for an album or is it always an organic process? The songs in a way creating their own direction as you write them?

It is very much an instinctive process. I would never sit down to write a whole album.  The inspiration has to come from within, and if something inspires me to write a song I will.

What triggers generally your inspiration for songwriting and is it the music or words that most often are the seed to songs?

Both.  I get my inspiration for several sources.  It could something that has happened to me or something I have witnessed, maybe an historical event that interests me, or even nature itself, but the essential factor is that my take on all this is skewed by the negativity that is inside of me, inside of us all as it happens.  Most people deny that they have this, whereas I make use of it.

With many bands there is a difference between their live and studio sounds, is this something you keep an eyes on or does your musically instinctively translate to bring an equal intensity in either arena?

I think there is always a difference between live and studio sounds, it is inevitable unless you travel with a massive amount of equipment and several sound engineers, and probably a lot of samples! As a band we really enjoy playing live because you have to approach how you play and how you present yourself in a totally different way, and it brings a whole different dimension to the music. Added to which there is the interaction with the audience.  You can see for yourself how they are reacting to the music and you can respond accordingly.  Audiences can differ widely in reaction, and you need to adapt to that.

The stunning Doom Pervades Nightmares is the track that hit deepest with us on Trist, could you give some background to it and its inspiration?

I do not really like to talk in depth about individual tracks, I really prefer the listeners to draw their own conclusions. Let us just say it reflects the kind of insanity that you feel when you are alone and at the mercy of something that you can not escape.

Your music is dark, intrusive, provocative and intimidating but what are the shadows that do the same to you as musicians and people?


There is a satanic element to the band though that term is a mere simple tag and I am sure just a small part of your wider personal beliefs, but when do these personal elements that must infuse into the band, become or evolve into the theatrical or visual part of Hellsaw?

The satanic element is largely due to the preconceptions that everyone has about Black Metal.  We are all atheists.  We do not believe in any form of higher being.  The theatrical element as you call it is a symbiosis between the music and the visual.  The one suits the other and they feed off each other.

How do you feel about the state of black metal right now?

It is really not for me to judge.  There are some phenomenally good bands around, and these are the ones who have an originality to their music and who have their own way of expressing themselves.  Then there are some really dire ones who think that Black Metal has to sound like the original bands from way back when, which, considering that the original bands themselves moved on from that sound a long time ago is a very limiting way of looking at things and just creates second rate copies.

What is next for Hellsaw?

We are about to head for Russia for the first time, for quite an extensive tour, so we’re very much looking forward to that. We can also announce that we’ll be playing at Extreme Fests in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, and at Walpurgis Metal Days, but obviously we are not allowed to mention any other appearances until they are announced.

A great many thanks for taking time to talk with us. Would you like to leave with a thought or idea that fires up your day?

Take the negativity that is inside of you and use it to create.

Trist is released via Napalm Records now!

Read the review of Trist

RingMaster Review 29/02/2012 Registered & Protected


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Hellsaw: Trist

Black metal comes in many malicious dark shapes and sizes to generally stretch and twist the senses. It is a genre that plays with fears, toys with emotions and intrudes with caustic effect, numbing and violating from the ear inwards. Austrian black metal band Hellsaw does this and much more. Their fourth album Trist, released February 24th via Napalm Records, is a blistered beast that eats away at the flesh, consumes all feelings and leaves one a scattered pool of depleted energy and numbed emotion. It is an album that one finds hard to know if they liked it as all that is left at the end of its extreme and unpredictable sounds is a shell devoid of being able to conjure rational thought, it is that demanding, consuming and powerfully effective.

Formed in 2002, Hellsaw influenced by early 90s black metal bands began their destructive ride with their debut release Sins of Might, this coming a mere few months after forming, and  first album Spiritual Twilight in 2005. The band drew and gathered up strong attention, their uncompromising sounds setting them apart from other similar bands. Initially a project consisting of just drummer Svart and vocalist Aries, who also took the guitar and bass roles, the band had to evolve and began touring throughout Europe with session musicians, the expanded band garnering more solid acclaim and growing fan base. Subsequent albums Phantasm and Cold, this their first with Napalm, increased their musical stock and popularity. Guitarists Malthus and Isiul as well as bassist Desderoth were now permanent members of the band and the full force of Hellsaw being unleashed as shown with Trist.

The album is a gnarly beast, a release that rips at and abuses the senses with an evil intent that is openly and proudly carried like a flag of combat. Trist runs with traditional black metal sounds a lot of the time but avoid predictability by veining it with unexpected and intelligent intriguing diversions. It teases and taunts, never giving you what you assume, and just when it looks like becoming slightly formulaic the album will turn on its tail and writhe with something unexpected and diverse. It is these touches which makes the album worth full attention throughout.

The Devil Is Calling My Name opens up the infernal damnation of the senses, though at first its slow awakening is a deliberate falsehood to entice and beckon. As soon as one is hooked the track explodes into scorched riffs and a flurry of bullying drumming. The rasping vocals of Aries spew every word with acidic venom, coating the lyrics with sonic bile complimenting the razor sharp guitars. The song is malevolent, the bass of Desderoth lingering behind the assault of the guitars to grab its prey periodically, though that is more due to the fact that at certain times it is hard to consistently hear the growling basslines.

It is an impressive start to an album that maintains a strong level throughout but with definite peaks in the likes of the brilliant Doom Pervades Nightmares, A Winter Cold, and the imaginative closer Silence. The first of the three is an excellent nasty aural corruption, and the first of the more varied tracks offered within Trist. The groove and razor sharp guitars slice through the senses whilst the grouchy basslines are insistent and intimidating. Aries is pained and bitter, his demonic delivery distressing and enticing, a force as potent as the sounds. It is when the track steps off track into a melancholic mandolin led instrumental climax that the song truly unveils its beauty and uniqueness.
A Winter Cold is part chant, part frosted celebration, and all direct bitterness. The song is less about the violent assault than the creative melodic grandeur the band can also summon. At times it ventures into a blackened thrash sound that is inspired and a welcome diversity. Silence brings a wonderful melodic opening song but soon erupts into a full on confrontation but still with a melody driven core that is impressive, further proof that Hellsaw are musicians that can write and realise well crafted songs of blended beauty and malevolence.

The album does have its flaws, mainly in the drums production which is annoyingly tinny, and the slightly predictable vocals of Aries. There are moments one wishes his delivery was as diverse as the sounds within Trist. Despite those things, which are more personal preferences, the album is an impressive release that puts recent black metal releases in the shade. It is creative and at times adventurous within the defined limits of the genre, it is also ultimately enjoyable.

Ringmaster 20/02/2012 Registered & Protected


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