Elderoth – Mystic

Collin McGee - Live

To call Mystic, the new album from Canadian melodic metallers Elderoth, easy going and very likeable does not do any justice to the technical craft and skilled invention at work within the proposition, but that is exactly what it is, a highly enjoyable encounter very easy to get on with. The bands second full-length is also a collection of thoroughly captivating songs bred with tenacious imagination and as mentioned, technically impressive invention, a release sure to awaken a new and broader wave of attention on the Montreal based band.

Elderoth is the creation of vocalist/lead guitarist Collin McGee, a project formed in 2007 and soon making a mark on the Canadian metal underground. 2012 saw the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, its presence well-received and awash with the potential of greater exploits ahead, now coming to fruition with Mystic. Infusing N. American and European flavours comparable to bands like Devin Townsend Project and Periphery, with the sound and instrumentation of East Asia, the new album is a fascinating and enchanting offering but also not without a raw snarl or two, or indeed an aggressive streak. It offers tracks which seduce and impose simultaneously, though it is predominantly the former which holds ears and ignites the imagination.

Though a full band live, the album seemingly was performed entirely by McGee showing the talent and multi-instrumental skills he possesses. Within opens things up, the brief instrumental instantly revealing its oriental influence and just as swiftly creating a wind of imposing rhythms and tempestuous riffs. With melodic designs also luring ears from within, the piece evolves into the following Black and Blue where keys create an immediate sunrise of melodic seducing, one bolstered by thickly laid rhythms and the resourceful prowess of the guitars. McGee’s vocals are just as warm and inviting, harmonies flowing and caressing ears in a superbly expressive delivery of the song’s hope bred narrative. It is fair to say that the track is a tempest on the senses, but the kindest, warmest one possible and seriously magnetic with the kiss of Japanese seeded beauty.

elderoth_cover4     Next up the initially darker This Shadow By My Side makes an entrance which is bound by spicy grooves and almost portentous in breath and air. It soon dispels that feeling though with inviting vocals and sparkling sonic enterprise. Into its riveting stride, the excellent encounter brings a whisper of bands like Heights and Voyager to its temptation whilst it’s more creatively turbulent moments suggests elements of The Contortionist and KingBathmat. As the album, time is needed to explore all the layers and adventures within the song but effort only ensures it and in turn the release impresses more.

The outstanding My Future has appetite and emotions inflamed again with its virulently contagious character and thrilling endeavour whilst Falling Star has ears and imagination in an eager submission right from its opening weave of Asian elegance. Of course any essence is part of a richer more involved web, and here rugged almost tempestuous scenery gets involved as spiralling key crafted melodies cross imagined continents with its stirring adventure. The song is pure seduction and the moments when “like a falling star” in the chorus is mistaken for saying like a porn star only adds to the fun.

The calmer charm of In A Dream with its Dream Theater like essence simply dances with body and thoughts, its increasingly energetic and strenuous exploits a beguiling proposal. It is straight away matched by the more heavy metal spiced The Ocean, though its classic tones are soon awash with oriental instrumentation and bewitchment too. Though not managing to carry the instinctive spark exciting the senses in previous songs, with its atmospheric drama around McGee’s impressive technical and composing skills, the song only enthrals before the heavy striding presence and almost shanty like infectiousness of Far In The Sea steals attention away from the real world. The album makes the listener feel like a traveller in many ways, this track one of the most theatrically visual adventures.

The album closes with the transfixing instrumental Always Remember, a track kind of summing up all the exploits and elements found within Mystic in one final individual flight. It is an intriguing hug on the senses and suggestive incitement for thoughts bringing a great release to a thrilling end. Mystic is like a giant melodic magnet, ever since its first touch it has gripped our attention on a daily schedule so far. It is not necessarily the very best album heard or likely to be explored this year but as a highly personable and persistently alluring proposition, it is a winning treat.

Mystic is out now @ http://elderothband.bandcamp.com/album/mystic

https://www.facebook.com/elderothband   http://www.elderoth.com/

RingMaster 29/04/2015

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

Beyond the Dust – Khepri

Beyond The Dust - Promo Pic 2013 HD 1

Beyond the Dust is a French progressive metal band which has a very potent future on the evidence of debut album Khepri. It is not a release which puts the band up alongside the weightier and more robustly adventurous protagonists of their genre, but one which suggests with the ripe potential coursing through their songs, that the Paris quartet could find that success some when within their evolution.

The band made a potent introduction to themselves with their six-track New Dawn EP in 2011, a release which led the band to shows with the likes of Periphery, Sybreed, Protest The Hero, Monuments, and Becoming The Archetype. The song Reality Deformed opened up a new gaze of attention with its unveiling at the beginning of 2012; the song which featured ex-Aliases singer Jay Berast already showing hints of the new maturity in songwriting and sound which is ripe within Khepri. The band signed with Dooweet Records last year for the release of their first full-length, it a 57 min concept album which has been compared to “references like Dream Theater’s Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory mixed with Meshuggah’s Catch 33 and Periphery’s albums.” That might be a grand suggestion for Khepri but certainly Beyond the Dust has grown in creative strength and imagination between releases and this certainly lights up the album.

