Metaprism – Self Titled EP

Metaprism cover

There are plenty of metal bands offering a dual vocal attack of melodically flighted female and aggressively bearing male vocals but it seems predominantly they veer towards one or the other in songs rather than truly merging them. For us it feels like a great many miss out on their potential by keeping them distinctly apart and that view has only been reinforced by British progressive/melodic metallers Metaprism. The sextet from Bournemouth are certainly unafraid to push a ‘beauty and the beast’ styled attack into one tempest of adventure and expression and it has resulted in a quite impressive and riveting debut. Their three track EP is a seducing brawl which is so much more than just the vocals, though they do steal plenty of the attention; it a roaring fire of endeavour and imagination which suggests that though still exploring its potential, Metaprism is a proposition set for big things over near horizons.

The band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Ollie Roberts who linking up with vocalist Theresa Smith began writing songs immediately aiming for their first release. The addiction of vocalist Jut Tabor, bassist Mike West, drummer Jonny Wilmott, and live guitarist Jimmy Alford has thrust the band forward on all fronts, Metaprism already in its short time sharing stages with the likes of Sacred Mother Tongue, I Am I, and Evil Scarecrow whilst the EP is brewing up a keen appetite for the band with fans and underground media alike. With an album planned before the end of the year, the band makes a striking entrance with a release and sound which is mature and invigoratingly shapely, a dramatic hint of things to come you can only surmise.

Opening track Even the Lights rises from a gloriously captivating intro, sonic intrigue and vocal mists expanding to cup an expulsion of stirring riffs, crisp beats, and immediately a web of guitar sculpted melodic toxicity which winds seductively around ears and attention. It is a potent design which has thoughts and appetite wide awake; not an over dramatic entrance but one which has everything focused on its impending narrative. The song next steps into a commanding stride as riffs and drums find a carnivorous breath to their bait, the excellent raw roars of Jut standing voraciously in the midst of the torrent to be soon followed by the melodic beauty of Smith’s tones and his return with clean and just as strong tones. Within a few seconds the song vocally has captured the imagination, both protagonists tempering and contrasting each other and themselves magnificently. It is a treat to hear, our earlier mentioned thoughts fed whilst musically the band and track equally sparks an overwhelmingly satisfied reaction with further predatory and sonically crafted invention. As proven by the song, the band is also skilled at merging styles and voracious ideation into their exploits, stern rugged breakdowns and metalcore rapaciousness as at home in the premise as progressive flights and melodically brewed colours.

The following Lost in the Dark takes little time in continuing the inspiring incitement of invention and passion, guitars with great ragged scything riffs and rhythms as a vindictive assailant forging a corruptive provocation as Smith and Tabor embrace and stalk the emerging magnetic canvas of the song respectively and simultaneously. It is a masterful piece of songwriting and voracious realisation, like a fusion of Delain meets Suicide Silence but different again. Cantankerous predation and smouldering elegance make a mutual bed within the song as potently and successfully as the band vocally mixes varying attacks and varied energies which ebb and flow within an overall rapacious urgency. It is mouthwatering skill and adventure the band impressively seek and craft which things like the breath-taking guitar enterprise of Roberts and unrelenting rhythmic persuasion of West and Wilmott only paint and push to greater success.

The release is completed by Against All, a song which initially is not as striking as the previous pair but soon recruits full attentive appetite with its flowing melodies and vociferous muscular incitement, and of course the continuing to impress vocals and guitar weaves. The song never quite reaches the heights set but still continues to reveal more of the scope and creativity within the sound and invention of Metaprism, groaning short grooves and sharp sonic sculpting a transfixing hue within the at times rabid rhythmic quality and vocal richness of the song.

Expect to hear a great deal more of Metaprism. Their EP feels like it is just an appetiser for bigger and grander exploits, something it is hard not to anticipate their debut album being the provider.

