Harbinger – Human Dust

You may have caught on to the buzz brewing forcibly around UK metallers Harbinger, an increasing clamour which their new EP, Human Dust, alone provides a forceful host of reasons for. Forging technical and death metal in one ferocious tempest unafraid to stretch its adventurous instincts, the release offers six slices of raptorial sound ken to prey on the senses. It is a striking next step from the London based quintet displaying thick potential aligned with their already realised qualities in one attention grabbing exploit.

The follow-up to their well-received debut EP, Paroxysm, the ravenous Human Dust takes little time in stirring ears and appetite with ravenous riffery, swinging rhythms, and sonic dexterity; all colluding with melodic imagination and a blossoming unpredictability which was not so potent in the first release. Everything from songwriting to individual adventure, the dual vocal attack of frontman Tom Gardner to simply the band’s imagination is a bolder step up from Paroxysm.

Human Dust opens up with the instantly invigorating roar of The End of Time. The guitars of Ben Sutherland and Charlie Griffiths barely use a breath to weave a web of intrigue and rabid riffing, their lure matched by the more primal swings of drummer Joel Scott and Kris Aarre’s mutually heavy bassline. It is a fierce and swiftly infectious affair, hooks and sonic dexterity a flirtatious trespass as Gardner roars and brawls with the senses, combining throat raw growls with more harmonic bellows to fine effect. The track swings and savages as it twists and turns through technical and hostile textures, pleasuring and punishing in equal highly agreeable measure.

Just as magnetic and impressing is Humanity’s Limit, the second track seeing Gardner add even cleaner warmer tones to his increasingly captivating attack. The robustly flickering beats of Scott from the start take no prisoners, neither too the rapacious riffs and technical teased grooves and flames which sear and seduce the senses from within a storm at times as primal as it is imaginative. Indicative of all songs, every listen reveals something fresh in the song’s cauldron, next up Psychosomatic similarly sharing richer rewards with every venture into its barbarous yet exotic squall.

Two or three seconds of deceitful calm draws ears into the all-consuming roar of The Darkness of June straight after, the track sharing closely related melodic temptation and arpeggio tenacity to its predecessor within its caustic surge. There is a touch of similarity across some tracks, certainly on a less than intense listen but nothing to particularly defuse the EP’s potency with purposeful attention revealing all the individual qualities of each song.

Human Dust literally burns the senses next, tempering its hostility with melodic caresses and inciting it again with spicy almost toxic grooves and the ever resourceful vocal challenge of Gardner. The guitars provide a carousel of craft and enterprise, rhythms the bullish heart whilst instinctive imagination shapes the song’s compelling character and the wonderful melodic bridge between the track and its EP closing successor II. Captive/Hated. Again time allows the track to share its full richness but straight away it has ears hooked and pleasure sparked with its tenacious exploits and adventurous mercurial twists.

Human Dust as well as proving a thoroughly enjoyable engagement is a bigger step in Harbinger finding true uniqueness in their sound. They are no quite there yet but definitely moving in the right direction whilst providing gripping music certainly fans of bands like Decapitated and Sylosis will find strongly intriguing.

The Human Dust EP is out now through Basick Records; physically @ https://basick.supplies/collections/harbinger  and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/human-dust-ep/id1218457845?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.facebook.com/harbingerriffs/

Pete RingMaster 21/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Summoned – Sessions

“Sessions is a concept album about a man who wakes up from a coma and is sent straight into a psychiatric hospital where he begins a series of tests against his will. In the process he meets a doctor who remains with him every step of the way. During these sessions, with the guidance of the doctor, he is transported into the outer reaches of his own mind to confront the insecurities and demons that plague him.”

Resembling the premise behind the new album from ferocious US technical metallers The Summoned is the listening experience of Sessions. The nine track exploration is a kaleidoscope of sound and technical craft which barely gives a moment for a breath within its often infernal tempest taking the listener into the darkest, deepest recesses of their psyche. It is a demanding and intensive journey across story and album but ultimately one seriously rewarding one.

