Desert – Never Regret

ALL-BAND

It was four years ago that Israeli dark epic metal band Desert sparked ears and imagination with debut album Star Of Delusive Hopes and now the Tel-Aviv sextet returns with its highly anticipated successor, the even more dramatic and enthralling, not forgetting enjoyable, Never Regret. It is an album which explores more potently the uniqueness within the invention which marked out their first full-length release and like its predecessor, it too has moments which excite more than others but unrelentingly the new proposition makes you sit up and revel in its imaginative adventure.

Formed in 2002 by guitarist Max Shafranski, Desert began luring attention, as its line-up grew and stabilised, with the demo The Way To Honor in 2004, though it was debut EP Prophecy Of The Madman which was the spark to stronger and broader acclaim. Another line-up change brought fresh blood and imagination into the band, this soon in evidence upon the 2011 released Star Of Delusive Hopes. There was not the originality to it which now spreads across Never Regret but it had all the essences to captivate, something which again has escalated on its successor.

The release opens with Chasing the Prey, a brief instrumental full of portentous shadows, rhythmic incitement, and enticing harmonies aligned to brewing danger. The track sets the atmosphere and scene perfectly, though it could have done with another minute such the enjoyment. Its departure heralds the gateway for the excellent Assassin’s Fate to stride through with an eager and aggressive cantor. The keys of Oleg Aryutkin instantly cast an almost cinematic colouring to the song, evocatively soaking the sinew sculpted beats of drummer Assaf Markowitz and the tantalising guitar enterprise of Sergei Nemichenitser and Max Shafranski. In no time it is a transfixing flight with its narrative and heart revealed by the distinctive tones of vocalist Alexei Raymar. He has a delivery which for some might take time to adjust to but his presence is almost that of a warrior in the context of the album, a raw yet accomplished protagonist as integral an element in the landscape as the sounds.

ALBUM-COVER      The wonderfully turbulent mix of heavy and epic metal makes way for Son of a Star, it too carrying a climatic air and body to its presence. The bass of Sergei Dmitrik provides a predatory lure against the initial swirling wash of keys whilst jagged riffs collude with lashing rhythms to bring greater intensity into the immersive embrace of the track; a warrior breath and technical enterprise merging to ignite and invigorate the lively crusade. With a great guitar solo from guest Alex Zvulun another potent tempting, the song passes on ears to the mellower though no less intimidating atmosphere of The Wolf’s Attack. Initial orchestral caresses soon evolve and strengthen into more aggressive, at times almost punkish endeavour. Bewitching melodies and billowing orchestration get magnetically involved too, the song creating a volatile canvas for the imagination to explore, with potent suggestiveness offered by another scorching guitar solo.

The album’s title track brings a familiarity with it next, though it is hard to say why. It just feels like something heard many times before but it does not dilute its success and appeal. In fact it only increases the richness of the adventure in song and album, allowing a more accessible union between it and the listener swiftly becoming a major moment within Never Regret.

Zvulun returns to add extra rich hues to The Road to You straight after, as also vocalist Infy who joins the evocative ballad. Her voice becomes a serenading light in the increasingly explosive drama and tempestuous theatre of the track, and though the song does not match the potency of its predecessors there is something seriously compelling to it just as there is to 1812, a track which might not quite excite as those before but is still a riveting and increasingly tempting provocation. Featuring Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear on vocals, the song constantly twists and roars across its alluring proposal, musically and vocally.

Flying Dutchman instantly ignites ears and appetite with the violin skills of Merry Ann Genin, her melodic flames gypsy like in tone and a captivating temper to the savage presence and intent of bass and riffs. The song is outstanding, carrying a folkish swagger and lure in its midst before making way for the orchestral elegance of Final Journey which continues to seduce even when erupting into a more rugged, and in the case of the bass, carnivorous persuasion. Both tracks in their individual ways are unpredictable and enthralling with certain parts creative genius and always a highly satisfying enjoyment.

The dark predatory lures of Imperial Eagle, a song with melodic and orchestral flags waving magnetically within its imposing turmoil, gives another impressive and seriously exciting proposition before Invincible brings Never Regret to a mighty close. The track is sinew and grace in one formidable and appealing conflict, a battle cry and celebration simultaneously.

