The beating of shadowed wings and inflamed hearts: introducing Darkstone Crows

Darkstone Crows_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Darkstone Crows is a fresh metal bred fire on the Toronto music scene with a sound which simply demands attention. Now as they prepare their debut album for release later in the year, the quintet is beginning to poke at ears and spotlights further afield. With thanks to the band, we take a look into the heart and creative passion of alternative metallers…

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Chanel Martins-lead vocals, Nick Sawicki and Jiv Marshall-guitars, Russ Shipman-bass and backing vocals, Matt Skypas-drums.

Jiv and Elle started the band back in 2014 and went through a bunch of line-up shuffles. Russ joined in July 2014, Matt was February 2015. Nick replaced our last guitarist in January 2016. We’re just a group of friends making metal music, we want to do it the best we can and not cut corners, really make a work that we can be proud of, that means something.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Russ, Matt and Nick have been involved with bands before, and Chanel has been singing since she was four years old. We all bring something from our experiences to the table but we’re learning a lot as well so our personal style has evolved with the music we’re making.

Russ: I’ve been in a ton of bands before Darkstone Crows, but I would have to say that my first real band (Get!Wise punk-metal, 2008-2013) was very influential on my ethics and approach to songwriting. I learned to jam and to listen to the other players in the band, to build and to lock into groove. I wouldn’t say that any other band I’ve played in before had any direct impact on what I’m doing now.

Elle: No bands, but I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of contemporary music and lessons since I was four years old. Discovering metal definitely made my previous training and experience have an impact on my current endeavours, in a backwards way.

Jiv: Nothing really.

Nick: Prior to the band I was just working out in the gym and studying hard in school. I write and produce a lot of my own music as well, so I was into that before this.

Matt: I was involved in a small band before, nothing too serious, but it set my mind on where I wanted to go and led to where I am now.

Any particular story or inspiration behind the band’s name?

The shared inability to utter a complete sentence without stumbling over our swollen tongues…The name was discovered by accident. Jiv stumbled over her words while saying the original idea “Dark Storm Crows” and said “Darkstone Crows” and we all liked it.

Photo by Carey Costa

Photo by Carey Costa

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the initial birth of the band was Jiv’s brainchild, her original concept follows:

Jiv: Initially we were called “Pariah”, and the meaning behind the name was to represent a band that wrote songs for people who felt like social outcasts. Even though Darkstone Crows still speaks of injustices lyrically, we identify with a broader collection of movements and issues with many varying opinions. For me, I was very engrossed by the female punk movement of the 1970’s, so I wanted to create an all-girl punk band. My musical approach was very raw and simplistic. But obviously, as musicians grow and change the music changes with them, especially when all the different members offer their own influences. As we grew together, our exposure to different music exploded, even as our vision, direction and music did too.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

The same things still drive us and many more things as well, we’re constantly finding inspiration around us, and there’s a real drive to succeed and explore, to push boundaries that keeps driving us forward.

[Equally, things have] definitely evolved, but not to the point that we lost sight of what the end goal was. We want to travel the world, bring our music to as many people as we can, make our mark too, and have fun doing it.

How would you say your sound has evolved since starting out?

Our sound was very raw and stripped down, influenced by a lot of older rock and metal; from bluesy rock/metal in the early days to the pseudo-progressive alt-metal it is now, though we haven’t removed many elements of our early sound, but sculpted around them and experienced different types of rock and metal and how they can meld together tastefully.

Has it been an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both inherent in the evolutionary process; we’ve become better musicians and writers so that was a very organic growth and a natural evolution. We naturally started writing differently as we expanded our playing, but there was a definite wish to push in different directions that we acted on. The better we got, the more comfortable we got, the more our music grew in complexity. Of late, since our initial guitarist left and Nick joined, we have been deliberately shaping our sound. He’s especially good at listening to ideas and improvising, so that has been a big step forward.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approaches and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Periphery definitely cap the list, to a lesser extent Halestorm, Slipknot, System of a Down, and Tool have been big influences on our sound.

Definitely Halestorm, Slipknot, and Periphery, all those bands are wild performers and incredible musicians as well, truly inspirational.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Just try not to think too hard, and keep our minds open and concentrated simultaneously. Gold nuggets of music could come from the strangest things and at the weirdest moment. It could be an elbow knocking the strings a certain way that produces unique feedback that kicks off a whole song, you never know.

