Pray For Locust – In the Shadow of the Colossus

Photo by Hilda Arneback

Photo by Hilda Arneback

Like a venomously disgruntled nest of vindictive hornets, In the Shadow of the Colossus the new album from Swedish metallers Pray For Locust swarms over senses and imagination with hordes of vitriolic grooves, ravenous sonics, and most of all an inventive viciousness which is predatory in its more restrained moments alone. The second full-length from the Stockholm quintet is simply magnificent, a gripping maliciousness which stands amongst many in fusing metal and hardcore but alone in sound and enterprise.

Formed in 2009, Pray for locust has earned a more than decent reputation and loyal following with their live performances and debut album Swarm of 2010. It is safe to say though that the successor to the album and well-received Into the Ocean EP of two years ago is the band’s finest moment and the realisation of their place to the fore of raw, creatively antagonistic metal. Self-produced and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (Aeon, Live Elephant, Hate Ammo), the Discouraged Records released ravager is an exceptional beast with the potential to inspire.

The album seizes total attention right away as opener Bat Country wraps a sonic squall around ears before the band erupts into an PrayForLocust-InTheShadowOfTheColossusintensive persuasion of savage riffery and similarly destructive rhythms. It swipes the cobwebs away from thoughts and emotions immediately, the heavyweight metallic voracity of the track a potent co-conspirator with its hardcore roar. Vocalist Tintin Andersen drives the encounter to a new causticity upon the entrance of his uncompromising lyrical brawls and passion drenched tones, adding to the consuming immensity of the fury caging the listener. It is a masterful concoction, brief sonic hooks and longer lingering grooves superbly littering the muscular rage sculpted magnetically by guitarists Jerry Engström and Stefan Schyberg whilst the inventive rhythmic assault of Simon Corner cages and bewitches with another soaking of cruelty.

The towering start is just a warm up though as This Blackened Sky digs deeper and thrusts further into the passions with its contagious brilliance. Swirling sonic laces entangle the imagination initially, rhythms and vocals courting the intrigue with vengeful rapaciousness before the track settles into a darker and restrained parading of its animosity and imposing narrative. It is not long though before the urgency returns with uncompromising intent but it is happy to share time and space with the ‘gentler’ intrusiveness whilst also inviting a raw and infection driven swagger to help launch the chorus. The variation of vocals is also as incendiary and welcome as the revolving invention in sound and gait, it all ensuring every second, each twist of the track is irresistibly toxic.

Both Dead Mans Curse and Reap What You Sow provide rich fuel to the fire for the release ignited in the passions, the first cored by a understated but potent throaty bass suasion from Kvasi, a prowling agonist with a death metal scented malignancy. The bass provides a great snarl and depth to this, and to all songs to be fair but often elsewhere it is immersed in the mix too much for personal tastes but certainly here makes an open impact. The second of the pair of songs seems to take inspiration from the loftily soaring hostile flames and emotive enticements of its predecessor and spills a resourcefully dramatic provocation to its implacable body and invigorating body. Grooves writhe and seduce throughout the tempest, encouraging and tempering the anger of sound and vocals simultaneously in another excitingly shifting savaging. It is not as concerned with atmosphere and melodies as the previous songs but employs the same unpredictable and extensive ingenuity within its ferocity.

Talking of ferocious, the word hardly does justice to the wrath of Ten Thousand Dead, its heart bred from the purest punk hatred and structured with a multi-flavoured metal furore and endeavour which bands like Meshuggah, Lamb Of God, and Cancer Bats would devour. The following Our Last Breath continues in similar vein after emerging from provocative shadows clad in waiting predation. That fierce rabidity needs little waiting time though to charge as sinews and intensity overpowers the senses. Its rampage is additionally coloured by addictive sonic spirals and a rhythmic buffeting which splinters with resonating malice upon collision with ears. Twisting and flirting at times with blistering imagination, the bruising storm re-confirms the strength of the album and startling craft of the band.

