Inwolves – Involves

inwolves-front_RingMasterReview

In music the imagination needs feeding as much as ears and that is certainly what Involves masterfully achieves. The new album from the dark cinematic invention of Inwolves, the release takes the listener on a host of individual journeys and sonically eventful adventures which, whilst carrying their own suggestive dramas, sparks the mind to create its own imagined exploits in tandem. It is one of the most fascinating and provocative collections of aural experiences and sonic explorations for thoughts and emotions to immerse in, and in turn one of the most beguiling listens in a long time.

The project consists of Karen Willems, previously a drummer for a.o. Yuko who has also worked with Dirk Serries on Cycle and the Zita Swoon Group among several side projects, alongside Jürgen De Blonde and Ward Dupan. Their sound draws on the inspiration of seventies “kosmische musik” as it ventures into explorations of electronic and spatial soundscapes drawn from the predominant palette of drums, guitars, and synths textures. To be honest listening to Involves shows that any attempted hint to their music is persistently redundant as each track comes, infests, and seduces the imagination with its own uniqueness. To put it simply, the band creates expansive tapestries of sound and styles which certainly our interpretations can only attempt to provide a clue to.

Involves opens with I Va Va Vimedoom, an initially shadow wrapped persuasion swiftly engaging ears and thoughts with its melancholic synth cast entrance. There is a childlike innocence to the single melody courting the darker hues, though it soon, as the senses, enveloped by the portentous electronic smog that rolls in like stormy invasive clouds. Peace becomes tempestuous, emerging finally again to stand as that lonely initial charm within an absence of everything which shaped its birth.

It is a magnetic thought provoking start, though further contemplation is put on hold as Minimal steps forward next to bewitch and seduce. From its post punk scented electronic opening, exotic melodies and rhythms jostle for attention; eventually sharing ears as a south west Asia flavoured tempting wraps the senses and imagination. Closing eyes and allowing thoughts to wander brings a personal flight across Abyssinian and Mesopotamian landscapes but one surrounded by lurking dangers and encroaching dark times which in turn leads to thoughts to the destruction of ancient sites by modern terrorism.

The track is irresistible, as too is the following sinisterly toned Vladimir. The track is again an imagination nurturing episode on the album’s creative narrative. It easily incites mental and emotional involvement as its popping beats become entangled in a dark web of sonic and suggestive intrigue which blossoms around them. There is a kinetic virulence to the rhythmic shuffle also gripping attention before the track suddenly turns on its head and swims with synths into a dark bluesy and increasingly intensive devouring of the senses. There is a sixties hue to its controlled yet intimidating new tempestuousness, Procol Harum coming to mind initially as streams of orchestral and gothic flames rise up to evoke further persuasion upon the listener.

Strange Waltz provides exactly what its name implies; its opening muggy sonic climate eventually descending into clarity and a slow and flirtatious but again sinister three step shuffle as darkly romantic as it is emotionally apocalyptic, and ridiculously compelling. Maybe not the intention but the instrumental plays like a death dance within the imagination, suggesting and enthralling before the cosmopolitan business of Intown takes the listener down a whole different highway. Krautrock and slimline but pungent industrial essences converge on ears, the analogue embraced romancing of the recording, as across the album, memory provoking as too the bordering on obsessively rhythmic prowess which invites thoughts of bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! to the hypnotic endeavour.

Involves is completed by firstly, the invasively dark and increasingly distressed and psychotic Dirty Monks, a track unleashing a maelstrom of tortured voices and souls within its cathedral spawned ravenously shadowed depths. Its suffocating majesty subsequently makes way for the closing suggestive alchemy of Be Kind. The track is a cosmically spiced venture with Devo-esque tones to its electronics and Landscape like mystique to its discord and melody woven spatial drama. It is also another enslaving attention as it leads ears into a revolving flight of intimate and broad aural stimulation, every turn fresh from the previous with vocals an extra stirring spicing to the array of captivating textures.

It is hard to accurately describe Involves or its individual temptations but fair to say each will feel a unique experience for every singular exploration into a band which specialises in creating, to borrow the last words of their press release, “a world of endless possibilities.”

Involves is out now via Consouling Sounds and @ http://inwolves.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 30/03/2016

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Eleanora – EP

Eleanora

Fresh from their impressive appearance on a 10” vinyl split with Amenra this past April, Belgium quintet Eleanora unleash their own provocation simply called EP. Comprising two of the fiercest, sonically disabling, passion drenched incitements possible, the release reinforces an already feisty buzz around the band whilst unleashing another healthily gripping onslaught of their emerging might. It is raw and uncompromising, a voracious intrusion from the Ghent band’s inspiring recipe crafted from intensive sludge and hostile hardcore, and though not the easiest of listens undoubtedly an experience which leaves an invigorating impression.