Usually we start with a riff and build around it, adding other parts that fit nicely and connecting the different parts afterwards. Once we establish parts and the vocal melody is written lyrics are drafted and we start fine-tuning.

Where are inspirations to the lyrical side of your predominantly songs drawn?

 Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Anything around us, in our world, any thought, any emotion, cause and effect, pertinent global issues like the environment, war, famine, and poverty. Personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, ire, rage, depression, euphoria, and victory. Our songs are very dark in mood, however not necessarily darkly worded (although more often than not darkly worded).

Predominantly Jiv, and Russ write lyrics, Jiv takes ideas from injustices she see in the world around her, the media, while Russ’ lyrics hit closer to home and tend to be more metaphoric in content.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our newest release, our first full length album, is going to be available later this year (we’re aiming to release it in October). We’re currently recording and producing the album ourselves and it’s going to be massive. This album is very different from our debut EP (Darkstone Crows, June 2015), it’s much sleeker, the songs are more complex, and we’re incorporating far more instruments, as well as some feature performances. You’ll experience a more broad sonic adventure that delves into many facets of rock and metal. Our first EP, which was recorded and mixed by Dr. Sean at TRH Studios in Scarborough, CA, is much more raw; recorded stripped down and very loud. There is a punk aesthetic to this EP, hiding behind the pounding rock beats and shredding guitar solos. Definitely an honest, solid debut, perfectly illustrating the drive and hunger we were feeling at the time.

Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album’s themes are directed at injustices around the globe, from the environment to civil rights, as well as a couple that delve into the human mind and touch on addiction or mental illness.

[In regard to the first EP] Hell To Pay was written in opposition to police brutality (this was written back in 2014, before any major organizations like BLM were even founded). Easily the darkest song on the record, and still one we play today. Sidewinder, so named after the missile and the desert snake. An apt title, as this song was written near the conclusion of the coalition occupation of Afghanistan that began with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, loosely referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories but more importantly expressing outrage at a protracted military occupation. Deadhead is an ode to street kids and the homeless struggling to scrape a living and fight their demons every day. Fathoms is our salute to the men and woman who come out to our shows, who we’ve met and befriended, partied and laughed with. It’s about the feeling of hitting the stage and having really awesome people love what you’re doing, and scream the words back at you over the PA system.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

For the most part we write before the studio. Only recently, with a home studio being acquired, were we able to implement recording into the writing process. It has many benefits, not the least of which is it’s now almost impossible to forget parts! It’s worked both ways for this record, plenty of trial and error, but with such high costs to record in studio we like to be prepared to nail those takes.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Our live shows are full of energy, we try to project our excitement onto the crowd, even joining them in the pit occasionally. We’re constantly in motion and want to turn up and just go for it. If you come to our shows, expect to meet at least one of us in the crowd. We aren’t afraid to get close to our audience, mosh with our guitars, whatever it takes to get everyone having a good time. We try to put on a bombastic show, something memorable and huge. Showmanship isn’t out-dated yet, right?

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Every scene has an opportunity for a band, the trick is making your mark and being able to leave for a bit, tour around, and come back to find your mark still there. You have to make an impression on people, really work the excitement out of your audience.

Toronto has exploded recently, not on the metal front, but in the general vein of music, so that’s generated a kind of Mecca for producers and label reps. That being said, these guys aren’t necessarily looking for a metal band, which is cool because we have more to offer than just grinding riffage and double bass. We definitely have our foot in the door, but we’re still growing as a unit and brighter horizons await.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

It can definitely be a tedious task, continuously having to type updates and promote shows, mail out merch, upload photos/songs, the list goes on. But, if you love something, you’ll deal with the boring and the crap times because it will come back to you in the end. Social media is definitely helping us at the moment, not only are we diligent about it but we have the right people for the job. Matt is a brilliant graphic artist and designer and Elle is a promoter and Event Management student. All things good must come to an end, but global reach on social media hasn’t gone bad just yet. Bands these days should definitely invest the time into learning how to mould social media, it is invaluable. Anything has the possibility to become negative if overused or utilised improperly, the trick is the learn all you can about using social media and keep your content professional.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We’ve had it under wraps for a couple months now, but we are featuring the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft, keyboardist/vocalist of UK metal band Cradle of Filth, on two tracks from our upcoming release. So we’re pretty excited about that. Beyond that just more music and we’re beginning to shoot more videos as well, so following our YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJ2zCXgHfsnUurrge-UyoQ ) and Instagram (@darkstonecrows) will keep you up to date on that stuff.