 God of the Underworld flies for the throat with metalcore tendencies aligned to melodic poison next, vocals again an impressively varied enticement enriching the hues of the unrelentingly ingenious battle, whilst the following Statement spits and rages with merciless intensity, hardcore and metal merging for a raucous malevolence which enslaves thoughts and emotions brutally and completely. Though neither song quite lives up to earlier tracks, it is the excellence of songs before which is the difference and not any lack of invention and potent lures within the pair.

The album concludes with the ravenous and exhaustive virulence of Bad Blood and lastly Heroin Eyes, the first a glorious imaginative corrosion which rips the throat from emotions. The final song is a thrilling barbarous pillaging not quite matching the last song but bringing In the Shadow of the Colossus to a tremendous if not as memorable finale. Overall the album is a scorching agitator, one scintillating in sound and craft whilst providing an encounter which leaves psyche and senses basking in an enterprise rarely heard in the majority of hardcore bred releases. There is no need to watch out for Pray For Locust as after the album hits the world it will be impossible to avoid their storming presence we suspect.

In the Shadow of the Colossus is available via Discouraged Records now!


RingMaster 30/04/2014

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Borg 64: Anywhere But Here EP


    It has to be said few bands manage to ignite that primal passion and excitement which borders on lust but to the list of those who have for us here, we can eagerly add Swedish noise twisters Borg 64. The band and their Anywhere But Here EP are just sensational, a tour de force which captures, chains up, and smashes the senses and heart with furious rampant psychotic ingenuity.

From Luleå, the trio of Sven Engdahl Hamilton, Fredrik Johansson, and Markus Wanler conjure antagonistic confrontations which devour the listener with rabid hunger whilst searing them with delicious addictive sonic invention and startling imagination. Originally a political drum n bass act which began in the late 90s, Borg 64 evolved into their own unique furnace of hardcore punk and electronic whipping. The band had two critically acclaimed releases on the now defunct Codebreaker Records but now return after a seven year hiatus stronger, more violent, and irresistibly virulent than ever before.

Released on Discouraged Records, Anywhere But Here snarls and chews on the senses and world through a quartet of borg_64_10_inch_outer_sleeve_4uncompromising annihilatory blistering furies. From the initial electro fizz of opener Death To False Power Chords soon accompanied by a hellacious attack of crippling beats, the track is an immediate hook which has thoughts and emotions secured upon its vicious barbs. Into its stride the song is an unbridled abrasion of squalling vocals, deeply rummaging riffs, and intrusive incendiary electronics as contagious as they are wantonly seductive. The track, as the whole release, is a schizophrenic riot of vision and passion, its course twisting and winding tighter around the ear with delicious predatory basslines, caustic electro spite, and ruinous vocal fervour.

Late Nights At Quarks takes over from the stunning start to trash out greater heights and compulsive insidiousness, its vindictive rhythms and bass savagery complimented by sinister venomous sonic lashes and malevolence. The song is an exquisite but ferocious spear of inciting and intrusive invention which leaves greedy rapture in its aggressive wash. The following Judge Jury Executioner Talkshow Host is an equally intensive continuation of intent and sonic mastery with just as rich rewards and results for the listener. Once more the electro and viciousness of the band combine for a tsunami of rampaging invention and corrosive magnificence.

The staggering EP is completed by Luleå, a track surging with mischievous addiction forming hooks and synapse burning melodic poison which leaves one basking in its irrepressible heart and magnetic invention. The track is merciless as it erodes and enflames the passions whilst chewing with raptorial fervidness on the senses from first nasty and wonderful note to last.

Imagine a crazed mix of Converge, Enter Shikari, Kabul Golf Club, and Coilguns and you come near to the excellence of Borg 64 and their Anywhere But Here EP, though all suggestions are still off from their quite triumphant skilled and distinct discordance.