Consisting of Mathieu Joyeux, Jeroen De Coster, Christophe De Ridder, Stijn Witdouck, and Robin Broché, Eleanora boils up a rage which has plenty to satisfy the wants of fans to the likes of the aforementioned Amenra and Amera through to others such as Converge, Botch, and Isis. Fifteen maelstrom driven minutes across two tracks, their release is prime lyrical and sonic causticity starting with the outstanding Mammon. From within a sonic veil which intensifies with swift hunger, guitars and vocals roar to score ears and graze senses. It is a brutal entrance driven by fearsomely antagonistic rhythms and quickly established acidic grooves which inflame the imagination and emotions. It is a tempestuous enticement but one with virulence pouring from every aspect of its bait, riffs and vocals a scourge upon the senses and the evocative grooving an ungracious but compelling seducing. As expected venom and bile oozes from the provocation, indeed flowing profusely from the vitriolic vocal squalls as syllables and raw passion burn with every outpouring. It is the hooks and grooves though which set the track apart, their similarly malicious intent and potency a tempering and psyche colouring temptation to the sonic and rhythmic violence. It is a tremendous fury and almost alone makes Eleanor a protagonist destined to be under eager scrutiny.

The second song on the release is Amenable, an equally bruising and breath-quenching assault. Its abrasing start flickers with sonic flames and portentous rhythms smothered in the heavy dark tones of bass. It makes for a dramatic and thickly emotive introduction which permeates ears and pores with a doom bred, sludge fuelled oppressiveness. Though not as enslaving and addictively attractive as its predecessor, the track instantly captivates the imagination and provides a torturous canvas for its ideation and invention to colour. A nagging repetitious crawl emerges early on too, its immoveable persistence adding to the tenacious enmity soaking every note and scathing vocal sprawl smothering the listener. Funereal in gait and ravenous in intent, the track is a masterful hypnotic persuasion, a pestilential predator bringing the EP to an impressive conclusion.

The release is sure to bring a new impetus and hunger to the acclaim already gathering around Eleanora and take the band into a sharper focused spotlight. It is early days but easy to predict that this is a band set to bring a new fire and appetite to [post] hardcore inspired intensive sludge rock/metal.

The Eleanora EP is available via Consouling Sounds and @ http://eleanoramusic.bandcamp.com/album/ep

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8.5/10

RingMaster 20/06/2014

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Maudlin: A Sign of Time

MAUDLIN-midres-kopie

    Maudlin is band which since forming in 2004 has never taken a step back from investigating and attempting to stretch the realms of psychedelic rock with imagination and startling musical intrigue. The release of their second album shows the band has not lost their adventure or gasp of exploring with inciting intent. A Sign of Time captures the imagination from start to finish whilst inspiring it to interpret its own passage of events within the release. The band challenges and provokes the listener constantly whilst rewarding their attention with a consuming expanse of melodic flames, dramatic rhythms, and muscular intensity. It is a thoroughly compelling release leaving one exhausted but equally invigorated.

The new release finds its roots in debut album Ionesco of 2008 which was based on a tale of a patient in the 1940s who had a transorbital lobotomy performed upon him by Dr Freeman, a man with no formal surgical training who performed in excess of 3,400 procedures and charging only $25 for each. It was a theme as dramatic and powerful lyrically as the sounds which held them and A Sign Of Time is no different. Looking at the same patient, his near death experience, and the emotionally impact of memories which make people who they are, the album is a progressive psychedelic storm of passion and invention smothered by a hallucinogenic atmospheric sea.

The album opens on the mesmeric yet abstract caress of Hours, a track with gentle soothing vocals skirted by whispered Promo_Cover_CDuncertainty and a brewing chilled atmosphere. It is a brief breath leading into She Whispers Treason, a senses plundering doom laded spread of intensity and heavy ravenous sounds. Instantly the bass of Yannick Dumarey opens up the darkest hungriest shadows to prowl the glorious melodic flames of guitarists Jasper Bullynck and Kris Vannecke. They both offer exemplary vocal harmonies to coax the listener further into the shadowed depths framed by the words and vocals of Davy De Schrooder. It is a potent and excellently dramatic full opening to the album which immediately triggers visual thoughts and emotions from within the heated fiery skies of the song.

The impacting ambience and textures of Lilith initially lies with a tender rub against the ear before evolving into a rigorous encounter with, as in the first song, the hard and evocative rhythms from drummer Davy Vandenbroecke framing the sonic and melodic colouring painting the canvas of the song. The track leans heavily upon the senses for the fullest of satisfaction before passing them on to the less intense but equally aurally prismatic A Perfect Sky of Black. Once more the impressive bass of Dumarey snarls and intimidates within yet another diversely painted realm of vibrant imagination and rich musical colour. It is a stunning blend of light and dark, fear and reassurance brought with expertise and inspirational grandeur.