Formed in 2007 and drawing on the inspiration of bands such as Death, Between The Buried And Me, Decapitated, The Faceless, Behemoth, The Dillinger Escape Plan and others, the Boston, Massachusetts hailing quartet pretty soon revealed their own individual character of sound. Since then they have relentlessly pushed theirs and in turn metal’s assumed boundaries to find a strain of uniqueness really having its head in the band’s latest encounter.  After the Harvest EP in their first year, the 2011 released debut album If Only Minds Could Paint Pictures garnered a wealth of critical acclaim, its success supported and followed by the band successfully undertaking a 23-day headline tour spanning the U.S. and Canada as well as being part of 2012 Summer Slaughter Tour with Cannibal Corpse, Between The Buried and Me, The Faceless and more. From the winter of 2013, The Summoned began working on their second album, entering the studio with long-time friend Evan Sammons of Last Chance To Reason to begin the recording process. The next three years were concentrated on the creation of Sessions, time and intensive attention showing all its qualities in a release even more enthralling as well as bolder and more accomplished, technically and emotionally, than its impressive predecessor.

Within seconds, opener The Pendulum Swing has the senses twisted and imagination askew, the guitars of Shaun Murphy and Jarred Sullivan spinning a web of disorientating metal aligned to post punk discordance as bass and drums grumble and impose their psychosis. Vocalist Stephen Thompson supported by the equally rawer tones of Murphy, is a venomous scourge, words and emotions a primal yet composed assault as blurry as precise in their invasively relentless suggestiveness.  The determined, unyielding nagging is a constant across sound and album, every aspect and texture a ruthless persistence in its moment within a just as eagerly evolving unpredictable tapestry.

The track is an absorbing, thrilling start; a rabid introduction but eclipsed in ferocity by the following Faradic. As the rhythms of drummer Sam Hang ravage the senses yet still manage to be an anthemic enticement, guitars dance provocatively and psychotically on the imagination. Flavours and styles proceed to flicker with enthusiastic dexterity and boldness across the song, jazzy and progressive turns colluding with extreme and technical metal tenacity as vocals flow with a toxic essence. As in the first and next up Fractal Patterns, there is a real virulence to everything too; an infectiousness veining every fury and creative twist with the third track a debilitating but equally magnetic carousel of sound and invention. Melodies spawn from ravenous hostility, deranged trespasses from atmospheric caresses; every second a cauldron of intrigue and harsh drama.

Through the possibly even more primal and savage The Grave Mistake and the dark climate of Built of Glass there is no lessening of the resolute examination of senses and imagination; both tracks a flight of startling adventure and striking craft with the first a spiral into disturbing calm from cyclonic agitation, and back again, while the second aligns melancholy and sonic savagery within its dramatic almost cinematic theatre.

Both Vertiginous with its whirling melodies and rotating spine of far more carnal strains and the unbridled ferocity of the equally multi-flavoured Primogenial Birth keep ears and imagination gripped and consumed, the latter at times as primal as it is in other moments elegant and jazzily bewitching. Again neither leave a second free for the body to relax or expectations to try and rear their head, Recollection similarly a storm of sonic transgression and off-kilter progressive enterprise which, as all tracks, really is impossible to truly represent in word and suggestion.

Closing up with the initially melodically charming, hope embraced Satori, the album is simply one uncompromisingly compelling proposition. Shadows soon crowd and invade the listener as the final track hits its creatively hungry stride; pretty much epitomising the whole of Sessions with its capricious yet intensely woven and nurtured web.

Certainly Sessions is an imposing listen to match its presence and hard to take all in over a few let alone a single listen but rewards with every quest taken. Equally at times due to Thompson’s fine but exacting raw delivery lyrically the album shares moments lyrically which remain a mystery in the tale but are potently compensated by the clear emotion of the sounds and his presence; in saying that though a thicker use of the clean touches provided by Murphy within both Fractal Patterns and Built of Glass would make for another intriguing dynamic ahead. Nothing though defuses the potency and pleasure of sharing time with the album, or the calm to contemplate after its outstanding tempest.