http://darkstonecrows.wixsite.com/darkstone-crows   https://twitter.com/darkstonecrows   https://www.facebook.com/darkstonecrows

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

NG26 – Until My Heart Stops

NG26_RingMaster Review

In the hunt for some prime rock n’ roll which is maybe a touch low on major surprises but has all the attributes and invention, not forgetting rousing tenacity, to start a voracious stomp in a dance hall of wallflowers, then say hello to UK rockers NG26 and their new album Until My Heart Stops. Loaded with ten hard/alternative rock tracks soaked with metal aggression, the encounter is one accomplished and rigorously solid slab of heavy rock unafraid to flirt with melodic adventure or a nest of squirming grooves. Whether Until My Heart Stops will be the encounter to knock your socks off we cannot not predict but for an increasingly great and lingering time it is guaranteed to hit the spot.

The beginning of NG26 seems to vary, some reports saying it was the late nineties and other claiming around 2005 or so. Whatever the actual date, the Derbyshire quartet has risen from igniting the local rock/metal scene to sparking national awareness, primarily to their potent live presence and the release of the album Open Your Mind in 2011/12. Critically acclaimed by fans and media alike, the encounter spawned a trio of successful singles and just as eagerly devoured videos for each. More singles followed with praise and attention, as also the Devil’s Kiss EP of 2013, its tracks making a strong teaser for what now excites ears via Until My Heart Stops.

NG26 consists of two sets of brothers, Chris and Jon Topley, on vocals and drums respectively, alongside bassist Rob and sibling guitarist Rich Shaw, who also plays in Cradle Of Filth and the excellent Emperor Chung. It is a line-up soaked in experience which certainly explains the open tightness of songs and sounds fuelling the album, and is in rich evidence straight away as Never Enough sets things off in thumping style. A fanfare like flame of guitar is the first rich lure, quickly backed by plenty more in the shape of rousing riffs and scything beats. The snarling vocal tones of Chris, backed nicely by those of Rob, only add to the anthemic appeal brewing in ears, melodies and dirty harmonies adding their rich part to the infectious mix in matching potency. With a solo from Rich provides additional icing on the riot, the song simply sparks attention and a swiftly eager appetite.

NG26 cover_RingMaster Review     A blues scent spices the opening guitar enterprise of Daylight Breaks, but quickly expectations are left empty handed as the song slips into a mellow and reflective passage of vocals and enticing melodies, subsequently flaring up again to thrilling effect before going through the same magnetic cycle. The track does not quite have the same bite and rabid feel of the first in the end and in turn lacks finding the same success with personal tastes, yet it is a lingering and thoroughly enjoyable stroll setting up Save It For Me. The song unveils its own mix of alternative and hard rock which from a slightly underwhelming start, breeds a web of riveting grooves and agitated rhythms you would sell your granny for. The song epitomises the whole album in the way that whether individual tastes might not spark with particular moments of songs and release, something is always there on the horizon to stir up the passions again.

   Barely Breathe sparkles with technical and sonic resourcefulness next, its body somewhere between Alter Bridge and maybe Periphery, and constantly keeping ears and imagination on their toes before being outshone by Afterlife and its bordering on psychotic jungle of carnivorous rhythms and ravenous riffs, all bound in spicily caustic sonic vines. The track is a major highlight on the release, its rabid ferocity and imagination channelled through the irresistible skilled and hungry craft of all four members of the band.

A more restrained air covers the following Cease Fire, though it cannot defuse the gripping rapacity of drums and bass or the impassioned energy fuelled the satisfaction filling encounter. Again shocks are few but adventure and enjoyment thick, especially with the vocal twist late. The same can be said of Out Of My Life straight after, another track bursting with the impressive individual skills and potent songwriting on offer, though it too has to give sway to one more peak in the album. Little Indiscretions is the most rugged and cantankerous track on Until My Heart Stops, a blistering mix of groove metal and melodic rock ‘n’ roll especially expelling its most addictive strains of persuasion when it is belligerently growling.

As the album draws to a close, the excellent You Sold Me Lies provides an intensive and dramatic tempest of emotion and compelling endeavour whilst in ending things, Song For Mozaz offers a captivating ballad aligning the expressive tones of Chris to the piano and stringed beauty provided by guest musician Ryan Noon. It is a fine end to the highly enjoyable album, a finish which also shows the strength of the singer’s vocals which at other times do not get, for these ears, the most understanding production on the album, occasionally Chris’ delivery struggling against the swamping strength of the sounds around him. It is a smallish issue for the main and certainly disappears with his impressive presence in the last two songs.

