First Signs Of Frost – The Shape Of Things To Come

Pic Ben Ashton

The Shape Of Things To Come is the first EP since British rock band First Signs Of Frost emerged from a hiatus a couple of years back; its title as much a declaration of the fresh blossoming sound and creative chapter within the band as the themes it explores across five absorbing tracks.

Formed in 2004, the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Owen Hughes-Holland, guitarist Adam Mason, drummer Will Gates, and bassist Dan Oehlman grabbed keen attention with their debut EP, In Our Final Chapter. 2007 saw Daniel Tompkins join up as lead vocalist before the acclaimed release of first album Atlantic and a period see the band play alongside the likes of Deaf Havana, Enter Shikari, Architects, You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Senses Fail, Devil Sold His Soul and many more. Before the fuss had settled around the release, Tompkins left to join TesseracT. His departure left a gap the band struggled to fill; thus their hiatus until Hughes-Holland resurrected the band in 2015. Linking up with Mason again as well as bassist Andy C Saxton (ex-Cry For Silence), vocalist Daniel Lawrence (ex-Kenai / All Forgotten), and drummer Alex Harford, the London quintet immediately sought to explore and push their sound to new imaginative heights with The Shape Of Things To Come the first glimpse of their success.

Immersing inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, Further Seems Forever, and Glassjaw into their invention, First Signs Of Frost swiftly lures ears with opener Meat Week. Its atmospheric calm is a quick enticement, the gentle caress of guitar a matching lure before the brooding air also there sparks a bolder expulsion of sound. Lawrence’s vocals immediately impress, his melodic expression matched by the colluding warm and wiry textures of the sounds around him. An infectious energy is equally as persuasive within the song, every element bold without being forceful but making a strongly emotive and technically alluring temptation on ears and imagination.

The following White Flag potently backs up the great start; its enterprise similarly resourceful and ear catching without making over aggressive trespasses upon the senses. There is elegance to the First Signs Of Frost sound which charms as the craft of the individuals captivates; again making for a gentle almost smouldering seduction carried in a contagious and skilfully conjured proposal.

Latest single Look Alive Sunshine is next up with its own individual melodic rock venture veined by djent scented progressive metal intricacies. There is jaggedness which bites as the vocals and melodies hug the senses; a union which grips and lingers even if the song just fails to touch the plateau of its predecessors before the evocative climate and atmospheric ambience of Atlantis drifts in with the superb vocals of Lawrence and keys to the fore. An instinctive emotional intensity rises within the song, simmering down again before repeating its cycle within the graceful serenade.

The EP closes with Sharks; it too an initially serene coaxing but one soon revealing its djent nurtured teeth and creative volatility within a subsequent sea of melodic and technical but emotionally inflamed tranquillity. It is a fine end to a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable release. The Shape Of Things To Come feels like the first step towards something bigger and bolder but is a full pleasure in its own right; a mix which makes First Signs Of Frost a band which just has to be followed closely.

The Shape Of Things To Come is out now via Basick Records and available @ https://basick.supplies/collections/first-signs-of-frost or http://music.basickrecords.com/album/the-shape-of-things-to-come

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017

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TesseracT – Polaris

TESSERACT_RingMaster Review

Lost in the beauty and technical magnetism of Polaris, a trio of thoughts leap forward to lead the increasing enjoyment and personal plaudits brewing up for the album. Firstly this is without doubt a typical TesseracT proposition, but not in any way one dosed with predictability or repetitious emulation of past triumphs. Their third full-length has the bands unmistakable presence and imagination, their renowned craft and riveting bold adventure, all colluding to create a brand new journey of creative evolution leading to expansive yet fiercely intimate discoveries.

Secondly like the creation of a painting, each track within Polaris plays like a layer upon layer; each individually standing alone but uniting to cast a rich and fully immersive landscape of emotive and provocative sonic incitement. They are textures to a whole which can be explored singularly or as one fluid movement across a record which just fascinates and transfixes at every turn.

The final leading thought is that everything seems right with the world as the returning voice of singer Daniel Tompkins caresses and roars in ears. As impressive and thickly important to past successes that previous vocalists Elliot Coleman or Ashe O’Hara were, something is complete with Tompkins sharing his vocal and emotional heart within the ever stirring sounds of the band.

Polaris cover_RingMaster Review       Released by the band’s new label Kscope, Polaris opens with Dystopia, it emerging through dank shadows with a tight spiral of riffs and atmospheric chills. Soon a swing grips the guitars of Acle Kahney and James Monteith, riffs and grooves enlivened with energy and a swagger as Tompkins walks their lure with his assured and distinctive tones. Pretty soon everything catches aflame, the guitars becoming openly fiery, vocals impassioned, and the bass of Amos Williams, well that just turns out the most delicious steely growl. With the dynamic beats of Jay Postones as skilfully impacting as ever, the track shows the band is on striking creative form individually and as one, and building yet another new drama of sound and imagination to get greedy over.