As much as Star Of Delusive Hopes impressed it is easily outshone by the majesty and masterful creation of Never Regret. It is a release still suggesting there is more to come before Desert find their full potential but with great offerings like this we can wait.

Never Regret is available now @ https://desertband.bandcamp.com/album/never-regret

http://www.desertband.com/     http://www.facebook.com/DesertOfficial

RingMaster 16/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Oceanic – City Of Glass

Oceanic PR 2

Not sure exactly why but the depth and quality to the Israeli metal/rock scene always surprises, even despite covering numerous releases and artists from its creative well. You have the likes of Orphaned Land, Ferium, and Desert amongst a great many stirring up the world scene with their varied sounds, and from within the underground bands like Walkways making their mark. To the latter you can now add Oceanic, a band beginning to draw and earn potent responses to their presence and debut album, City Of Glass. Formed in 2009, the Tel Aviv quartet has inspired strong and increasing attention, especially over the past couple of years, and now with their first album nudging greater awareness, Oceanic has the potential to be another breaking into broader spotlights well beyond their homeland.

The band’s sound is melodic/alternative rock but with an appetite to throw in unique twists of progressive exploration and feisty imagination. As shown upon City Of Glass it makes for a fascinating and unpredictable proposition which can offer familiar essences in a fresh and often offbeat design. There are moments where things just confuse and miss their target but for the main, album and sound are one captivating tempting. The band itself has grown its stature and reputation in the Israel underground scene through appearances at events like Progstage 2012 and in supporting the likes of Pain of Salvation. Band experiences are not restricted to Oceanic alone either, bassist Or Lubianiker having toured as part of bands for Marty Friedman and Gus G whilst playing on Yossi Sassi’s album Desert Butterflies. The ex-Orphaned Land guitarist is now returning the favour by producing City Of Glass, and providing guest guitar, vocal, and bouzoukitar enterprise within certain songs on the release.

A Scanner Darkly starts things off and swiftly has ears and attention intrigued; it’s atmospheric opening inviting but also oppressively hazy. It is a tantalising mix veined by gentle melodic Oceanic - City of Glass - Front (sRGB)coaxing and soon joined by the gentle husky vocal reflections of guitarist Idan Liberman. The song gently immerses senses and imagination, broadening its intensity and provocative textures with smooth and warm persuasion. Before long its passion and energy breaks through the calm though, crisp beats and a dark bassline uniting with fiery enterprise from the guitars of Amir Manbar and Liberman, whilst the latter’s vocal tones also elevate in emotion and roaring vivacity. The song by now offers a mix of Palms, Bush, and in some ways System Of A Down, melodies and harmonies blooming in a fiercer cage of beats from Gal Shochet and throaty bass suggestiveness from Lubianiker. The song continues to ebb and flow in its intensity, increasingly impressing and exciting ears and imagination.

The following Wind Up In Barrel (Tribute To Walter) continues the strong start, raising the album’s game straight away with its rolling rhythmic start. A sudden drop into an emotive calm catches ears by surprise, losing that potent start quickly and dramatically wrong-footing, especially first time around, but it is soon embroiled in a brewing climatic of creative voracity and sonic agitation. Vocally too, Liberman seems to find a left field approach to his delivery which only adds to the riveting drama of the song. It takes time but the track eventually emerges as an inescapable seduction whetting the appetite further for album and the sultry embrace of South Of Heaven which follows. Its smouldering lures and charm is just the lead into more tempestuous but restrained musical and emotional progressive bred turbulence. It is a compelling encounter, essences of bands like Shinedown and Seether making glimpses in the magnetic presence of the song.

Both Enter and Clouds keep attention and enjoyment high, each again a mix of aggressive energies and reflecting tranquillity, never lingering in either too long and uniting them with craft and invention. Neither song creates new templates for rock ‘n’ roll it is fair to say, but both provide refreshing and thoroughly satisfying proposals, the first a melodic bellow with tangy sonic endeavour from the guitars and another rhythmic enticement to equally intimidate and excite. It only grows in pungent appeal and strength over time whilst its successor almost stalks ears with its heavy rhythmic resonance and predatory riffing, though again it is tempered by the strong vocal and guitar sculpted enterprise bringing warmth and light to the darker tones.