Sessions is out now @ http://store.thesummoned.com/album/sessions

http://thesummoned.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesummoned    https://twitter.com/thesummoned

Pete RingMaster 21/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Slain – Before The Inferno

 

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There is no re-writing the text book of death metal with Before The Inferno, the album certainly re-working but treading down existing violations, but it has to be admitted that the debut album from Polish band Slain is a thoroughly enjoyable and potently contagious provocation. Consisting of eight monstrously aggressive and openly accomplished violations, the release grips from its opening track through to its intrusive last. There is admittedly a certain mix of success within the release but never a moment where band and album leaves satisfaction wanting and pleasure lacking.

The creators of this impacting release were formed in 2005, though the band’s seeds in many ways harken back to the nineties when band founder and guitarist Paul was in Cryptic Stench. Some of Slain’s songs originated from that time with the band reworking and rearranging them to fill the full blooded onslaught of their ferocity. Initially Slain went through a few personnel changes whilst the band continued to earn a strong reputation and fan base with their live performances. A stable line-up emerged though before the album was recorded; Paul joined by second guitarist George, bassist Lucas, drummer Wojtass, and vocalist Marcin. Recorded in 2012, Before The Inferno found its release with The End Of Time Records at the tail of 2013. Since its release, Slain has seen the departure of George and Marcin, the pair being replaced by Hannibal and Balrog respectively. The turn of the year the band has begun working on new songs for their second full-length whilst this, their debut continues to make an impression and mark the radar of a persistently widening attention.

The Bełchatów quintet comes at the ears through a sinister ambience, demonic shadows, and intrusive breath conspiring to infest senses Slain-BeforeTheInfernoand imagination. The niggling start to Confession of the Blind Messiah erupts into a torrent of predatory riffs and punching rhythms whilst vocally vitriol and ravenous intent clad every word. It is a magnetic entrance, the track enslaving with its concentrated confrontation before unleashing a further increase of aggression and malevolence. Speared by skilled sonic flames and a persistently shifting antagonistic stance, the riveting track makes for a mighty start to the album, essences of Behemoth and Decapitated offering their presence.

The following Wings of War strides murderously into view next, clad in a tsunami of destructive rhythms, flailing riffs, and an underlying groove which is two-toned in voice and lethal in effect. Well into its purpose, the grooves mutate into an infectious lacing of the senses whilst the vocals similarly squirm maliciously between textures, the combination rigidly enslaving an already rampant appetite for the release. It is a ferocious onslaught but ripe with contagion and addictive toxins, especially the impressive sonic blaze of guitar which colours the track with its piercing solo. As suggested at the start there is not a great slap of true originality to the encounter but thrills and neck muscle manipulation show no restraint in their persuasions.

There is a thrash sculpted fire to the sound and album, its rabid hunger again insatiably driving the force of Malleus Maleficarum and War Is Coming. The first is a feisty stalking of the senses with an angry spine of bad tempered rhythms within an acidic veining of skilfully crafted sonic incitement. Its successor takes the rapaciousness of the other track to greater immensity, its carnivorous rabidity spurring on prowling rhythms and a pestilence of riffery. The track is voracious savagery but again infuses a swagger and swing to its barbarity which infests the passions. When a song straddles the imagination and treats it to a rodeo of feverish energy and vivacity it is hard to resist even when the wounds left bleed profusely.

Fucking Gods continues the violent and irrepressible suasion of the release, its brutal rampage unrelenting yet pronounced in its precise baiting whilst the following Deadly Midget presents a more restrained attrition but one no less hungry in its predation and manipulative toxicity; grooves and riffs sharing the imposing canvas for their fevered taming and consumption of the senses. There is a touch of Sepultura to the poise and intensive intensity of the track whilst its ravenous incessancy and melodic adventure slips easily under the skin and into the memory.

The album is completed by the raging turmoil of Thorn and the imposing enterprise of Omen, both tracks a tasty horde of vindictive rhythms and scourging riffs spiced by sonic invention, though neither quite match the heights of the earlier songs. Nevertheless the pair brings a great album to a stirring close to leave satisfaction full and emotions eager for more. Before The Inferno may not carve out new inventive avenues for death metal but when it provides a hellacious ruin as exciting and stimulating as it does it is hard to raise a care. Slain has ensured that anticipation for their sophomore album is already gearing up.