A mature male voice sets the scene as first track Rise waits in the shadows to reveal its presence. It is a dramatic scene being cast under a stormy sky, one soon joined by the melodic charm of guitars and a darker foreboding bass tone. Similarly the ambience of the track becomes thicker in dramatic hue, providing an intriguing premise that Meshuggah bred enterprise agitates and ignites. The instrumental is a captivating opening to the album, alone sparking the imagination and anticipation of what is to follow.

Clarity is the next offering, its own elegant start a potent coaxing before being immersed in a vibrant but cloudier weave of riffs and rhythmic incitement. It is not a particularly stormy encounter though and is soon mixing in peaceful melodies and certain emotional calms, but still prone to eruptions of raw vocals squalls alongside the predominant clean delivery, as well as fierce intensive roars of sonic voracity. The track continues to seduce and blaze away in ears, the band persistently impressing in craft and ideation but, and something which applies to most of the album, not finding that final spark to push the band beyond familiar territories.

After the Light is a valiant attempt though, a voracious predator from the start but guided by the excellent clean tones of the vocalist and almost as swiftly twisting into unexpected and khepricompelling detours. The song is quite gripping, luring in close attention as you wait to see where it goes next, and it does not disappoint with its imagination whilst still managing to stay within the original framework of the song’s tempest. There are moments where it veers towards the precipice of too much but always turns away and explores new just as sonically theatrical and engrossing ventures. A proposal to take your time exploring, much as Khepri itself to be fair, it emerges as a peak of the release which grows even more impressive over time.

A smoother embrace comes with Relief, melodies and harmonies as resourceful as the guitar escapades and vocal variety. There is a small sense of flamboyancy through the solo which will appeal to some and maybe less to others but it is the lack of the bold almost warped ingenuity of its predecessor which prevents the song lighting emotions as potently. As a rapacious melodic rock track though there is little to ignore and refuse, much as with Last Breath, though the song is much more volatile emotionally and aggressive creatively. The further into its short but eventful body it travels, the greater the creative temptation discovered where again a more twisted invention is allowed to flirt with the listener even if in short doses.

Both Zero and Silence and Sorrow have the imagination heavily invested and ears fully attentive, the first a tenaciously expressive and inflammatory instrumental coaxing thoughts and emotions into the savage jaws of its successor. The most carnivorous track on the album, riffs and rhythms a barbarous incitement, the song proceeds to explore a sonic tapestry of bedlamic enterprise and melodic ingenuity. Funk, jazz, and math rock all seem to have a part of its breeding whilst the ever impressing vocals in their harmonic styling only add to the magnetism of the tempestuous encounter. As After The Light, the track stands as a pinnacle of Khepri, the moments where something new is truly breached.

The three parts of The Edge of Earth and Sea complete the album, each a part of an epic twenty plus minute narrative also standing well individually if taken that way. Part 1: The Tears Of Departures is a mellow and evocative embrace, though as expected it has a fiercer energy to its air and a darker nature to its shadows. They subsequently boil over into a brawling hardcore-esque vocal expulsion over jagged riffs and tingling melodies, the evolving vocals and warm guitar expression ensuring though that there is plenty of adventure in the growing maelstrom, a stormy scene which slips into again the more restrained and charmed opening to Part 2: The Fear Of The Journey This in turn rumbles with storm like emotion and intent across its colourful and technically extravagant soundscape. The mid way collapse into hellish domains, where the safety of the narrative’s protagonist is lost, suddenly ignites the track to new heights matched by the voracious stalking of the senses from riffs and rhythms. There is a new inescapable drama to the scene which you wish was there sooner and longer as Part 3: The Bliss Of The Gathering comes in. With its rugged terrain and hungry hostility aligned to harmonic reassurance, the bliss of its title seems to come at a price thematically, but with a new pleasing adventure offered to the listener.

It is potent end to a fine first album from Beyond The Dust, not one to rave endlessly about but easily a release to recommend progressive metal fans take a good look at. Khepri is a seriously solid and enjoyable proposition, not pushing the band above the crowd but with songs like Silence and Sorrow and After The Light showing flair and promise which definitely excites, it hints that their time in a singular light will surely come.

Khepri is available via Dooweet Records now @ http://dooweet.bandcamp.com/album/khepri

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthedust   http://www.beyond-the-dust.com/

RingMaster 28/02/2015

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/

 

In Progress – North Atlantic Echoes

cover

Bracing, seductive, and thoroughly captivating, the sound of US progressive/experimental rock band In Progress is an absorbing evocation which works on the imagination just as potently as ears and emotions. It is a proposition impossible to pin down but easy to embrace as proven by the band’s sophomore album North Atlantic Echoes. Consisting of seven tracks which combine cinematic adventures with emotively driven moods and sultry climactic landscapes, the band’s new release leads senses and thoughts into evocative embraces, enveloping them in atmospheric caresses and imposing yet welcoming ambiences. The closest comparison which comes to mind is Scottish band North Atlantic Oscillation, an encounter the title of the album points at whether intentionally or by coincidence, though ultimately In progress crafts a presence which is distinct to them.