The brief and harmonically elegant Fish You Shouldn’t Eat (Part 1) slips in next, its musty warmth and sonic shimmer, a pleasing appetiser for the impact of These Countless Hours. This is a song which left ears and thoughts undecided and still does even though it is also a compelling puzzle. It starts off in impressive style, rugged beats and caustic tone a swiftly enthralling protagonist aided by similarly robust vocals. It continues to light ears until something strange happens, an exploration of invention emerges which sees music and vocals going in different directions. Both continue to work just not together for personal tastes, and we devour anything with a warped twist or avant-garde approach. It is almost as if singer and instruments have their own individual songs and are trying to unite them as one. The fact that it keeps luring ears back to try to make sense of it is a testament to what is going on in ideation just not its success.

We are back on an even keel with HMS Beagle, an intensive ballad of power and emotion with more roaring senses licking flames than a bushfire, and straight after through the melodic smooch of Eva The Cat Doesn’t Sleep, a song with a Poets Of the Fall whisper to its melodic and creative beauty. Vocally Liberman shows his full and strong range, occasionally showing an Andy Partridge like lilt, whilst guitars and rhythms combine in a graceful romance of accompanying sound.

The track Oceanic brings City Of Glass to an epic end, its meaty length and imaginative textures a rich croon of soaring vocals and provocative melodies wrapped in thick bass shadows and gripping beats. It has a latent aggression and underlying anger to it too, which only seems to intensify the emotion and sonic tempest smothering ears. It is a fine end to a great album. There are certainly moments which do not work as well as others but ultimately, City Of Glass is a dramatic and enthralling storm of melodic and alternative rock very easy to recommend all at least should check out.

City Of Glass is available now @ http://oceanicband.com/album/city-of-glass-full-album

https://www.facebook.com/OceanicBand

RingMaster 18/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Morguenstern – Sepulchral Burden

Sepulchral Burden

     Embracing the senses in a gothic caress of engagingly elegant shadows and rapaciously honed enterprise, Sepulchral Burden the debut album from Russian metallers Morguenstern is a potent capturing of the imagination which unerringly lures you deeper into its provocative depths the more you entertain its dark temptations. Seemingly tagged more often as a horror-punk/gothic metal like proposition, the inventive quintet definitely upon their new release explore the latter of the flavours, an eighties breath as rich as the sonic colour and uncompromising undercurrent of intimidation which prowling each and every song. The album is a riveting fascination of Poe-esque drama and fiery metal passion wrapped in mouthwatering weaves of guitar and keys adventure led by acutely seductive vocals.

     Formed in 1999 by Morgana (vocals, keys, music and lyrics) aided by her brother Morok (guitar, back vocals) of Bog-Morok, Shexna, Downgrade, and Vo Skorbyah, Morguenstern recorded the demo Blood that same year before expanding with the addition of drummer Dan Sobolev (ex-Bog-Morok, ex- OPRICH ) and bassist Alexei Fominsky (ex-Bog-Morok, ex- Smuta) in 2000. After playing many successful shows the project was suspended in 2001 but now returns in striking form with the GlobMetal Records released Sepulchral Burden. Consisting of bassist Penguin and drummer Vladimir alongside Morgana and Morok with Smeat providing samples and backing vocals, the band unleashes tales of zombies, vampires, and cemeteries in a release which certainly wakes up the imagination.

   We will get the main niggle about the album out of the way before entering its body, and that is the fact that the lyrical delivery comes solely in Russian, not normally a problem but with tracks full of aural intrigue and adventure, being unable to enjoy that aspect due to limited linguistic skills does frustrate throughout. Nevertheless the album easily steals attention and breeds an eager appetite for its suggestive climate starting with С Новым Гробом (Happy New Coffin). A gothic organ makes the first incitement on the ears soon joined by a cinematic sample and an increasingly darkening ambience. It is a menacing coaxing which increases its threat until the song spreads into a radiant stretch of keys led melodic expression, thumping rhythms and caustic guitar strokes soaked and guided by the immediately enticing tones of Morgana. An increasingly contagious potency also flows from within the encounter, toying with electro invention and intense metallic urges within a gothic metal narrative. It all combines for a powerful and immensely persuasive start to the release.