Overall Until My Heart Stops is a highly enjoyable release which might not get the pulse racing as much as it might but definitely gets the appetite wanting plenty more, a success many dream of.

Until My Heart Stops is available now via Holier Than Thou Records @ http://holierthanthourecords.bandcamp.com/album/until-my-heart-stops

https://www.facebook.com/mightyNG26

RingMaster 14/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Alexanred – Rest After Result

alexanred_rest_after_result

Upon covering Non-Stop Non-Stop, the debut single from industrial metallers Alexanred near the end of last year, we admitted though the song strenuously impressed it was too early to make a judgement of the band as much as the potential seeded real anticipation for future endeavours. The release of new single Rest After Result brings two more songs into the equation and all the promise and thrilling attributes of that first song have now been reinforced and pushed on. The new release is a thumping and rousing anthemic roar of electro and metal invention, again not one diving into brand new undiscovered territories but a proposition to ignite imagination and passions with a predatory virulence.

Alexanred is the solo project of Finnish industrial metallers 2 Wolves’ guitarist/synth player Aleksi Susi. Formed in 2012 and taking influences from the likes of Rammstein, Lacuna Coil, Type O Negative, Cradle Of Filth, Paradise Lost, Septic Flesh, Rob Zombie, Prodigy, Autopsy, Nile and more, many of which loudly call out within both of Susi’s releases, the band makes a rigorously compelling persuasion with its raucous energies and ridiculously addictive qualities. As its predecessor, Rest After Result infiltrates the ears with a voracity and hunger which virtually stalks down thoughts and emotions, demanding attention and ultimately submission to its fiery charms. It is a predator of the senses but one which just as potently takes them on a stomp of electro adrenaline aligned to industrial rapaciousness within a web of metallic antagonism.

The title track launches its predacious crawl from a deep breath, electro teasing uniting with raw thrusts of guitar as beats place their heavy fingers into the mix. It is a menacing start which takes little time to remove the reins on a feisty energetic chorus spurned on by electronic urgency and melodic infectiousness. It is highly anthemic bait which is prepared to slip back into portentous shadows as the track slows back into its initial prowling intent, happy to lie there waiting for its moment to again fill and incite ears and passions. In many ways especially around the chorus there is a strong essence of early Ministry to the song, the time before Al got all macho on us, whilst the darker evocative and intimidating passages holds a Nine Inch Nails breath to their imagination.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which is straight away exceeded by the accompanying Effective. From its first second soaring melodies soak the flight of the synths whilst guitars and beats paint a sinewy aggressive canvas clad in shadows and challenging textures. Right away thoughts of Rammstein come to the fore through the vocal and muscular drama of the emerging song, but with evocative keys and unsettling twists in the gait of the song there is plenty to temper any over familiarity with the Germans. Feet, body, and neck muscles are soon given an intensive workout as the song pumps through their veins inciting full involvement though respite is given when the track unexpectedly and extremely pleasingly slips into a cavernous epically cast scenery. It has thoughts and imagination racing with pleasure before the previous inescapable toxicity merges with the new landscape for an exhausting climactic finale. It is a glorious track revealing more of the invention within Alexanred than arguably the other two songs from Susi together whilst continuing to seduce and infect a growing appetite for the man’s sound and imagination.

Rest After Result and Alexanred are not offering anything openly new in industrial metal but it sure is a frighteningly exciting proposition and that is good enough for us.

Rest After Result is available via Inverse Records now.

http://www.facebook.com/AlexanredFinland

9/10

RingMaster 22/05/2014

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Devoid – The Invasion

 

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     Formed in 2005, thrashers Devoid has emerged as one of the most noticeable and notable bands to emerge in recent years in Indian metal through their accomplished and commanding sound and their acclaimed debut album A God’s Lie. The Demonstealer Records released mix of thrash with a healthy shadow of death metal to its breath put the band in a brighter spotlight certainly at home if not quite as potently further afield. Now with the release of their impressive new EP, The Invasion, the Mumbai quartet has unleashed a darker, heavier, and more dramatically intensive declaration which could thrust the band into the widest awareness and recognition. Exploring more of their death metal brutality without diminishing the thrash endeavour and voracity which set the band’s rise in full flight, the release is an absorbing and ferocious encounter with a craft and imagination which intrigues and places Devoid onto a new lofty plateau.