The Metaprism EP is available now @ http://metaprism.bandcamp.com/album/metaprism-ep

https://www.facebook.com/Metaprism

9/10

RingMaster 25/05/2014

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Delain -The Human Contradiction

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The release of The Human Contradiction cements a long held thought here that Dutch symphonic metallers Delain is one of if not the most exciting and refreshing band in the genre and melodic metal. The band’s fourth album is a spellbinding fire of seductive vocals, inescapable virulent hooks, and a carnivorous metallic enterprise which never dulls its impact and success no matter how many times the songs prey upon ears and passions. Their most ravenously inventive release so far, the nine track adventure shows a creatively bolder, broader, and potent Delain.

Their second release on Napalm Records, after last year’s more than decent Interlude, a release of new songs, covers, and live tracks, The Human Contradiction is a dramatic follow-up to their acclaimed and impressive third album We Are The Others of 2012. It takes the established power and imagination of the band into a new incendiary journey where every aspect from aggressive incitement to melodic painting and vocal conjuring creates a ricer canvas and palette for thoughts and emotions to paint vast evocative narratives with. Once again sculpted from the expansive songwriting of band founder and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, singer Charlotte Wessels, and long-time musical partner Guus Eikens, the Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd mixed album with mastering by Grammy Award winner Ted Jensen, is arguably the band’s most complete work, bringing the darker tones and expression of their earlier albums with the sultry melodic grace and richness with was loudly hinted at on the last releases. It results in a confrontation which serenades and embraces the senses whilst chewing up the ground beneath them.

Looking at humanity’s ‘them and us syndrome’ and how it relates to those perceived as ‘different’; the ‘otherness’ first approached upon We 535_Delain_RGBAre The Others, and taking its title from the post-apocalypse trilogy Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butlers, The Human Contradiction instantly engulfs imagination and passions with its opener. Here Come The Vultures is a quite sensational welcome into the album using a simple union of the constantly impressing voice of Wessels, soothing vocal harmonies, and a music box like enticement. It is an evocative coaxing which embraces thoughts as the keys of Westerholt adds some dramatic shading before the explosion of predatory riffs from guitarist Timo Somers, the dark hearted basslines of Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and the fearsome swings of drummer Sander Zoer. The track intimidates and excites instantly, smothering the senses in an intense and towering persuasion cored by the siren tones of Wessels. Not for the last time on the album there is something familiar to the proposition, a rewarding and powerful enchantment which captures an instant allegiance from mind and heart.

From the huge passions foraging exploits and ingenuity of its predecessor, Your Body Is A Battleground presents its own suspenseful and masterfully magnetic tale. Again a gentle invitation makes way for a climactic adventure within a heady cage of composing riffs and rapacious rhythms lit by glorious horns of melodic fire. As you would expect the band and album welcomes guest contributions and the second track sees the returning vocal force of Marco Hietala (Nightwish), his voice a caustic blaze alongside the temptress tones of Wessel as the track climbs all over the senses with another exhaustingly creative narrative. Fierce and elegant, the song takes the listener on a rigorous ride, danger and majesty washing every note and syllable.

The following Stardust steps from a shadowed rhythmic heartbeat with emotive vocals cupping ears in an expressive atmosphere which at first courts the passionate angst of the lyrical call before flaring up with torrid hues of fire bred melodies and invasive intensity. The song is toxic in its drama and passion drenched suasion, and quite irresistible as is its successor My Masquerade, a hypnotic fusion of dark realms and rock pop virulence which seduces and overwhelms at every turn. The shadows provided by the bass and the noir lit ambience of the keys crowd the senses as the mystique of the emerging tale strokes the imagination, again the merger of bordering of metallic hostility and heart enlivening harmonies artistic alchemy and the venue to soaring pop bred choruses, though they too are prowled by deep dwelling vocal tones.

Tell Me, Mechanist steps up next and takes little encouragement to begin savaging ears with an excellent furnace of djent inspired rhythmic antagonism and similarly destructive riffing though as always Wessels and keys keep a rein on it all to create a masterful and compelling balance. The grievous side of the song finds a protagonist in the guest guttural intrusions of George Oosthoek (Celestial Season-vocals, Doghouse Gallows-drums), another highly successful vocal confrontation and union with Wessel explored.