      That success is matched by the following Мертвый Храм (The Dead Temple) and Идём со мной (Come With Me), the first teasing ears with an eighties gothic pop dance within a cauldron of aggressive yet restrained predatory metal. Not for the last time on the album, the track sparks up thoughts of March Violets with its vocals and melody drenched shadows but just as strongly forges a distinct presence for itself which marks Morguenstern as different. The second of the two almost stalks the senses in its beauty, malevolence, and irresistible seduction whilst like its predecessor, fusing harsh and caustic aggression aligned to the equally intensive vocals of Morok with a bewitching melodic climate for an impressive and fluid union, the resulting web if sound incendiary for the imagination.

    Another big aspect of the album is the variety brought into the songs under the constant gothic cloak, next up Тяжесть Могильная (Sepulchral Burden) for example exploring heavier mausoleum like atmospheres compared to the more intensive night aired sceneries of earlier songs, and though the melodic and heavy metal lilted track does not emulate the heights of those songs, it offers a refreshing twist in the melodrama of the album’s theme. Both the sultrily tempting Соната (Sonata) and the moonlight radiant Последний Путь (The Last Journey) provide further adventurous sounds and endeavour, the mesmeric vocals of Morgana washing around the senses as infectiously as the electronic and electrified enterprise courting her almost siren like tempting. The pair are like atmospheric magnets on thoughts and emotions, both increasing the undeniable lure of Sepulchral Burden.

     Кровь (Blood) is the next highlight to dramatically seize a rapturous response, its carnivorous voice of riffs and bass snarling imperiously away within the vampiric radiance of the keys and the suggestively masked lyrical suasion. It is a masterful platform for the imagination to play upon even without the aid of understanding its words, painting an evocative and colourful realm for thoughts to devour and expand within. That is a trait you can attribute to all songs to be fair with an even greater mastery to be found in the next up До Свидания (Farewell) with its sonically poetic jeopardy and the vampire heralding Нечеловек (Inhuman). The second of the two sculpts a merger of almost punk bred metal and sonic savagery tempered by the ever crystalline tones of Morgana magnificent creating another pinnacle on the album.

    The quality and evolving might of the album continues through the likes of Came from Ад (Came from Hell), a track like a few to be fair which could soundtrack any classical gothic and noir driven horror movie, the tantalising Пустые Глазницы (Empty Eyesockets) where the melodic and piano sculpted resplendence comes with a haunted voice, and the brilliant electro driven Morguenstern with its glorious Middle Eastern adventure and uncompromising antagonistic predation. All three leave ears and passions with a healthy want for more which the closing Отдай Свой Разум (Give Away Your Mind) supplies in a final ravaging of air and sound, its gothic landscape ripe with exhausting energy and mischievous rabidity to create a last great twist in the album’s invention with male vocal furies leading the towering charge.

    It is an outstanding end to an equally tremendous release which just grows over each subsequent journey through its exciting dangers for increasing success. Featuring guest vocals from Alex Raymar (Desert), Sam (Enemy Pain), Nybras (Iconoclast), Sherman (Bog-Morok and Shexna), and Dirty Scoundrel (Ministry of Truth), it is only the mystery of the lyrical content with provides any ‘annoyance’ on Sepulchral Burden, the album an expansive and immersive gothic romance of terror within which Morguenstern offers very tempting rewards.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/morguenstern/

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, ex-Gamma Ray) makes appearance on DESERT’s upcoming album

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Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, ex-Gamma Ray) made an appearance on DESERT’s upcoming album as guest vocalist.

A statement from DESERT over the link up says “Horns up, Warriors! Now we can officially confirm, that one of the special guests on our upcoming album will be the one and only – Mr. Ralf Scheepers ! The legendary voice of Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and Tyran’ Pace. Ralf kindly agreed to contribute his voice to one of the songs on our new record. We are still excited, that one of the best Metal singers in the world, who’s voice built our musical taste something like for 20 years, had sang one of the most killing and powerful songs we ever wrote !!! We have no patience to show you the results of this collaboration! Stay tuned for more breaking news \m/”

DESERT was founded in 2002 by guitarist Max Shafranski in one of Israel’s industrial and cultural centers, the city of Beer-Sheva. The band’s name was chosen for a reason – it was located in the middle of biblical sands where Moses has led his people to the Promised Land ages ago.

The forthcoming new album is the successor to the acclaimed Star Of Delusive Hopes which was released by Sleaszy Rider Records in 2011. For updates and news on the new release and live shows check out https://www.facebook.com/DesertOfficial regularly.