Before The Inferno is available via The End of Time Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slain/1395976333996090

8.5/10

RingMaster 22/04/2014

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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

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light

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Unleashing a debut album which intrudes upon and explores the psyche, UK progressive death metallers Rivers of Nihil is a band with a ruinous sound built with superbly accomplished textures. The Conscious Seed of Light is a captivating confrontation which as it devours and stretches the senses you can only have the feeling that its creators are at the start of a certain ascent to major recognition. The release is a demanding and intrusion affair, one which needs numerous encounters to truly reap all of its rewards, but a release which constantly stimulates and ignites imagination and passions.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist Jake Dieffenbach, guitarist Jon Kunz, and drummer Ron Nelson, the band from Reading, Pennsylvania, was soon gripping attention locally with their dark heavy explorations. Extended to a quintet soon after their first live shows by the addition of guitarist Brody Uttley and bassist/vocalist Adam Biggs, Rivers Of Nihil subsequently released a pair of well received EPs, Hierarchy and Temporality Unbound in 2010 and 2011 respectively, whilst extending their live performances through shows and tours throughout the East Coast and Midwest as well as appearances at events such as Midwest Fuckfest with Dying Fetus, Misery Index and Arsis, and Akron Deathfest with Complete Failure. As their stock rose the band continued to reap praise for their live performances which saw them going on to share stages with the likes of Suffocation, The Faceless, Despised Icon, Revocation, Beneath the Massacre, Dysrhythmia, Decapitated, Six Feet Under and more. September 2012 saw the band sign to Metal Blade Records before entering the studio earlier this year with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel) at Mana Recording Studios (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Exhumed) to record The Conscious Seed of Light. The result is an intense and dramatically agreeable death metal violation, a confrontation which is as abrasive as it is magnetic and as destructive as it is violently seductive. With essences of the likes of Morbid Angel, Gojira, and Decapitated to its uncompromising depths and presence the album is a release which cries out for attention, and you suspect will eagerly receive it.

      The Conscious Seed of Light is planned as the first of four related albums, each reflecting a season with Spring the theme of the band’s Coverdebut which explores “various themes concerning new beginnings, growth, and an attachment to the natural world in a post-human Earth.” It opens with Terrestria I: Thaw, the track a short instrumental which sets out the soundscape for the release to expand upon. The melodic breath and progressive endeavour of the piece is an instant if not quite dramatic draw which builds up its pressure and intensity to flow into the torrential assault of Rain Eater, its rhythms and vocals a squalling tempest of malevolence and creative causticity. Dieffenbach has a nastily grazing delivery which easily pleases and makes a great rub upon the sonically melodic enterprise which spawns from the guitars. As emerges across all songs, there is plenty going on within the vicious maelstrom, a wealth of invention which needs time to reveal its full suasion but provides potent and exhilarating rapacious flights each and every time.

The impressive start flows into the equally compelling Birth of the Omnisavior and Soil & Seed, both unbridled individual creative predations which leads senses and thoughts on a savage stalking of emotions and a dark damning aural storm. The second of the two is especially a bestial inventive ravaging which hints of directions across its sinewed flank but persistently just as you think you are on course with its intent twists down new avenues, its craft and mastery making for one of the major highlights of the release.

Across an album which holds its imaginative heights at lofty levels throughout, further immense pinnacles come with the dangerously addictive riff chugging Mechanical Trees and the intensive sonically scalding Human Adaptation with its Meshuggah like air splintering malefaction, whilst closing track Airless is a lasting voracious transgression which invites the listener to take the sonic tsunami of The Conscious Seed of Light all over again.

Not exactly an easy listen at times and a release with moments where distinction between tracks is lost without a really deliberate focus on the encounters the album is nevertheless an exciting provocation from a band you just feel has explosive horizons ahead of them. Rivers of Nihil is a name we will be hearing draped in acclaim starting with The Conscious Seed of Light.

https://www.facebook.com/riversofnihil

8/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Karnak – The Cult Of Death

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Uncompromising and ravenous, the new mini-album from Italian death metallers Karnak is a furious consumption of the senses but equally a deceptively rewarding one which with bravery and strong will before its ferocity provides a compelling and invigorating examination of senses and thoughts. Made up by five predatory tracks, The Cult Of Death is an annihilatory turbulence through the ear which consists of four new songs linked to a concept inspired by Aleister Crowley, as well as a cover of a Celtic Frost track.  With savage essences which put you in mind of the likes of Incantation, Pestilence, Nile, Morbid Angel, and Suffocation, the release is a potent and dramatic gnawing of the synapses marking the Monfalcone hailing quartet as a persistently formidable proposition.

Formed in 1993 by drummer Stefano Rumich, the band released numerous demos before making a strong impression away from their local area with debut album Perverted, the first release under the name Karnak. This was successfully followed by Melodies Of Sperm Composed, an album which saw the band evolve from their initial pure grind/death metal stance exploring elements of jazz, samples and more to add flavour and colour to the still destructive tempest of sound. Third album Tutti I Colori Del Buio was released in 2002 before the band went on a break provoked by line-up changes. 2009 saw their return and the signing with Casket Records with the release of fourth album Dismemberment coming the following year. A tour supporting Krisiun and Kataklysm pushed the band out further in 2011, though by now having supported the likes of Impaled Nazarene, Suffocation, Nile, Decapitated, Avulsed, Necrodeath, Pyogenesis, Destruction, Fleshgod Apocalypse and more over the years, Karnak was no longer a hidden secret. Last year the band supported Malevolent Creation, Krisiun, and Vital Remains on another European tour followed by another with Deicide. Currently working on their next album, the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Francesco Ponga, bassist/vocalist Lorenzo Orsini, guitarist/vocalist Marco Polo, and Stefano Rumich raise real anticipation and hunger for said release with The Cult Of Death, its bestial creative assault wholly persuasive.

The opening Intro just lays out a simple rhythmic beckoning but its temptation is irresistible and almost tribal as it evolves into The cover_karnak_thecultofdeathConstruction Of The Pyramid (The Demon’s Breath) who replays its offering before opening the gate to an intensive exhausting technically honed riff driven blaze which scorches the senses with the brewing animosity of the song and its breath is not far behind in carnivorous intent. With vocals roaring like the oldest colossal predator imaginable, the track lurches at the senses with insatiable energy aligned to a more restrained but unreserved sonic and rhythmic stalking. Furies of technical and acidically melodic guitar do initially wrong foot emotions after their submission to the easy to devour onslaught, but soon persuade craft and evocative hues.

It is an impressive start repeated and then surpassed by The Construction Of The Pyramid Beta (Invocation), the Meshuggah like web laid down around the passions at the start over run by the torrential thick sonic mass of intensity and suffocating ambience. Doom oppressive and sludge lumbering, the shift bleeds the air of light and oxygen but equally ignites thoughts with shards of melodic light and colour before the nightmarish soundscape with its heaviness and rabid vocals seems to claw like a swarm of patient demons at the psyche. As with the release it is not at times the easiest or most comfortable listen on first impressions but beneath the barbarous surface and many deeper levels there is a magnetic and superbly crafted well of invention and skilled temptation.

The nagging chugging which leads the song to a dissipating climax is immediately thrown aside by the sadistic entrance of The Construction Of The Pyramid Gamma, a start which is only built upon and intensified the further the track chews at the ear with the drum attack of Rumich unrelentingly and impossibly thrilling. Also unafraid to bring a potent melodic and sonic adventure to the striking narrative of the release, the track is a frequently changing and provoking treat concluding and summing up the new songs and strength of the album perfectly.

Completed by the cover of Celtic Frost song Jewel Throne, the release is an enthralling malevolent engagement. The final track is more than decent but as accomplished as it is it is not a match for the previous trio of songs. Quite simply The Cult Of Death really gets the appetite aflame for Karnak’s forthcoming album whilst making a thoroughly satisfying meal right now.

http://www.karnakdeath.com/

9/10

RingMaster 02/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Arceye – At First Light

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Welcome to one of the candidates for album of the year, certainly in the darkened hungry hall of this site. This is a contender which feeds and devours with imagination, craft, and a devastating predacious invention that takes the listener on one of the most enthralling dangerous aural journeys lying in wait this year.  The beast is At First Light and its creator UK death thrashers Arceye, a band who have built on earlier acclaim and promise to stand as one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most creative bands.