    Starting out as a trio consisting of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Arun Iyer, drummer Shubham Kumar, and lead guitarist Keshav Kumar, with bassist Frank Pawar joining the following year, the band first made their mark by winning Campus Rock Idols, a big competition for rock and metal bands back then. Shows and tours with bands such as Demonic Resurrection, Bhayanak Maut, Myndsnare, Kryptos, Brute Force, and Infernal Wrath brought the band’s sound and presence into an eager and swiftly growing fanbase. 2010 saw the release of A God’s Lie as well as a tour across cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune with UAE death/thrashers Nervecell. Since then the sharing of stages with the likes of Cradle of Filth, Decapitated, and Sybreed has only cemented and accelerated Devoid’s stature in India and surrounding areas which The Invasion threatens to take to new climates. With line-up changes seeing guitarist Sanju Aguiar replacing Keshav Kumar in 2011 and Abhishek Kamdar coming in for the departing Pawar a year later, Devoid has evolved its sound and intensity into a stronger and darker yet just as contagious creative savagery; a powerful storm to thrill the full global presence of thrash metal.

     The release emerges with a provocative and atmosphere instrumental intro, a guitar shaped design filling intimidating and covertowering epically sculpted walls of sound. The acoustic caress which expands throughout the piece coaxes the imagination to dare a journey through the imposing and epic heights surrounding them, leaving thoughts exposed for the following ferocity which explodes in the shape of the title track. The opening narrative of the concept of the world under an invasive fury is expelled though a rasping vocal malevolence as punishing rhythms aligned to exhaustive riffery and sonic causticity lays welcome siege on the ear. It is a furious and compelling mix, the thrash heart and core of the song irresistible in its brutal consumption of the senses and the malevolent death bred breath of the track an insidious but potently alluring temptation. Opening up its melodic arms with a great solo and reducing the energy of the attack with an equally intensive yet more respectful thickly caressing ambience, the rage dissipates into a closing fade but leaves a lingering menace which is soon taken up by its predecessor.

    Pandemonium Is Over goes straight for the throat with even more dangerous and vicious rhythms in league with corrosive riffery whilst the excellent vocal squalls of Iyer are like lightly grained sandpaper and pleasingly abrasive and inciting. As the track impresses and steers a wide awake appetite for the EP into even greedier urges of hunger, it is fair to say that the band is not delving into new unexplored realms but still creates a proposition which is fresh and antagonistically eventful, a predacious chewing of the senses and imagination which stands aside of plenty of other bands uniting the two core essences of the band’s sound.

     To this point The Invasion is a tremendous adventure but soon given a new adrenaline shot of contagion and riveting hostility with Brahma Weapon and the hellacious closing track, The Grand Design. The first of the pair is an exhilarating and exhausting blistering of the ears, riffs insatiably hungry and acidic whilst the rhythms of Kumar are so accomplished and malicious in their bone splintering sculpting  that they hardly seem to break sweat, something the listener cannot say once drawn into the intensive tempest of addictive enterprise and sonic violence. The best track on the release it is almost matched by the EP closer, a song with a lumbering heavyweight presence and an almost Pantera like vehemence and ferocity to its stalking rabidity, musically and vocally. Crawling over the listener with an intrusive leering breath and potentially lethal sinews, the song never quite unleashes its full vitriolic energy but certainly increases its intensity and hunger allowing its fearsome rancor to soak every second of the outstanding quarrel.

      Expanding and exploring their previous more old school trash inventiveness, Devoid has moved into being an unpredictable and imposingly darker force. The Invasion suggests this evolution is still a work in progress making the band’s next proposition easy to highly anticipate whilst the EP declares itself an encounter all thrash metals fans should make.

https://www.facebook.com/devoidindia/

9/10

RingMaster 04/02/2014

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Morgue Orgy – The Last Man On Earth

    We play in a bandThe Last Man On Earth is one of those malevolent pestilences which rather than run and hide from its toxic virulence you just have to dive head first into the exhaustingly inventive depths of melodic blackened death metal. The debut album from UK metallers Morgue Orgy, it is a toxic torrent of maliciousness fuelled by a rabid expanse of intensively magnetic flavours and styles from within a brutally predatory imagination. It is mischievously psychotic, rampantly schizophrenic, and masterfully vicious and one of the most tempting rages of extreme sonic violations to come from the British Isles in quite a long while.