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Antipope – 3 Eyes Of Time

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With more grooves than a tyre wall at Silverstone, 3 Eyes of Time the new album from Finnish harsh progressive metal band Antipope is an intriguing mix of flavours and spices within a weave of eclectic metal influences. Awash with vibrant melodies and pleasing progressive enterprise it is a release which ignites plenty of appetite for the band and whilst not being the best or most original record to step forth over recent months it is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable.

Formed in 2004, the Oulu band have always been aside of most extreme metal bands, essences of black and death metal standing side by side with those of doom, gothic, and industrial metal within a continually evolving landscape of ideas from the band. After numerous EPs and demos Antipope drew the strongest attention with their debut album Desert which was released in 2010 on their own TCM Records. It was followed by the band signing with Violent Journey Records for the follow-up House of Harlot the following year and also this their third full length. Their second album saw the band create an even more groove laden collection of songs which 3 Eyes Of Time pushes further within its rich wealth of shadows and rapacious sound. The new release also sees vocalist Mikko Myllykangas take on bass duties after fellow band founder Santtu Heinilehto left the band in 2012, and leaves an eager wash of satisfaction for its imagination capturing escapades.

Opening song Close makes its introduction with a melodic beckoning of a singular guitar which smacks of The Eurythmics song Antipope_800Sweet Dreams, it is a heavily shadowed lure with bass in tow soon joined by a magnetic sonic tease and the expressive vocals of Myllykangas offering a slight Marilyn Manson feel. Once settled into its place the track wraps emotive arms around the ear whilst the vocalist moves through varied deliveries to bring a pleasing and unpredictable voice to the melodic wash now in charge of the still attention grabbing sinews. It is not a startling encounter but a strong and satisfying beginning to the release which passes over to the excellent Last Chance.

Guitar and bass immediately provoke and niggle the ear with compelling temptation whilst concussive beats begin their offering to the brewing sense of antagonism. What follows is a tempest of demanding but thrilling rhythmic and riff laden hunger lain with potent melodic endeavour and power metal like embraces. Admittedly the song ebbs and flows with the insistent and industrial honed urgency leaving the appetite greedy whilst the gentler flames incites a drop in intensity to the brewing ardour but it all goes to make the song imaginative and enthralling.

The following stroll of electronic and gothic metal fusion The River Standing Still, keeps attention firmly gripped, its heavy shadows and symphonic whispers expressing a temptation which is rich and teasing whilst the solo and melodic invention leaves a healthy desire for more. There is a sense of The New Jacobin Club to the dramatic presence of the song which asks and gets stronger involvement in its narrative whilst the following likes of the Fear Factory/ Type O Negative sounding Burn with riveting rhythms from drummer Tuska E. adding stronger addiction to the thrillingly carved textures from guitarists Juho Rikberg and Antti Karjalainen, the mix of smouldering atmospherics and fiery invention that is Exposure, and A Decomposing Ritual of Absorption all offer variation and refreshing individuality to the album. The last of these three is a prowling and consuming sinew veined cloud of blackened progressiveness and melodic acidity dripping emotive provocation and inciting expression.

With both The Logic of Self-Discovery and closer Guiding Light bringing further potent highlights to the album, the last a brawling insurgence of thrash filtered intimidation with sonic intrigue and melodic magnetism, 3 Eyes Of Time leaves a full stomach of pleasure and invigorating creative energy. It can be argued it also leaves a feeling of a lost opportunity in its wake as throughout there is a feeling that songs could have been pushed into greatness and adventure but it does offer complete enjoyment which is impossible to dismiss.

http://www.antipope.info

8/10

RingMaster 10/05/2013

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Interview with Oleg Aryutkin of Desert

Through meeting a new friend in Kostya Aronberg of Globmetal Promotions we have been introduced to some real treats and pleasures in the shape of bands and music from around the globe. One of the biggest enjoyments came in the debut album Star Of Delusive Hopes from Israeli metal band Desert. The album was not particularly demanding or challenging but was one of the best examples of honest and irresistible impressive metal. Given the chance to find out more about the band we took no time in bombarding keyboardist Oleg Aryutkin with questions.

Hello and thank you for talking with us at The Ringmaster Review

Please introduce the band.

Hi, and thanks for the opportunity.

We are Desert, a band of six guys who just enjoy playing a decent metal song!

The music we play is a blend of good old heavy metal and something we hope is unique.