In many ways the latter end of the album takes longer to win over the passions then the first though it is more down to the incredible impact the first few songs make than any failing of tracks like Sing To Me and Army Of Dolls. The first of the two sees the excellent re-appearance of Hietala in the passionate melancholic waltz of the song whilst the second expands an electro theme to its expressive premise though it is soon immersed in a not exactly solemn but certainly a sobering raw exploration. The track again captivates with ease saving its finest enticement for the electronic /vocal stomp building to a quite exceptional exotic breath before its heated finale.

The album is completed by the bewitching Lullaby and its beauteous melodic grace within a raptorial aggression and The Tragedy Of The Commons which features Alissa White-Gluz (ex- The Agonist). The track has an epic feel to its imperious shadows and dark depths which both Wessel and White-Gluz bring alive stealing the show from the rest of the band. Though lacking the same strength of previous tracks it is a fine end to a new masterpiece from Delain. For personal tastes there are few as adept and skilled at recruiting an immediate hunger and connection with their ever fluid and drama clad sounds, or as mouth-wateringly inventive and unpredictable within symphonic metal. With the outstanding The Human Contradiction the band has taken it to another contagiously unique level, and you still feel they have only begun tapping into their full potential which is just exciting.

http://www.delain.nl/

9/10

RingMaster 04/04/2014

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Winter Storm – Within The Frozen Design

 

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    Listening to the potent and promise soaked Within The Frozen Design, you easily get the feeling that UK symphonic metallers Winter Storm are poised to move up into a more intensive limelight. Whether this, their second album is the spring board time will tell but it is hard not to expect on a near horizon to see the band making a big contribution at the fore of the genre. The twelve track release has issues which make you query if their time is quite yet but simultaneously provides an absorbing and skilful melodic embrace which only raises and stretches a keen appetite for the band and its expressive sound.

     From the West Midlands, the quintet has earned a strong reputation and loyal following with their dark melodic metal, a sound honed through gothic shadows and symphonic atmospheres. Formed in 2008, Winter Storm were soon gripping attention live, supporting the likes of Alestorm, Sirenia, Theatres Des Vampires, To Mera, and Sarah Jezebel Deva early on before going on to share stages with the likes of Delain, Die So Fluid, The Birthday Massacre, ReVamp, The Lotus and many more. Debut album Serenity In Darkness of 2010 drew critical acclaim its way as have numerous festival appearances over recent years to cement and increase the band’s stature within British melodic metal. Now the strongly anticipated self-released Within The Frozen Design brings 2014 into a sharp focus for the band and its fans, an album if not setting raging fires undoubtedly reaffirms the creative strength and impressive potential of Winter Storm.

     As the album title, and band name come to that, suggests the tracks frequent a chilled and icily haunting realm but one clad in WS-coverbeauty and a melodic artistry which only warms. From the opening scene and drama setting intro Cold Creation, the album is soon caging ears in a rhythmic probing and brooding intensity as Wasted Feelings opens its arms. Its initial riffs seem predatory with an attitude to match the punchy rhythms barracking the senses. Equally though there is a breeze of synth colour floating over and through the aggressive touch of the track, its melodic soothing eventually tempering the snarl of the song ready for the impressive tones of vocalist Hannah Fieldhouse. Her voice is rich and tempting but with a restraint which sets her pleasingly apart from many other female fronted genre bands. The track provides an unpredictable expanse of sound and twists which without being startling in their impact only seduce the fullest attention on and satisfaction with its feisty yet elegant narrative.

     The following Shadow Weaver like its predecessor makes a forceful and rapacious entrance; riffs and rhythms a cage of antagonistic intent wrapped in more keys sculpted temptation. Dark with a gothic ambience, the song again guided by great vocals flirts with and triggers the imagination as it ventures through a rugged landscape of heavy riffs and sonic enterprise. Pretty much like the album the song is a slowly persuasive encounter but one which proves its strength and quality through deliberate attention. The same can be said of the next up Symmetric Flow, a captivating wind of melodic vocals and endeavour within a sturdy and uncompromising heavy metal frame. Again the offering is not as instant to convince as you would maybe expect or like but unveils plenty to enthuse about upon closer attention. That is one of the ‘problems’ of the album, tracks do not leap out and grip preferring a slower seduction but this comes with a need to fully extend a concentrated focus on the album to reap it’s definitely existing  rewards. It is hard to be critical though even if listeners need patience when immersing in the album.