The second album from the Shrewsbury quartet, At First Light sees the band at a pinnacle though still only one level of a mountainous evolution of their invention one feels as the album explores and expands thoughts and emotions. Formed in 2004, Arceye has been no stranger to critical acclaim certainly with from debut album The Divide Between Chaos & Order of 2009 which followed the As The Ground Consumes You EP of two years earlier. From the first album the band has continued to increase their stock with impressive live performances, a trait of the band from day one, which has seen them support bands such as Decapitated, Man Must Die, Beholder, Finntroll, and Kataklsym as well as making successful appearances at festivals at the likes of Bloodstock Open Air in 2010, where they closed The New Blood Stage, and Hammerfest. The new album unveils a strong evolution in the band’s sound though still bred on a canvas of prime thrash metal with invading death metal shadows, but now the colour soaked progressive nature of the foursome of vocalist/bassist Al Llewellyn, guitarists Dave Roberts and Luke Durston, and drummer Craig Mackay, explores greater rich hued narratives upon the muscular black hearted canvas. It is a stunning combination breeding scintillating and impacting songs, ones which either offer a devastating confrontation or a captivating evocation, but all that enthral and ignite the senses and passions.

The Hostile Media released and Scott Atkins mixed (Sylosis, Cradle of Filth, Gamma Bomb, Amon Armarth) album steps from within Cover 001crackling flames with an inviting potent guitar lure leading the way, the call of the title track increasing as rhythms and a darker tone add their beckoning whispers. Soon with drums unleashing their full sinews and riffs following suit soon after, the track opens up an intensive prowl which recruits attention and hunger with ease. Into its stride the song rampages with guitars and drums sculpting a battlefield of intimidation and senses barracking skill whilst the gruff scowling vocals of Llewellyn, ably aided at times by the backing scarring tones of Roberts and Durston, parade a venomous and antagonistic breath that only fuels the intensity of the song.

The following track takes things another rung up the immense ladder of the release, The Storm sonically what its name suggests with the already ridiculously impressive skills of Mackay caging the tumultuous and imaginative adventure and persistence of the guitars and again the great mix of vocal threats. The track is a fury of invention and innovative thrash/death exploration, its underlying groove a rapier like hook ripping the ear open for the melodic and extensive flames of the guitars’ emprise to tempt and magnetise the imagination. The bruising from the towering encounter are soon soothed by the short instrumental The Longest Drive, the thought provoking piece of elegant composing and its realisation a resourceful caress and prelude to the staggering might and presence of I Silently Wait. Honed from a web of grooves, melodic beauty, belligerent riffing, and a cauldron of ferocious rhythms and vocals, the aural predator seamlessly moves from rampant aggression to seductive kisses and on to voracious rage, subsequently combining them in an unpredictable and fluid transgression of magnetic enterprise.

The deliciously sublime progressive radiancy and smouldering invitational glory of Sirius follows to again transport thoughts and feelings into an instrumental painting of suggestion and emotive incitement, the song alone showing the full extent of the songwriting, skill, and imagination of the band and the even greater promise of things to come over the next horizons of the band. Its building height and emotional depth grows in potency the further the song pulls the listener into its powerful soundscape, transfixing them into place for firstly Brother Disarmed with its savage rabidity to stir up the nest of previously settled emotions into another welcome turmoil, soon reinforced by the riveting Prey Forgiveness with its cracking tempest of carnivorous creative fire and sonic fascination and the magnetic Damage Done where clean vocals make a strong and pleasing offering within the rhythmically stretching slice of melodic and imposing triumph.

The album is completed by the crushing, yet seemingly respectful onslaught of The Thirst, though the track still demands and is welcomingly given its pound of flesh, and the closing instrumental sunset Dusk, another instrumental temptress this time coaxed into the passions by outstanding mesmeric guitar play and the open skill of the band. They provide the perfect conclusion and parting reminder of the quality and strength of Arceye and their brilliant album. At First Light is a real joy, a release which tears you apart whilst kissing the wounds it is simultaneously chewing upon. One of the real treats of the year, maybe the very best.

www.arceye.co.uk

10/10

RingMaster 08/08/2013

 

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