With Desert you get epic feel for the lyrics and sing-along choruses from power metal Stratovarius, Dragonforce,, but also punchy beats and riffs from heavy metal, and crapload of keyboards to give it a more theatrical vibe.

How and when did Desert begin?

Sure. Let’s see… Our lead guitarist, Max, started a band back when he was in the military service, just to play some cover tunes he enjoyed. It was Stratovarius, Dragonforce, stuff like that, fast melodic power metal. People joined, people left. Around 2004 stuff got more organized, Max played a gig or two, I’m sure you know these really obscure gigs in basements with soundmen selling pot at the entrance 🙂

Is there any relevance to the band name?

Heh, you be the judge of that. Back in 2004 we all used to literally live in a desert, with camels and what not. So when it came to choosing a name, the guitarist simply looked out a window and went “oh well..”

Just like that.

How has the band evolved over its decade of existence?

It sure did. First, we all learned to play our instruments a bit better. We also managed to find our voice, and not simply copy the music of famous power metal bands like we used to.

Max used to be the sole songwriter, over the years he found the way to come up with these weird riffs I didn’t hear before.

After some time I too started writing, and my approach is completely different.

You have had a few line-up changes during your time as a band too, have these had major impacts on the way your sound has grown?

hmm. we did go through few drummers and bass players. I guess every time it just sounded better and better!

A big upgrade was when we invited a second guitarist, about two years ago, right before the album release, it really gave our live sound more punch, and more aggressive direction to the songs.

For those new to the band how would you describe your sound?

hh, like I said, simple sing-along choruses, low baritone vocals, phat guitars, and well, it’s heavy on keyboards 🙂

We like to keep it technically simple, so no weird breakdowns, but instead we go for almost theatrical vibe, each song is a story.

You bring many elements to your heavy metal sound, what are your major influences that have inspired this?

Talking about our rock ‘n’roll heroes, we grew up listening to Grave Digger, Freedom Call, Helloween, Ozzy, stuff like that.

I look for influences. I really try to absorb everything I hear, be it the new Behemoth CD or a dubstep track I heard on Youtube.

I guess closest to my heart is 80’s music, both metal and popular.

But in the end it all goes through a filter, so no, we’re not black metal meets A-ha 🙂

Star Of Delusive Hopes is your debut album released via Greek label Sleaszy Rider. How long was it in the creating?

Wow, a long time. It was a first major work, we worked the hell out of each tune.

The lyrics went through numerous revisions, the solos were practiced and thought through.

I’d say it took some 3 years to complete the writing. Then, a month of pre-productions, and three weeks in the excellent Nick Savio’s studio.

The album was recorded with Nick Savio (White Skull, Cyber Cross) who you just mentioned, and subsequently mastered by Andy LaRocque, the -nominated guitarist of King Diamond, both doing a great job with your excellent songs. How did you get them on board?

I think we found Nick on-line, and we really liked his work as a producer, so we went for it. Was a right decision, Nick really knows his stuff. And a great guy, too! Spent three weeks in his studio in Vicenza, Italy, so cool!

hm, Andy was an on-line acquaintance, too. He mixed by himself, we did not want to humiliate ourselves by suggesting stupid ideas. We just trusted him to do what he does! It’s funny how he sent us a first mp3 file, going “here guys, it’s like a pre-pre-pre-beta version, suggest something”, and we were like “yeah, don’t touch anything, it sounds golden!”

Can you tell us about the theme and stories that storyboard the songs within Star Of Delusive Hopes?

It’s kinda concept album, or maybe an idea album. All the songs share the same direction. It’s about the struggle for freedom. Most of the songs deal with and tell stories of historic personalities and events, like the title track, which is about the French revolution and the fate of Napoleon, or Victim of the Light, which is about Joan of Arc. We are really into history, and try to take our view on events and why we see them important.

Some songs are more ‘abstract’, like Whispers  – it’s about an inner struggle within a person, I created the spoken intro to help understand the song. And there’s even a pirate song, Letter of Marque, which was kinda meant as light-weight, lyrics-wise, but came out pretty ‘honest’, and I’m really proud of it.

It’s not called Star of Delusive Hopes for nothing. The stories told are all with a touch of bitterness, we tell about betrayal, delusion, failure, but also hope – the whole deal. We try to describe real life, not a fairy tale.