RingMaster 20/02/2013

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Bingo: Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar


    Offering 23 abrasions in just over 25 minutes, Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar is a ferocious grindcore assault which is not for the faint hearted. Unleashing the rawest and most chaotic mass of sonic bruises the album is a debilitating collection of tracks from Swedish grindsters Bingo brought together in one lethal release. It is a festering expanse of spiteful venom, merciless aggression, and insidious invention. It does not play nice, or fair, but for fans of the genre the album is an eagerly awaited and rewarding intrusion.

Bingo is/was a band formed in 2004 consisting of bassist Ivan Hermansson (now in raw punkers Lars Adaktusson), vocalists Anders Nordberg (now with crust band Eskatologia and also Lars Adaktusson) and Gerda Berglund (now ‘screaming’ for Misantropic), drummer Anders Inga (now in hardcore band Kidnapped), and guitarist Johan Larson (now in hardcore act Spela Snabbare). The band entered the studio in 2006 for what was intended to be their debut album Mer grind än din morsa (More grind then your mother). Shortly after recording the tracks Hermansson left and was replaced by Petter Karlsson (now guitarist with Lars Adaktusson). 2008 saw the band recording the follow-up release with legendary underground producer Erik Lindbergh, and it is both recordings which get their proper release as the double grind album Ett grindslagsmål i 2 delar from Discouraged Records. The tracks have been remastered to gain a consistency across the expanse of the album but without removing the raw harshness which makes them stand out and be so effective.

The release is a caustic onslaught with extra crust tendencies which takes no prisoners sonically or lyrically, the tracks dealing with bingo-album1400x1400the likes of politics, social issues, and the greedy consumer led society man has become, or simply as the promo states it is ’the soundtrack to your job resignation, your defence speech for a meat free lifestyle, or why not a “fast” tutorial to political activism.’ The vocals are a constant squall of energy and spite which thrust forth the predominantly real life story based songs and though sung in Swedish the emotion and anger is undisguised, even if the actual content is unavailable for us of limited language skills. As mentioned the album is for true genre enthusiasts but also offers plenty one suggests, to grab the attention of extreme noise fans everywhere.

The tracks at first engagement offer a similarity across the album, the surface sound cored by a constantly sapping attack but bravery rewards and determined venture into the release in time and effort reveals a wealth of variety and invention, you just have to work for it and swim against the sonic tide. The twin male and female vocals is the first notable thing about the band, the pleasing vocal attack an excellent distinct proposition which arguably can be best described as a violent union of Iwrestledabearonce and The Agonist. Behind them the sounds are a caustic maelstrom of violence occasionally speared by destructive grooves and shards of discord caked melodies. It is a compulsive combination which many will fear and just as many will revel in.

Highlights on an album which is maybe surprisingly high on consistency for so many crippling brief furies, arrive first with the twistedly grooved En Dor Cirkus Dar Folk. The song is immediately addictive as the serpentine groove entrances the ear whilst rhythms, riffs, and vocals unleash their barbarous intent. The longer it stays around, barely a minute actually and shorter than it took to write this particular paragraph, the more searing and nasty it becomes to result in a very satisfying encounter.

The punk riot of Jag Ville Hångla Men Började Slåss steps to the fore next soon followed by the best two tracks on the release in Gröna Vågen är wiped and Valkommen. The first of the pair is a stream of intensity built to waste the senses but beneath the fire there is a persistent drone like groove which wins the day as it climaxes the song accompanied by a sampled vocal piece. It is intriguing and openly different to what came before and what follows. The second is an infectious again punk driven track which reminds of bands like the Buzzcocks, its melodic hook irresistible, though at barely a few seconds long it could not go wrong.

Further peaks come with the sensational slight folk/progressively tainted Ålidhem, the contagious metal hooked For Istället Musik – Organisering with a great bass performance, the rampaging Grind Mot Reindfelt, and closing track Cancersvulst Kan Du Va Själv. Overall though the album is a great tempest of unbridled noise and passion which will be a pleasing treat for grindcore and extreme metal fans though maybe not quite as appealing for others.

RingMaster 30/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright