Unbowed – Dogma

Unbowed_RingMaster Review

Two years ago Canadian metallers Unbowed grabbed thick attention and praise with debut album Collapse The World. It was a raw and ravenous slab of black metal atmospherics fused with death metal corrosion; blackened death metal with melodic tendencies that was unafraid to push it and its creator’s boundaries. It was also rich in open potential which has now been nurtured to striking effect for new EP Dogma. Offering four atmospherically primal and raw yet creatively elegant tracks, the release sees the Ontario duo breach a new plateau of songwriting and sound whilst opening fresh potential suggesting even bigger triumphs to come.

Formed in 2011 as a studio project by multi-instrumentalist Alex Snape and vocalist Ioan Tetlow, Unbowed proceeded to release a self-titled demo EP, the aforementioned Collapse The World, and bring together a live line-up which has played a host of shows and shared stages with the likes of Battlecross, Einherjer, The Contortionist, and Erimha throughout Ontario. Their bracingly invasive and imaginatively provocative sound has seen the band’s reputation grow within the underground spreading outwards and you suspect things are set to erupt with greater strength again as Dogma infests ears.

Unbowed Dogma - Final Cover Art_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with The Bleeding Throne; an enveloping of the senses and imagination from its first breath marked with a herald of melodies and atmospheric keys. It is a welcoming if portentous prelude to a rampant cascade of rabid riffs and matching rhythms within a wave of intensity as catchy as the thrash like canter that emerges from it. The craft and sound of Snape quickly impresses and works away on appreciative ears whilst the raw throated vocal squalls of Tetlow add a just as effective drama and predatory temper to the tapestry of provocative sounds around him. Thoughts of warriors, deceptions, and bloody turbulence are easy casting for the imagination as the song expands its sonic narrative, but equally there is an exotic beauty and expressive majesty to the song which grips the listener. It all further enhanced by the tendrils of varied metal and livelier variety in the vocals with blossom throughout.

It is a gripping and fascinating start which continues in the even more confrontational Besieged; though it too spins a web of guitar enterprise and rhythmic tenacity as infectiously alluring as it is barbarously intimidating. With sweeping melodies and expressive keys, you can visual the setting for the song’s drama and narrative. Broad and expansive, harsh yet beauteous landscapes are visualised, providing the canvas for the resourceful and enthralling imagination of the two musicians. As the first, the song bewitches as its trespasses, leaving a hunger for more which the closing pair of The Fall and Echoes of Cernunnos heftily satisfy. The first merges consuming textures and destructive virulence with flowing ambiences around epically poetic melodies whilst its successor provides an animus of ill-intent and immersive sufferance brewed with sonic rabidity. Both take unexpected and dramatically contrasting turns, the first especially enthralling with its melancholic and tainted reflections. The final song is more concentrated in its core attack but around its invasive spine, Snape creates a realm of celestial grandeur and earthbound intimacy coloured by the great vocal abrasion of Tetlow.

Dogma is superb, a release which only reveals more depths and corners with every listen. It leaves the band’s potent last album pale in comparison and equally many a black and death metal emprise heard in recent times.

Dogma is available from February 12th @ http://unbowedofficial.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 12/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nachtblut: Dogma

Dogma the new album from German band Nachtblut certainly grabs the attention from its first surge of energy to the last. It is a storm of inspired black metal and symphonic industrial with strong strains of classic metal for extra flavouring to lead the ear and senses on a lively and corruptive journey. Like a festering brew of Rammstein and Deadstars with the insatiable blackness of a Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir, the album is a readily pleasing and intriguing release.  Though it does not really leave one breathless with excitement or amazement it without reservation treats one to an imaginative and compelling companionship.

Originally a solo project by vocalist Askeroth, Nachtblut meaning night of blood in English, evolved into a full line-up as the singer found like minded musicians to share his visions and imagination. Through their  love shows and the  self released  The First Supper of 2007 the band drew much attention their way. Shared stages with the likes of Immortal, Sodom, Watain, Varg, and Endstille followed as their provocative nature and sounds brought them acclaim and arguably equal despise but always attention. 2009 saw the band release their concept album Antique followed by its re-release two years later when the band signed with Napalm Records who also release Dogma. Long awaited the new album from Askeroth, guitarist Cross, bassist Sacerdos, drummer Skoll, and Lymania on keyboards, finds a defined maturity to their sound and an inspiring imagination, as well as an irresistible union between two distinct genres.

The album, opens with the title track and probably the song closest to being truly black metal on the album. The atmosphere brought from the simply keys and exploratory guitars sets the tone for the track with the blackened vocals of Askeroth as vehement as the songs is mesmeric in its emotive breath. The track is striking without leaving a lasting impression though the following Der Weg Ist Das Ziel certainly achieves that with its military like initial beats and driving riffs. Striding with a heavy metal intent and heavy symphonic air the song is a commanding and satisfying beast with extra impressive asides in the shape of the pipe like keys and melodic hooks.

The likes of the striking Rache and impressive Macht leave one further satisfied but it is with a trio of songs that the greatest highlights of the album are found. The excellent gothic gaited Ich Trinke Blut with its glorious full melodic heart aligned to a venomous intensity, the hypnotic  Eiskönigin, and the predatory industrial toned stomp of Mordlust, all easily standout. Each is a rampage of strong invention, imagination, and wanton desire to envelope the senses with an intrusive yet infectious majesty. Arguably the album as a whole does not quite live up to these songs but there is never a moment where ingenuity and compulsive listening is left wanting.

Closing on Vulva and Schritte further songs that are impossible to leave until their final notes depart, the album is an impressive fusion of styles brought in a fluid elegance and formidable might. Possibly Dogma as a whole lacks enough moments for more of its tracks to remain in thought and memory after their leaving of the ear but whilst together there is nothing less than a pleasurable and rewarding exchange of emotions and enjoyment.

Ringmaster 25/06/2012

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