The album continues to impress and thrill across its impassioned length with tracks like the exceptional Ride The Second Wave with its smouldering Type O Negative like presence, the totally hypnotic Goddess Of The Flame clad in a persistent gravelly bass groove, melodic fire, and haunting near vocal bedlam, and the sonically and emotionally kaleidoscopic Chasing Shades, immersing the listener in intense and riveting inventive craft.

The album ends on Turn To Seconds, a thirty five second course of static with a slamming dramatic finality to close the equally enthralling tale, it is a powerful end to a towering album. Released on Consouling Sounds, A Sign of Time is destined to be one of the most important albums of the year and Maudlin a band on the lips of most rock fans but especially those who find bands such as Neurosis, Type O Negative, Mastodon, and Pink Floyd are constants in their hearts.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

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Gorath: The Chronicles of Khiliasmos

Gorath

All good things have to come to an end, the course of even the greatest glories finding finality and so it is with Belgian post black metallers Gorath as they depart leaving in place their sixth and final album The Chronicles of Khiliasmos. The band over the years has made a major impressive and acclaimed mark on the genre with their progressive blackened experimental explorations and the new release is no different. It arguably is not the final massive adventure one might have expected for a farewell, an explosive and dramatic statement, but as a fully enveloping funereal outpouring the album impacts firmly on thought and imagination to be ultimately rewarding.

Formed as a one man project back in the nineties by Filip Dupont, the band found a real presence with their released demos in 2003 which led to the release of debut album Elite in 2005 with Black Owl Records. The following year saw The Fourth Era appear through Descent Productions, the cosmological themed release finding strong acclaim for its Mayan based concept. It was at that point that the band became a quartet and ventured out live to over the subsequent years, share stages with the likes of Foscor, Watain, Graven, Darkspace,  Mayhem, Dark Funeral, Shining, Dark Fortress, Nazxul, Gallhammer, Primordial to name a few. Misotheism came next in 2008 to again impressive responses which grew stronger still when MXCII was released two years later. The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos follows last year’s Apokálypsis – Unveiling The Age That is not to Come and finds Dupont alongside guitarist Bart Put, bassist Raf Meukens, and drummer Bart Vanderheyden, bringing band and overall concept to a conclusion timed with the prophesised end…

The ConSouling Sounds released album is made up of three chapters, a trio of doom soaked tracks which complete a legacy which wykrojnik  (3)will impact black metal for time to come. Khiliasmos I begins with a dawning stir of guitar and seemingly random sonic pulses, the track taking its time to extend to its full height. It is a teasing presence at first toying with expectations that are waiting for the track to unleash something, Soon the scowling growls of Dupont enter to rile up the air though still the track resists offering mere fluctuations of energy within its prowling doom lit engagement, the song remaining relatively subdued and content to provoke and evoke reactions through intelligently inciting craft and imagination. It is the little incursions which invite the imagination to play within the track, the distant vocal sirenesque harmonies and insidious tones of Dupont within the exhausting repetition of riffs and intensity, distracting whilst igniting further responses to fine effect. The track possibly out stays its welcome before its ten minutes finishes with the senses, though the last couple do evolve into an acidic melodic stance which fires up the intrigue.

Khiliasmos II is a hungrier and more aggressive encounter, vocals and sounds bringing a surer thicker intensity and malice to their gait. The emerging groove brings an infectious lure to the song which within its first moments already has a stronger grip than its predecessor. The barbs of the track in hooks, grooves, and vocal additions, ensures a welcome compliance to its demands with the drums of Vanderheyden and guitar invention of Dupont and Put a magnetic pleasure. The track is easily the best on the album making a thrilling bridge between the opening and closing blankets of doom driven atmosphere. It at times makes for an uncomfortable listen as one immerses within with relish, but at the same time contrasts the vast and in comparison underwhelming pieces surrounding it perfectly.

Closing the album, Khiliasmos III is a massive soundscape of sonic clouds and vocal storms again brought with a labouring but compelling presence. At twenty minutes long, the track like the first maybe pushes its limits but does make every second of its encounter an impacting yet magnetic weight on the ear. There are small offerings of melodic respite for some alleviation from the incessant and oppressive blackened heart of the release but like the opener has its own emotive and imaginative aspects which makes it never less than provocative and like the album as a whole ultimately rewarding.

The Chronicles of Khiliasmos is a strong and satisfying release though it falls short of certainly the previous two albums from the band. It is still a worthy farewell from a band which has pushed black metal to strong levels over the years and will ensure whatever the members do next there will be an eager audience waiting.

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RingMaster 30/11/2012

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