     Exploding from the darkness in 2008, the sextet from Birmingham has emerged as a tour-de-force at combining a diversity of sound and ingenuity into a melodic death metal proposition as shown by the album which bewitches and savages with equal intensity. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Abigail Williams, and Cradle Of Filth whilst sculpting their own unique acclaimed presence, the band has earned a fine and imposing reputation on stage. That encounter has taken Morgue Orgy to a slot at Bloodstock Open Air in 2010 as well as stages appearances alongside the likes of Anaal Nathrakh, Evile, The Rotted and many more. Debut EP, The River & I only enhanced their emergence as did its successor the Murders Most Foul EP which featured guest vocals from Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh. A release just as ripe with riveting and grand neoclassical keyboard seduction and crippling technically sculpted grinds as it is with blackened venom and melodic death corrosion, The Last Man On Earth is the declaration of a band at its imaginative height and fullest merciless malevolence, and you still feel that there is so much more to come from the band ahead.

     Across the album not a moment is wasted, ideas and twists spearing every minute if not second of every song with an adventure TheLastManOnEarthCoveryou can suggest is barely alive in melodic death metal elsewhere. As soon as the opener They Came From Outer Space hits the ear senses and imagination are swiped into action by band and sound. Lively classically bred keys embrace the ears at first whilst a warning buzzer makes a call of impending menace. It is an instant coaxing which suggests numerous possible paths ahead which the album may take without revealing which initially. The gothic breath of the entrance is the predominate lure but one which offers an Adams Family meets Cradle Of Filth like tease before the track  reveals itself fully. That is does with thunder rich rhythms and rampaging riffs stalked by a female spoken narrative. Again it is mere hinting until the song settles into a delicious stomp of tantalising sonic revelry and urgent intensity which in turn soon evolves into a melodramatic gothic waltz. Barely two minutes in and a canvas of multiple textures and hues have been laid to intrigue and disorientate. This is the way of the song, and album from start to finish, and one reason why both are thoroughly riveting. Halfway in and the vocals of Gray, backed by those of keyboardist Carter, savage air and emotions with an expected but again varied and eventful poisonous attack. It is a mighty introduction to the album soon backed up and at times surpassed ahead.

     Both 4 Days and Phantasms of March rampage vehemently across the sense’s landscape, the first a fury of guitar enterprise from Prok and Pence which sears and soars with artistic rabidity and primal savagery whilst the keys pulsate and swoop around the aggressive tempest with melodic rapture and temptation. Like the first and album as a whole, the track is a voracious flow of imagination and hostility which you cannot take all in on one or two listens but rewards intensively for all the extensive time spent in its caustic wrap. The second of the two is a slower bestial incitement at first but cannot not hold back the rapacious energy boiling up within and soon unleashes a rabid assault with guitars creating grooves which finger the passions and a rhythmic barracking from the lethally crisp beats of drummer Tom and the predatory throaty tones of Uncle Holloway’s bass which is instinctively addictive.

     The Last of the Summer’s Wine steps forward next soon diminishing thoughts of old men in childlike escapades with a horde of ferocious riffs and rhythmic bitch slaps which are subsequently aligned with melodic suggestiveness from the keys alongside crazed grooves and a guitar solo which only ignites greater submission for the impressive storm. To be honest it is impossible to describe every dramatic turn and rich bait provided by each song as with this one such the constant imagination and ingenuity of the release but we can reassure that it is something at times bewildering and always scintillating.

     The likes of Barnum & 399 and Castle Freak continue the strong encounter with the same flocking of ideas and intensive rhythmic barbarism, if without quite matching those early pinnacles, whilst splitting their storms is the excellent ruinous swagger of the pestilential 70 Dead pt 2: The Scarecrow of Medan. The track caustically engages and impresses whilst the piano and keys designed instrumental Waiting for the End is a glorious grandiose neoclassical aural painting to take a breath over and allow imagination and thoughts to reflect before the album’s finest moment viciously thrusts its jaws around the jugular.

    The Last Man On Earth (Diary of George) simultaneously is cultured and barbaric, vocals and rhythms merciless predators upon the senses whilst the guitars and keys cast a mesmeric if vitriolic haze over the damage. With a brilliant discord kissed sax wailing over and taunting the carcass of your sanity, the song is a blackened fury with a melodic harpy on its shoulder but one constantly twisting and evolving as it moves towards an expulsion of a riled almost hardcore brawl of vocal scowls and shouts over a punk spurred ferociousness. It is a stunning track and almost leaves the remaining songs an impossible task to follow but IT LURKS BENEATH!!! and Paradise irrepressibly and cantankerously in the case of the first make light work of the challenge.

   Closing on the enjoyable and impressively presented but less commanding In the Smoke of the Green Ghost, though that is again down to the quality elsewhere, The Last Man On Earth is an exceptional album.  There is little to raise up against it, though you suspect some will find it just too intensive and unrelenting in its inventive maelstrom. Released as a free digital free on Christmas Day and getting its official retail release on 13th January, Morgue Orgy may just have delivered the best melodic death metal release of the coming year. It is a tall order to follow for sure for them and the genre.

http://www.morgueorgy.co.uk/

10/10

RingMaster 13/01/2014

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Alexanred – Non-Stop Non-Stop

alexanred pic

Just in case in the Christmas rush you missed the release of the debut single from Alexanred, we thought we would give you a nudge to one contagiously addictive track. Non-Stop Non-Stop is pure industrial virulence, a pulsating infection soaked song which pounds the senses with anthemic temptation and captures the imagination with arguably not ground-breaking but fresh and magnetic irreverence. It is not a release which will have your thoughts and emotions stretched and lost in contemplation but unashamedly a song which skilfully and mischievously goes straight for the primal and rhythmic beast inside with a bait of tub thumping rhythms and coarse electronic wantonness.

Formed last year Alexanred is the creation of Aleksi Susi, guitarist/synth player of Finnish industrial metallers 2 Wolves. Listing influences which include the likes of Rammstein, Lacuna Coil, Type O Negative, Cradle Of Filth, Paradise Lost, Septic Flesh, Rob Zombie, Prodigy, Autopsy, Nile and more, some which you could almost guess from the single, Alexanred makes an undeniably impressive entrance with the Inverse Records released Non-Stop Non-Stop. It is never wise to make a full judgement of a band upon one song, every artist more often than not having one acceptable gem inside them whoever they are, but it is hard not to anticipate and suggest richly promising and thrilling things to come from the project ahead.

Still from 'Non-Stop Non-Stop' video

Still from ‘Non-Stop Non-Stop’ video

The opening seconds of the song alone incite full attention; they maybe clad in a simple rhythmic lure and a restrictive pulsing electro rub but there is immediate intrigue and temptation which takes hold. Barely another moment passes before the track is in full muscular stride, synths stomping with devilry dripping from every note as vocals taunt from the surrounding shadows. Once Susi makes his full vocal appearance the sounds show a restraint to allow his almost whispered provocation to wash smoothly yet sinisterly over the senses. Soon though, the song is thrusting out its imposing chest within a riveting rhythmic caging, exploding into an anthem of sound and epidemic vocal incitement to confirm the seduction of thoughts and emotions.  As mentioned the track is not really setting new boundaries but with a raw threat and empowering intent to its vocal and rhythmic barracking, and a virulent toxicity to its electronic suasion the single is pure irresistible temptation.

Like the bastard inventive son of a union between Rammstein and Rob Zombie, Non-Stop Non-Stop is the perfect appetiser to band and their horizons, something it is hard to wait for with patience.

http://www.facebook.com/AlexanredFinland

10/10

RingMaster 08/01/2014

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Eibon La Furies – The Immoral Compass

Eibon la Furies 3

It is fair to say that The Immoral Compass, the new and second album from UK dark metallers Eibon La Furies is not going to be for everyone and will possibly draw as many unfavourable responses as acclaimed ones. It is extreme metal in its most provocative though maybe not for the reasons you would suspect. Bringing black and avant-garde metal into a devious league with dark symphonic rock, the quartet and their album challenge emotions, rising up against thoughts and expectations to deliver an unforgettable encounter, though not always memorable for all the right things. At times the release pushes one’s limits over the edge with an almost deliberately obtuse proposition but all the time there is a toxicity which lures in the senses and brews an intrigue that is hard to ignore.