Of course one song does not dictate the way an album goes but its suggestiveness is quickly backed by Hexes and Survival after that, the next pair swiftly pushing on the emerging and immersion exploration within the album. The first of these two initially creates a celestial melodic sigh, its lingering elegance casting a radiance which keys and vocals share as the spatial depths of the track come into view. Its poetic glow just thickens around the subsequent vocal unions of Tompkins and Williams, remaining a rich hue as the track continually simmers and boils with intensity and emotion the further into its controlled yet tempestuous body is stretches. The track is hypnotic, seductive, and portentous; a stunning captivation matched by its successor which also opens on an absorbing calm but much sooner exudes a feistier blaze of emotion. Like a fire it smoulders and blazes, licks at the senses and crackles with aggression, and like a mass of flames totally bewitches the senses as they stare at its seamlessly volatile beauty.

Tourniquet spreads harmonic radiation next, keys and vocals an intensive caress against the mouth-watering rhythmic bait and prowess of Postones. They keep their mesmeric grip even as the guitars wind up their technical endeavour and intensity, parting only once the full technical and inventive theatre of Utopia takes over. A maze of styles and flavours cored by another entrapment of ardour sparking bass enterprise, the next song simply engrosses with its dramatic tenacity in sound and ideation, and indeed vocal strength where again Tompkins and Williams are riveting in their part within the superb creative emprise.

With a more reserved but no less impacting presence, the following Phoenix lives up to the suggestiveness of its name. Melodies leap like flames throughout, springing from a subdued canvas to soar, as the vocals, across the rich sonic sky of the encounter. Ears and emotions are full and basking before Messenger takes over with its spiny grooves and jagged riffs aligned to classically sultry keys and a melodic character which just oozes elegance, even when embraced by the more rugged elements of the track. Both songs drag ears and imagination deeper into their diversely textured depths, and like all songs and subsequently the album as a whole, reveal new twists, nuances, and creative revelations with each and very listen.

The immersive ambience bringing Cages to the fore is instantly compelling but once the song slips into something melodically and evocatively ‘comfortable’ it becomes truly spellbinding. Bass and drums flirt with rapacious tenacity whilst the guitars and keys impose their tempting with gaseous prowess, invading every pore for the richest pleasure. The song epitomises the album; every element and slither of inventiveness familiarly TesseracT but nurtured within a band taking their songwriting and imagination into new realms of experimentation and personal exploration.

Completed by the mouth-watering Seven Names, it is fair to say that Polaris is sensational and lives up to the hype already brewing around it on its first listen alone. The fact that it just gets more stunning and impressive with each additional play tells you why we believe that the new TesseracT album is the progressive/groove metal triumph of the year.

Polaris is out now via Kscope now across most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 25/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Voyager – V

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Breath-taking and ravenously compelling, V the new album from Australian metallers Voyager, is one of those releases which just steals thoughts and emotions from the surrounding world, enslaving ears and imagination with no respite until its incitement is done. It is a powerful and intensive encounter, one demanding attention with a creative rabidity which fuels the thumping rhythms and raging riffs which sculpt the thirteen designs of the album. Equally though a mesmeric beauty radiates and shimmers with a kaleidoscope of sonic colour and melodic emotion across the release in riveting invention to consume everything from ears to passions. The album is a magnificent beast, which puts most other offerings in the shade.

As you can assume from its title, V is the fifth album from the Perth quintet and finds in our humble opinion their unique fusion of melodic and progressive metal with a wealth of other essences at its finest yet. Following the rigorously acclaimed The Meaning of I of 2011, the new album shows Voyager ascending to new heights not only in songwriting and sound but also in the way they texture and align every essence of a song into a flaming tempest which has the unbridled contagion of pop linked to an exploratory progressive imagination metal and locked into the predacious voracity of metal. Fan-funded via Kickstarter and recorded with producer Matt Templeman, V leaves similar genre clad bands in the starting blocks, though to be honest few if any come to mind as comparisons to the rich colour and sound of Voyager right now.

