Norse – Pest


A rabid cauldron of pestilential sonic animosity and blackened death metal voracity, Pest the new album from Australian metallers Norse, is a release to fear as much as one to lust over. The six track scourge is a glorious malevolent swamp of hungry corrosive atmospheres and fiercely ravenous textures, all with despicable violent intent. It is a release which for some will provide a landscape too harsh and intrusive but for others will be vindictive manna to spill acclaim and lust over.

Formed in 2006, Norse has had its fair share of turmoil and line-up instability but at its core band co-founder and drummer Robin “Frog” Stone (The Amenta) has been the drive pushing on the project. The Unrelenting EP came out in the band’s first year before debut album Hellstorm in 2010 caught attention and praise with its boundary pushing invention. That acclaim increased and spread with its successor All Is Mist and Fog two years later, the album triggering the band’s impressive live presence equally with the band sharing stages with the likes of Absu, Mnemic, Psycroptic, and Dark Funeral across 2012 alone. Revelling in the union of Stone with guitarist/vocalist Treelo Herrington, Norse has sculpted its greatest pinnacle yet with Pest; genres merged and disregarded by the blistering hostile beauty of the new onslaught.

From the first insidious whine of sonic temptation washing ears as opener Encoded Weakness goes to hostile work, the album has Norse_Pest_Coverattention and swiftly after appetite ablaze with eagerness. It is a viciously compelling start, the toxicity of the guitars irresistible bait as carnivorous bass intimidation and rhythmic barbs align with raw ungracious vocals and a cruel rub of riffs. Already it is impossible to pin down the sound; its heady flavoursome ravaging entwining noise and psyche metal with a blackened voracity amidst a twisted groove infuse technical experimentation. The track persists in its predatory crawl and destructive breath, persistently shifting its intriguing scenery whilst searing and seduces with blistering invention and exhaustive animosity. The sonic lashing unleashed across the track reminds of Kabul Golf Club, but it is just one aspect to an unpredictable and transfixing primal fascination.

The demonic ruin bringing the first track to an end sets up senses and thoughts perfectly for its rhythmically rampant successor Disarmed, Toothless, Weak; drums striding with a purposeful menace and revelry as guitars forge another sonic web to tempt the emotions. Though distinctly different and arguably even more brutally ingenious, the track again winds acidic waspish grooves around barbarous beats and causticity bred vocals, to which grooves and hooks provide an irresistible scarring enticement. As the first, the song is a mouthwatering and addictive protagonist, exploring and stretching the limits and invention of the listener as much as itself.

Both the heavy intensive and overwhelmingly rancorous title track and the bestial charm of Irradiator, oppress and infest the senses with merciless potency and rabidity, but again with imagination firing twists of sonic exploration and contagious enmity. The first is a ruinous prowl which brings acute sufferance and mesmeric antipathetic radiance in a suffocating magnetic wash whilst its successor thrusts the senses into the strongest grievous confrontation yet. The pair also ensure sonically and rhythmically, hand in hand with varied vocal squalls and intrusiveness, that lethal soundscapes come with a rare and irresistible virulence; a murderous web of sonic seducing and scathing beauty which enslaves ears and passions.

The release is completed by the tyrannical maelstrom of True Insignifigance and the enthrallingly burdensome Aimless, each again a lethal threat and riveting enticement of creative venom, bruising and scorching the senses as they solicit and harshly caress them. The pair brings Pest to a black hearted conclusion, providing a final thrilling violation to a scintillating, psyche despoiling triumph. Norse is a force which only the brave should contemplate and the sonically adventurous must immerse within. Wounds and scars are guaranteed as is one of the best rewarding releases this year.

Pest is available digitally now.


RingMaster 21/06/2014

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Revelation’s Hammer – Self Titled

Revelation's Hammer pic 1

It may have pure sonic venom coursing through its veins but there is something irresistibly inviting about the arts and crafts of the self –titled debut album from Norwegian metallers Revelation’s Hammer. Skilfully sculpted and ravenous in its hunger driven energy and invention, the release is wholly enthralling despite its spiteful air and offers certain reasons as to why the band is being talked of as the next big thing in Scandinavian black metal. Six tracks of compelling aural drama and rapacious antagonism, Revelation’s Hammer is an exhausting, thrilling confrontation.

Created by Accuser (vocals, strings, and concept) in 2007 for his musical ideas, the project was joined by drummer Bergh. His departure saw the recruitment of Myrvoll from Nidingr with the beginning of the creation of the album began January 2010. The recordings expanded over ten months due to several setbacks, with the album being mixed by Børge Finstad at infamous Toproom Studio (Mayhem, Borknagar), mastered by legendary Peter In de Betou (Watain, Dark Funeral), and additionally featuring a guest appearance from Exilis from Troll on some tracks. March of this year saw the Oslo based band sign with Italian dark metal label My Kingdom Music and as its seditious charms stalk the world one suspects the album will set Revelation’s Hammer to the fore of and ignite the current stance of black metal.