Formed as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Paul D Sims under the guise Lord Eibon Blackwood in 2006 and with the intent to create industrialised black metal and dark ambient music inspired by Victorian occult spirituality, Eibon la Furies released the demo EPs Something Wicked This Way Comes and Yours Truly…From Hell. The project next expanded to a trio with the addition of drummer Jamie Batt (as Battalion) and bassist Matt Cook (The Furious Host). Following an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2009 as the best unsigned progressive band, the threesome signed to Code666 who released their debut album The Blood of the Realm the following year. To help push their boundaries and creative ideas the band recruited lead guitarist Neil Purdy last year and set about writing their second album. The Immoral Compass is the result, a release which does have its ups and downs but is fuelled by riveting imagination and undeniable musical craft.

Inspired by the shadows in humanity the album is a melodramatic narrative lyrically and musically, its large melodic fires and sinew ELF Artworkdriven rhythms helping to sculpt songs which twist and turn on a whim and continually enthral like a sonic magnet. There are less successful times where you wonder what went wrong, but you never want to leave as when the album is on full song it is a dramatic rewarding beauty.

The opening instrumental intro The Compass Awakes is an evocative piece which paints an emerging dual sense of wonder and uncertain menace, the guitars and keys overpowering thoughts into creating their own dramatic revelation. The piece passes into the following Immoral Compass to the World, a track which takes an instant to cloak the ear in intensive guitar strikes and atmospheric keys from Sims whose vocals stand astride the emerging aural palette of suggestion with a gruff growl of a delivery. As the keys swoon and soar before the senses the track plays like a mix between Cradle Of Filth and The New Jacobin Club, but a paler version of what you would imagine their union to produce to be honest. Despite that the song is still a strong enough temptation to delve deeper into the album which repays with a mixed but persistently satisfying bag of adventure.

The opening song does instil one requirement when taking on the album, the need to engage in its confrontation numerous times before making a decision. There is so much going on in each track that you have to make many visits to dredge their depths and imagination, most emerging better and stronger the more you explore them as with second track Astronomy in Absences. From a celestial flight the song flexes its muscular riffs and even more ruthless rhythms, a thrash coaxed blackened tempest consuming the ear whilst the guitar of Purdy lights its skies with some stirring sonic flames and enterprise. The track does not exactly get the pulse racing but again there is plenty to investigate and devour for an increasingly greater flavour the more you immerse in its progressive temptation.     Imperial Jackal’s Head is the same though the song is the first more notable moment within the album. An initial almost like Rammstein call especially vocally, prowls along the galloping sonic blaze which cores the entrance of the song. A slip into a venom bred vocal tale puts a rein on things before expanding its evocative heat of melodic and sonic commentary. Musically the track boils impressively with hooks, grooves, and melodies all lingering treats but overall vocally the song does little to match the sounds, though at times they do work rather well.

The merger of beautiful potent classically shaped keys and again less satisfactory vocals marks Flames 1918 (A Song for the Silence) to give more doubts room to think but suddenly from this point the album seems rise many levels starting with An Enigma in Space and Time. Bordering hostility throughout whilst simultaneously being just compelling the track twists and turns through a maelstrom of textures, styles, and pace with a hunger and energy that intimidates and seduces contagiously. It crawls along the lips of rock opera it has to be said but with further impressive guitar work, rapacious bass lines, and flames of imagination the song is a pinnacle soon matched by both Who Watches the Watchers? and Conjure Me. The first swarms over the senses with a choir of glorious voices veined by dark hearted riffs and forceful rhythms before the serpentine grizzled tones of Sims add a delicious alien presence. It is a tremendous track, with only the flat sound of the drums something to moan about. Its successor dangerously beckons the ear with female siren calls whilst riffs and grooves swarm like hornets in her charm.  With familiarity to the predacious song which escapes definition it eagerly romps with a bedlamic breath and presence.

The sultry yet threatening voice of Ascending Through Darkness offers up another powerful encounter whilst the ballad The Vanguard with its spoken narrative and absorbing guitar elegance, just gets better with each listen, especially the folky march of rhythms and song towards its end. Final track The End of Everything… (Or the Beginning of it all) provides a closing wall of inventive and enthralling instrumental storytelling leaving thoughts and emotions wanting more of certainly the second half of the album.

The Immoral Compass is a very decent album that has to have time and patience to prove its case which for the main it does with strength and craft. Eibon La Furies may not have given us a classic release or one which you can take to immediately, but it is definitely an album given time which makes a companion you get the urge to return to.

http://www.eibonlafuries.co.uk/

7.5/10

RingMaster 27/08/2013

 

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