    Afraid To Speak steps up next, gently wrapping a sultry breeze of melodic enchantment around thoughts if again without sparking any major reaction; that power is left to its successor Beneath The Mystery. The track also springs from a reserved start to open up sinew driven riffing and heavily striking rhythms within the keys designed eighties sounding gothic weave which feels seeded in the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and Play Dead by. It is a fiery encounter yet one which does not erupt or stretch its attributes as far as you expect or would like, again an accusation you can make on Within The Frozen Design as a whole.

   After the brief but decent enough instrumental Broken World, the album undulates a little but keeps the listener enthused starting with the impressive Universal Design, a track offering another accomplished and magnetic web of gothic and symphonic metal with a bite and almost antagonistic breath. It provides sizeable bait for the senses to devour eagerly before the enjoyable if underwhelming Gatekeeper shows its class. It is sandwiched between the previous track and the equally thrilling Dark Awakening, the song a heavy footed shadowed drenched beast with radiant beauty casting ripe melodic tantalising. As elsewhere the guitar craft and imagination is an irresistible lure whilst the epic tone of the track is aggressively bewitching.

     Completed by the overlong but appealing instrumental Waves Of Misery and the final slice of gothic allurement of The Frozen Siren, the album is a pleasing and enticing encounter. The cloudy production at times does the release no favours, cloaking some of the piercing strengths of instruments and voice but Winter Storm and Within The Frozen Design emerge from it with strength and quality. As mentioned earlier the album does not ignite a fire in the passions but definitely provides company which only invites the fullest satisfaction.

www.winter-storm.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 22/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Delain – Interlude

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Released via Napalm Records, Interlude the new album from Dutch symphonic metallers Delain is a vibrant mix of new songs, covers, special versions of popular band songs and live tracks. It is a release which we will admit raised some doubts before it had the chance to unleash its persuasion upon the ear but soon cast those uncertainties aside emerging as an impressive album which will please their most loyal fans and all newcomers.

The first release on their new label, Interlude is as it suggests, a creative aside or as they say on the promo sheet a thank you to 483_DELAINtheir supporters in the wait for a new full release but it is more than a mere stop-gap with the energetic and potent breath infusing old and new tunes The first two tracks on the album are new songs and immediately dispel also thoughts that maybe this is the end of a chapter for the band before a new direction and stance. They are prime Delain continuing their established and welcomed sound but equally do offer a fresh and pleasing voice to their creativity to date. Opener Breathe On Me is an instant warm whisper upon the ear before the grumbling bass adds its presence and the guitars shape the air with their coarse scrubs within the symphonic winds gently swaying across the senses. The voice of Charlotte Wessels is as exceptional as ever, her angelic tones the perfect balance to the fiery intensity and melodic weaves. It is an impressive and inviting start, its anthemic warmth and magnetic melodic temptation as irresistible as the sinewy frame and burning fires surrounding their grandeur, whilst not for the first time the bass of Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije leaves a greedy want within the passions.

The following Collars And Suits stands tall with an epic entrance of soaring scything syncs as well as tight manipulative guitar enticement from Timo Somers speared by the thumping commanding rhythms of Sander Zoer. Whilst not quite as contagious and tempting as its predecessor the track engages the passions skilfully and relentlessly, the harsher elements recruiting the passions for the melodic grace and vocal brilliance to toy with. The symphonic swerves of triumphant sounds grin as if in escape from a shadowed cage with the darker tones and corrosive lining beneath the protection for the glowing horizon they create. It is musically poetic and emotive, its presence inspiring numerous thoughts to go with the lyrical narrative.