     Obsessed Onslaught slowly crawls before the ear to start things off, its yawning sonic stretch and melodic call soon swept within Revelation's Hammer coveran avalanche of destructive rhythms and equally ravenous riffs. As the intimidating guttural squalls of Accuser stare eye to eye with the listener and unleash their propaganda of malevolence, devious grooves strike out to seduce the senses whilst being still ravished by the vocal and lyrical grazing. It is a weapon the band and album uses frequently and persistently it persuades defences to relax allowing the annihilatory breath and intent of tracks to win their cause. Across its expansive length there is never time to catch breath before the next shift and evolution in direction and persuasion is ridden, that relentlessness only adding to the epic feel of the sound. As intriguing and eventful as it is barbaric, with blast beats pummelling the senses throughout and the excellently varied vocals holding a satanic compulsion in whatever guise they use, it is a striking and scintillating start.

The title track opens with another riveting grooved temptation before the vocals assault with a bedlamic hatred, their malice opening up the song for its corrosive and towering intensity to douse the senses in primal sonic filth. As its predecessor the track twists and flays within its invention, every corner of its course opening another rage of further blistering energy and captivating imagination. The savagery steps back as the climax approaches to allow its nightmare to unveil a sampled stark scenario before returning with a furnace of a finale which scorches ears and sears emotions.

The outstanding Den Blåøyde dances on the already wasted nerves and senses next, though its waltz is one of viciousness and sonic manipulation honed into a brutality which again across a varied gait has only full greed guiding its purpose. Within its immense appetite of violence the track has a web of melodic temptation and insidious beauty which secures honest ardour towards its just as threatening epic breath and virulently creative alchemy. The best moment of the album it offers all the evidence as to why the band is being harped over.

Both Buried as Filth and Avgudsdyrkelse continue to openly impress, the first seemingly bred from a warzone wasteland, sonic teasing skipping over its grave to offer further insanity whilst welcoming hostile futures crafted from the rhythmic maelstrom and riff loaded wall of intensity, The second of the two saunters in with a confrontational attitude and determined will to exploit all, which with further excellent senses examining rhythms from Myrvoll and the kaleidoscope of apocalyptic sonic enterprise from Accuser, it does with ease, senses and thoughts willing victims.

The thrash courting The Crown Of Malice which evolves into a blackened vat of serpentine degenerate toxicity you can taste on the lips, closes off the album with impressive and invigorating power. From start to finish the album only challenges and tests the listener but most of all rewards with one of the most striking and exhilarating genre debuts in a long time. Dare you face the Revelation’s Hammer?


RingMaster 05/06/2013

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Skineater: Dermal Harvest

    Skineater photo

    Rife with sabre sharp sonics and a carnal malevolence transferred through destructively precise riffing and viciously antagonistic rhythms, Dermal Harvest the debut album from Swedish death metallers Skineater, is an impressive and savage pleasure which leaves pure satisfaction and pleasure in its annihilatory wake. Arguably the album is not venturing into new realms but with its aggressively sculpted malice and charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence it does not need to be to ignite the passions.

Skineater was formed in 2008 by guitarist Håkan Stuvemark (ex – Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, and Vicious) upon leaving as bass player in GrandExit. Moving back to his main instrument he recruited drummer Jeramie Kling, drummer in The Absence, Infernaeon , and Ninety Minute, with the pair recording two songs the following year. It was not until 2011 though that the project found impetus with Stefan Westerberg  (ex- Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, World Below, and Steel Attack) taking up the bassist position in the band. Soon after signing with Pulverised Records with whom the album is released, the band expanded further with the addition of guitarist Kari Kainulainen (ex – Mourning Sign and Amaran), vocalist Jörgen Ström (The Mary Major), and replacing Kling, drummer Matte Modin (Raised Fist, ex – Dark Funeral, Defleshed, and Sportlov). Recorded at various locations with mixing and mastering at Studio Underground (Carnal Forge, Steel Attack, Fleshcrawl, Necrodeath) in Sweden, Dermal Harvest is an irresistible result of a group of veteran musicians unleashing a fresh and voracious passion and sound which has maybe been festering within over the years, such its organic and instinctive animosity musically and lyrically.

     He Was Murdered makes the first rapier like incision into the senses though its finesse only follows a bludgeoning entrance from Dermal Harvest Coverriffs and rhythms  with vocals squalls casting acid on the ear like venom filled cluster bombs. With a slight aside in energy for the guitars to seep their own tightly weaved sonic  malevolence, the track forges a violent intrusion with blistering guitar play and crippling drums assaults menacingly accompanied by the delicious malefaction of the bass. It is a snarling brawling encounter which exhausts the energies whilst leaving one simultaneously enthused and ignited by primal intent.