The ideas and song inspirations are quite intense but your music also carries a surprisingly light and exuberant feel within its powerful sound. Was this a determined aspect or something that simply emerged whilst writing the album?

Hmm, never thought of this. I guess it’s just something we did, the way we write. I like a punchy riff, and a good uplifting chorus!

But we always pay attention to unity of music and lyrics, they should deliver the same message, fortify each other! There are tracks like Letter of Marque, with epic feel and a cheerful vibe, but there are also tracks like Whispers, which is darker, since its lyrics are nothing happy…

There is a sense of theatre to your music too would that be fair to say?

I’m really glad you’re mentioning it. There is, I think… Not as theatrical as some progressive or gothic bands, who create almost full-scale theatre plays, like Silentium.

We weren’t set to create a theater music project. It just came out that way. I realized that our songs have a lot of this after Whispers was written. It actually has spoken parts, monologues of sorts, and these weird sound effects that I created, to increase the sense of madness going on.

One track one the album which also became a single was Lament for Soldier’s Glory, It also featured a guest performance from Joakim Broden of Sabaton. How did that come about?

We met Joakim back in 2008 I think when we opened for Sabaton in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Joakim and the guys turned out to be a great bunch, full of life and super-friendly. So we chatted, drank some beers, but no business talk at all.

Some months later, we were working on the album, and this particular song demanded a male duet, at least in my head. So we started thinking who’d be right for the part. The song being about the WWII, Joakim’s name came out first. I was like, ‘yeah, right’. This guy never collaborated with anyone before, and actually refused some serious offers. But we gave it a shot, asked him. And he agreed to take part!

The track came out just perfect in my opinion. Joakim’s vocals fit the tune like a glove, it’s like we wrote it for him. Perfect.

Since then we’ve met quite a lot, Joakim flew in for our album release party, and later performed with us live in Israel, Sweden, and Cyprus. I hope its right to say we’re good friends now.

Desert is renowned for its live shows with you having shared stages with the likes of like Sabaton, Draconian, Nightmare, and Tim “Ripper” Owens. Live shows are a very important aspect of the band for you?

Heh, you forgot Helloween and Stratovarius 🙂  I loved these particular shows! Oh, and Van Canto, they kill!

But let’s get back to us, he-he.

The most important. Desert is all about live shows. We put a lot of effort into rehearsing, thinking through the set, preparing all kinds of interactive experiences with the audience.

And we sure go crazy on stage. We run and we jump, and scream, like there’s no tomorrow!

The moment when I finally got my hands on a keytar (google it!) was a game changing one for me. Finally I can jump off the amp stacks, run into the audience, climb the lights, whatever, while still playing! I just LOVE playing live shows.

Do you see live performances and shows have in a time where people do not seem to be buying music now as more important than making recordings?

As I said, I value live music a lot, and try to attend as many live shows as possible.

But making records is still necessary, you gotta document your creations, and people enjoy the live performance more if they already heard the song, and read the lyrics.

How do you find things as a metal band in Israel, is there a strong scene for you  and others there?

It’s tough, like everywhere else.

In Israel metal is not mainstream, it’s in the underground. But the scene, while not that big, is really strong in the sense of connection between people – bands, fans, writers, photographers, journalists. People are warm, and there are some great bands, too!

We have plenty of shows here, and many bands from all over the world come visit, and they are always amazed by how people here make them welcome!

How effectively has the internet taken you beyond your homeland borders into the wider world?

We have great friends all over the world we wouldn’t have a chance to meet if not for the web.

We have great friends and fans in countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico, Canada – people write us and buy records.

So yeah, internet is super. Still, there’s no substitute for a good live show! Hold on, we’ll get to play everywhere eventually, and meet all these great people in person!

What has the rest of 2012 got in store for you or rather you for it?

hhh, I like the play of words. Well, we kinda took few months off to finish the next album, that’s what we’re after now – releasing a great album. I hope it’ll be ready by the end of the year.

Still playing some live shows, because its great fun and we don’t wanna get rusty!

Do you set yourselves any targets or aims during a year or just let things evolve?

We do set goals. Otherwise things just don’t move. When recording or rehearsing there’s a real schedule, a plan. We take music-making real serious.

Writing, on the other hand, is out of control. We can’t say, ‘ok, we’ll write two songs by next Friday’. Doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

Again thank you for talking with us.