Next up Are You Done With Me comes in a single mix version compared to its appearance on their recent album and is a strong and powerful companion to the previous songs but does not quite find their heights or rich lures. As one expects from Delain it is immensely emotive and gloriously melodic with a superbly honed intent. It makes way for a trio of cover songs starting with Such a Shame the Talk Talk track. To be honest its initial touch did not inspire great hopes but once the band stepped from the expressive yet gentle opening into an elevated  passion and energy the song took off with enthused satisfaction  in tow something the semi-acoustic version of The Cranberries song Cordell could not ignite. It is a more than decent song though which showcases the wonderful vice of Wessels in its varied glories and makes for easily pleasing company before the excellent take on Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy. Not a song to raise more than an eyebrow in its original guise, Delain treat it to their masterful caresses and formidable creative might, infusing it with more life and temptation than it probably deserves. They do not really change its face or body but with the keys of Martijn Westerholt as impressive as any element the band lights the heart it arguably lacks in the original.

A ballad version of We are the Others is another which is enjoyable in its company but does not light anything more than temporary pleasure though again it is hard to dismiss its craft and beauty. It is soon and easily forgotten once the live tracks come into view. It is the best part of the album with the stage offerings of Mother Machine, Get The Devil Out Of Me, and Not Enough especially standing out though all six of the songs show Delain as a mighty live proposition to rival or arguably exceed their studio work.

Also available in a limited edition digipack with a second DVD disc of videos, Interlude is a great proposition for all Delain fans new and old. There were doubts approaching it but all were dispelled with ease by release and band, an album to appease the appetite during the wait for their next full length outing.

http://www.delain.nl/

8/10

RingMaster 03/05/2013

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DreamCatcher – Never Look Back

The upcoming weekend is going to be as busy for UK melodic metallers DreamCatcher as the sounds in their new single Never Look Back which is released this coming Monday August 13th. Before then the Leeds sextet have a double appearance at Bloodstock to enjoy, Saturday the 11th seeing them play an unplugged set on the Acoustic Stage followed by their full high energy show on Sunday. The single caps things off with fine accomplishment in what will be a notable three days for the band.

Formed in 2008, DreamCatcher has gone from strength to strength with their live performances which has included sharing stages with Delain, After Forever, and Pythia, and their acclaimed SoulDesign EP of last year accelerating an already steadily growing dedicated following.  Never Look Back is taken from the album released through Rising Records and is available via the Bandcamp profile of the band as a free download in exchange for a Facebook Post or Twitter tweet, a barter which is certainly one of the best deals this year. The three track single is a treat which not only cements the band as a growing force but makes a satisfying celebration of where they and their sound are right now.

Never Look Back is a storming maelstrom of sound and invention which teases the borders of chaos whilst roaring with heated elegance and sure confidence to pull it all into a striking and enveloping presence upon the senses. Bringing the best aspects of major influences like Nightwish, Epica, Powerquest, and Anubis Gate into their own distinct muscular riotous form of metal it is a heady fusion which consumes every pore. There is a distressed clarity to it all which works a treat and adds that extra intensity which marks the band from other melodic metal bands. The track is a scorching amalgam of excellently crafted melodic imagination and rampaging power metal borne energy. The mesmeric keyboard skills of Adelé Pease flow with ease and understanding alongside the melodic play from guitarists Ben Scott and Alexei Green whilst their raging riffs bounce off the bruising rhythms of bassist Matt Hudson and drummer Rossi Lavery. Vocalist Lukas Jackson soars amongst it all with a craft and power which is never swamped or lost within the expansive sound, full credit going to the songwriting and the production from Jacob Hansen (ex-Anubis Gate, Mercenary), as well as the skill of the band itself.

Track one is an edit of Never Look Back with the closing song the original version though there is nothing to choose between the two, the thirty second difference neither improving nor detracting from the song. In between there is new instrumental Foresight. It is a muscular charge of creativity further exposing the individual skills of the band and the sure melodic craft which pervades their invention. The piece stirringly ruffles with crisp rhythms and explosive enterprise whilst showering the ear with equally marked melodic radiance and flair.

If SoulDesign eluded your attention then Never Look Back is the open invitation into the progressively symphonic metal world of DreamCatcher, it would be rude to refuse.

http://www.dreamcatcherofficial.com/

RingMaster 08/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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