The release opens with its two singles from the album, and through the pair alone rapture and devotion for the release is virtually 654367989302 UPC-Vguaranteed. The new single Hyperventilating instantly soaks ears in an electro mist which is secretive of things ahead, though the wait to find out what is pending is mere seconds as djent bred vivacity strides through ears. The guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow prey on the senses right away as the rhythms of Ashley Doodkorte jab and puncture with just as intense voracity. Around them though it is the keytar seduction of Daniel Estrin which is mesmerising the imagination ready for his equally impressive vocals to charm and infest thoughts. Less than a minute in and the song is in full command; its earnest and dramatic stance magnetic whilst the climactic chorus is pure virulence. It is a gloriously anthemic merger of antagonism and seducing, dark and light, the bass snarl of Alex Canion, who also provides excellent backing vocals, a pronounced protagonist. Veined with an Eastern mystique well onto its adventure, the track is aural alchemy, an enslaving epidemic to which there are no cures.

The following Breaking Down continues the outstanding start. Featuring guest vocals from Daniel Tompkins (In Colour, Skyharbor, ex-TesseracT), the song from an orchestral caress launches into a fiery and enthralling blaze of heavy metal riffs, progressive enticement, and melodic expression. As it predecessor there is an uncaged hunger to the charge of the song but urgency cloaked in pungent emotive melodies and immersive enterprise which again isolates ears and mind from any outside interference. It is a monster of a song swiftly matched by A Beautiful Mistake which hosts another guest in UK born, Perth living vocalist Zemyna Kuliukas. A sinister gurning of sound opens up the song before again gnarly guitar endeavour casts their bait as the continuing to truly impress vocals of Estrin explores ears. Only three songs in and it is hard not to think the musician is providing his mightiest moment yet as a singer. There is a snarl and belligerence to the under belly of the song which is translated in the rhythms and jagged riffing, but under the elegance and evocative flames from vocals and keys it is just another rich texture to a delicious weave, within which Kuliukas potently shines.

The very brief rhythmic and atmospheric narrative of the excellent Fortune Favours The Blind leads into the just as imposingly dramatic and thrilling You, The Shallow, the track a rapacious predator cloaked in the robust hues of a blazing sunset which dance emotively over the senses. Thumping rhythms build a towering intimidating frame which the sonic drizzle and blistering enterprise of the guitars hangs absorbingly from, but it is again the ravenous almost savage agitation of the riffs and the exceptional vocal qualities which brings the deepest submission.

The diversity of the songs from each other also makes a mouth-watering tempting across the album, the roaring pop flames of Embrace The Limitless within a swirling pool of electronic light and the electro rock marauding of Orpheus straight away adding to the rich landscape of the album. The pair permeates every pore and synapse with their simultaneously raw and polished beauty before making away for another major pinnacle in nothing but mountainous highs. Domination Game is a warrior of a song, its sinews charged and rippling on the rhythms and battle hardened riffs which bring the track to bear on senses and imagination. Within their cage the vocals stalk and light thoughts with their own specific intent. It is a confrontation in many ways but one where the fire of passion and searing melodies temper any pungent emotion poised to unleash its venom. It is an outstanding slice of ingenuity with not for the first or last time, an eighties synth/indie pop breath within its metallic canvas.

The pair of Peacekeeper and It’s A Wonder impress instantly but take a little longer than other songs to reveal their full hypnotic beauty and toxicity, though there is no particular reason why it is so. The first of the two reminds in small ways of fellow Australians Circles as well as UAE band Absolace as it explores its deep emotional depths with a slow expansive wash of heart sculpted reflection whilst its successor stakes its narrative out on another raging surge of crushing rhythms and senses entangling riffs and bewitching grooves. The song is another stunning spike in an unrelenting line of pure brilliance across V, a track which casts its own unique epic tale of light and shadows within the triumphant broad narrative of the album. It has an unrelenting evolution to its premise too, a horde of styles and flavours unleashed so that as many songs, it feel so much bigger, longer, and lingering than the mere five minutes it needs to capture the passions.

The industrialised air of The Morning Light around a symphonically embracing melodic bathing of invention is followed by the brilliant piano and vocal incitement of Summer Always Comes Again. Poetic strings wrap the song in their evocative flourishes as the song grows into another major treat of the album. Estrin has been likened to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon by Deftones’ Chino Moreno, which you can understand but here song and vocal style is sheer Julian Cope, both aspects a pleasing resemblance of the great arguably undervalued man. It makes the song glow as a piece, and that essence also seeps vibrantly into the closing metallic pop excellence of the closing Seasons Of Age. It is an inferno of pop majesty and metal causticity, combining for a final exceptional summit of a sensational album.

To be honest only ears not words can truly relay the quality and brilliance of V and everyone behind it, so a recommendation to go explore a definite album of the year contender just cannot be forceful enough. In fact you might as well give the title to Voyager now as it is going to take something very special to eclipse their triumph.

V is available now digitally and physically via Bandcamp at: http://voyager.bandcamp.com/

http://voyager-australia.com/

10/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

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