Would you like to leave with any last words for your fans old and new?

Thanks for the chance to chat about the band!

We are Desert, we love what we do, we believe in what we do, and we’ll make your head go Bang!

Stay true, stay metal, and go see a good live band next chance you get!

Read the Review of  Star Of Delusive Hopes https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/desert-star-of-delusive-hopes/Star Of Delusive Hopes

The Ringmaster Review 31/05/2012

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Desert: Star Of Delusive Hopes

Photography and copyright - Guy First

Every now and then an unexpected treat comes forth to pleasure the ear, a band or release sent to or appearing from nowhere to play with and for the senses to give a fully enjoyable experience.  The latest album from Israeli metal band Desert is the latest fine example. Star Of Delusive Hopes is a great release that quite simply gives one a great time. It is not particularly demanding , challenging, or comes offering anything starkly new but the nine track epic album is just an irresistible and lively bundle of engaging metal to make it a more satisfying listen than many other offerings elsewhere lately.

Formed in 2002 in the city of Beer-Sheva by guitarist Max Shafranski, the band took more serious steps with the addition of vocalist Alexei Raymar and keyboard player Oleg Aryutkin a couple of years later. This same year saw the release of their demo The Way To Honor, followed in 2006 by their debut EP Prophecy Of The Madman, both bringing strong acclaim towards the band amongst the underground media. After a line-up change with the adding of Sergei Dmitrik, drummer Zohar Telor, and guitarist Sergei Nemichenister to the original members, Desert worked towards this first album. Through their formidable live shows and the release of Star Of Delusive Hopes via Greek label Sleaszy Rider the band and their stock grew and now with the album coming to the attention of the wilder world one can only see more praise and stronger ardent followers switching on to Desert.

The album was recorded in Italy with Nick Savio (White Skull, Cyber Cross) and subsequently mastered by Andy LaRocque, the -nominated guitarist of King Diamond, in his own Sonic Train studio in Varberg, Sweden. The songs within Star Of Delusive Hopes are themed with tales of great men and women who lived and gave everything for freedom and beliefs, the tracks all stories of lost hopes and betrayal and based on the likes of Giordano Bruno, Joan of Arc, the heroes of Massada siege, and unknown soldiers who fought and died in the fields of Russia. With this premise the album is surprisingly light and exuberant and though mighty in power does not bludgeon the senses at any point. The music of Desert is often tagged as power metal which is a strong feature but with elements of symphonic metal, folk metal and classic metal smoothly mixed in, the sound is a feisty and inviting hybrid. The likes of Moonspell, Hammers Of Misfortune, Rammstein and Tyr all come to mind as the songs with their theatrical grandeur envelope the ear with passion and gusto.

The album opens on one of the two best tracks on the release. The Unsubdued saunters in with a persistent addictive riff, excellent deep clean vocals from Raymar, and the keys of Aryutkin that wave with mesmeric grace from on high. The song spreads in to a rampaging feast for the ear, the guitars of Shafranski and Nemichenister taking control with incisive riffs and firm intensity whilst the rhythms of bassist Dmitrik and drummer Assaf Markowitz lead one into the addictive wealth within the song without needing to bring a brutality to the beckoning.

This song is matched by Victim Of The Light, the other song grabbing the tightest and deepest. As the keys sway and tease like an exotic dancer the riffs consume with muscle and eagerness whilst Raymar unveils the songs tale. With a flowing melodic charm the song wraps itself around the listener like a friend offering a warmth and surety along its length. This is merely a ruse as Desert then twist things, disturbing the safety with firstly a dramatic emotive vocal and piano aside soon joined by coarse growls and glorious discordant keys and a bedlamic intrusion. The song is a triumph and with the opener alone makes the album worth checking out.

The rest of the release is well worth the entrance fee too it should be noted, tracks like the enthused Letter Of Marque, the heart pumping Soul Of A Wanderer, and the impressive Lament For Soldier’s Glory (Order 227) featuring the additional vocals of , all leave one satisfied and grinning. Star Of Delusive Hopes as mentioned does not bring anything new to the table but against that there are not many other similar sounding bands that bring it with the skill and pleasurable energy as Desert either. A great time is guaranteed what more do you want?

https://www.facebook.com/DesertOfficial

RingMaster 23/03/2012

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