The following Dismantling and Your Life Is Mine continue the ravaging assault on the person mentally and physically, both tracks raw and unrelenting in their abrasive animosity and unforgiving ferociousness. Like the opener they also entwine moments of sheer melodic beauty which are as unpredictable and rewarding as they are unexpected and warmly welcomed as some respite within the towering destruction surrounding them. The guitar play and invention of Stuvemark and Kainulainen is exceptional and their imaginative quieter melodic addresses sit perfectly within the tempests without any seam or drop in fluidity present.

In hindsight though immensely impressive and pleasing in their company, the first trio of songs are mere appetisers which certainly leave the listener enlivened but not as fulfilled as tracks like Made Of Godsick manage to achieve such their triumph. It is at this point that the album fully fires up its heart and furnace to wreak the strongest havoc and pleasure upon the person. The song is a riveting construct of quarrelsome fervour and burning invention which sows the deepest pleasures within. It is a mordant storm musically and in intensity equalled by the excellent and sonically rabid Through The Empire and then exceeded by the sensational Stab. This track strips, grinds, and seduces the senses and emotions throughout, its passage insistent, unrelenting, and sizzling with melodic flames, scorching imagination, and predatory hunger. The best track on the album it sums up the wonderful grotesque that is Skineater perfectly.

The rapacious, and perversely addictive Drifting is another major player of the passions, its greed and hunger musically and violently pure hellacious manna for the heart. Again it shows just how masterful and skilful the band is as individuals but also as a unit and combining the melodic side of the genre to outright volcanic metal fury.

Dermal Harvest is an exceptional release which leaves one smouldering contently under its aggression and quality, and also possibly whimpering. Yes it is not breaking new ground but it is using the essences of the genre in a way not many others can contemplate let alone employ. If the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Bloodbath, and Hypocrisy exploit your passions, than Skineater is a band for you.


RingMaster 21/02/2013

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Gorath: The Chronicles of Khiliasmos


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.

RingMaster 30/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Desolation: Blasphemous Pestilence

An EP full of promise from a band building a strong creative and inventive base for their sound, Blasphemous Pestilence from Indian black metalers Dark Desolation is a release well deserving of attention. A raw and festering presence upon the senses, the five track release easily shows why the band since its formation in 2010 has grabbed strong responses and focus.

The quintet from Bangalore has brewed their own style of extreme black metal with inspirations it is fair to say from the likes of Darkness, Misanthropy, and Dark Funeral. Since starting the band has gigged strongly only leaving great impressions behind them and been featured on a multitude of compilations and across varied media. Now with their debut EP released via Salute Records, their dark and consuming songs of misanthropy, blasphemy and Satanism are set for a much wider violation.

The opening song to the EP Dark Desolation, is a misleading and disappointing start. It is a straight bruising assault with little variation or enterprise to its length. It lacks anything to set it apart from other bands and black metal songs, though it is brought with accomplishment and passion. It also hides the real depth and invention of the band which is easily heard from there on in on the release. Its production is sub standard to the following tracks too and only its brief presence works in its favour.

From this uninspired start it is like another world opens up. The following Catechetical Somniloquence is an imaginative and riveting beast of a track. Its abrasive guitar start alongside venomous scalding vocals instantly grips the ear as the rhythms begin to abuse and bruise the senses. As the track continues to scour the air the band involve explosive guitar play and serpentine insistent grooves which twist and entwine around the spine of the track like sonic snakes, their melodic invention lashing out from within the blackened sprawl of intensity.

It is an excellent turn of events further elevated by Futile Dogma, the song which arguably started it all by being their first demo track. The song prowls and stalks the ear like a ravenous predator, the vocals of Maggot as nasty as they are intense whilst the drums splinter cartilage and riffs enforce whiplash upon their victims. Insanely grooved at times without losing any of its malevolence, the track is immense and along with the two tracks either side of it, indicates a flourishing destiny for the band which their promise has to live up to. The song is the blueprint to their future success one feels, the template to base their future imagination and invention upon.

The release ends with a mixed success  of Insectuous Catacombs and Secrets Of The Black Arts. The first is another to mark alongside the two triumphant songs before it, another piece of violence and poison brought with craft and thought. Though not as stunning as its predecessor the track writhes and spits at the senses with strong ideas and better realisation. The second is a cover of a Dark Funeral song and really does nothing for the band as though well presented up against their own excellent material it is nothing special.

With Blasphemous Pestilence the band have set in motion deep intrigue and anticipation for what they will bring in the future. Dark Desolation is a band to watch out for in the future and to enjoy right now.

RingMaster 03/09/2012

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