The New York/Los Angeles based band consists of John Dillon (vocals, guitar, bass, programming, and additional keyboards) and Jake Rosenberg (keyboards and additional programming), who take inspirations from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Devin Townsend, Faith No More, Thrice, Ulver, Chroma Key, and OSI into their inventive explorations. Their debut album Signal Failure of 2011, which featured drummer Mark Zonder (Warlord, Fates Warning, Slavior), drew good responses from fans and media which with its release a couple of weeks ago, North Atlantic Echoes andits own special guests, most notably keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, co-founder of OSI, Chroma Key) and even more experimental and expressive designs has already started emulating.

The warm touch of Tones From a Twisting Verse opens up the immersive embrace of the album, its poetic musical tones immediately caressing senses and thoughts. Keys cast a reflective ambience around the ears, their orchestral grace and smouldering shadows an emotive colour enhanced by the vocal harmonies in flight within. Its scenery unveils within a piano narrative soon joined by the slightly monotone yet warm and melodic delivery of Dillon. The song envelops and leads the imagination into a melancholic and enchanting evocation darkly coloured by the emotional prowess of the duo and their mesmeric sound.

The following Thunderstorms is similarly dark in feel and shadows with a bright bewitching core which glows like a beacon of hope with reflective flames; it a look back to inspirational moments seemingly lost in the drifts of time. As maudlin as its predecessor in many ways, it is also a livelier lucent hug for the imagination; the excellent mellower vocals as transfixing as the inciting words it delivers and the shimmering sounds around them. The song merges dark and light with poise and glorious temptation, becoming a richer potent persuasion with each taking of its provocative account.

The intriguing nintendo-esque rhythmic coaxing of next up Chasing Ghosts, which opens up the track and persists with its kinetic smile throughout, pleasingly leaves expectations lost for words. The track is an evolving drama but an inventively reserved premise for vocals and lyrics to colour with stimulating endeavour. As its predecessors and the album as a whole, the song again grows melancholic seeds into a sonically luminous blossom, its shading and smouldering fire stoked by the additional craft of Moore, the song the first of the trio he joins the band on. Cloudburst straight after is the second. The track has a portentous air to its emergence, epically throated electro expulsions clouding the sky with imposing textures as keys flit through its mass with shards of light and mystery. Dillon is joined vocally by the sirenesque voice of Hwei Ling Ng, their vocal extremes a compelling enticement within an equally captivating climate of sound. With an additional mystique to its melodic waltz and emotional fascination, the track absorbs senses and passions with rhapsodic beauty, its presence urging thoughts at times of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry in their very early synth pop days.

Both North Atlantic and Thorn Yard engulf body and mind in glistering textures and melodic kisses, the first initially glancing across the senses with glimpses of the soon to evolve ambient pop enterprise. It is a firm first touch but feeling more of a caress as the heavier yet and equally celestial embrace of the song takes hold. Graced by the angelic harmonies of Lauren Edwards above and around Dillon and a potent sense of loss which soaks sound and lyrics, this theme common across the release in many personal and easy to relate to guises, the song is another enchantment to drift from reality within. Its climactic build to a somber last hug draws in thoughts and memories ready for its successor whose opening piano and vocal union with a rosy dramatic air to their union sparks thoughts of eighties artists Black, and though its fails to rise to the same heights of earlier songs, the unpredictable flames of effects and fiery crescendos simply enthral.

North Atlantic Echoes is an album which certainly makes a strong suasion in its first encounter but grows into something immensely epic and irresistible over time, final song Graveyard Snowfall with guest touches from again Moore and Edwards, bringing evocative hues to an already spellbinding romance of shadows and lost loves, closing up the tremendous adventure potently. As mentioned the album needs as much time as you can give to reveal the extent of its passions infecting potency but rewards with creative experimentation and emotive emprise which is quite beautiful.

You can stream the album or name your own price for the download at the following link: http://inprogressofficial.bandcamp.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/inprogressofficial

9/10

RingMaster 03/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Seizing time and opportunities: an interview with Enfeeble

enfeeble

German metallers Enfeeble might still be a bit of a secret to the wider metal world but with new album Encapsulate This Moment they have made a potent statement which should grip a stronger attention. It is an album which arguably does not quite fulfil the open potential of the band and their blend of melodic and heavy metal with metalcore predaciousness, but certainly makes a potent impact and in hindsight a lingering lure which brings you back to its compelling confrontation time and time again. Wanting to find out more about the band we had the pleasure to ask guitarist Pascal (Baal) Stafflage and the band about the origins of Enfeeble, their new album, life for a metal band in their hometown, and much more…

Hi and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Firstly can you tell us how the band and its members came together?

It was a few years ago in 2005…Luke was the singer of the school band and I was looking for a singer and guitarist for a new band. I asked Luke if he wants to start a band with me and he was excited directly. A drummer and bassist were found quickly and so we started as a small punk rock band. In the coming years we’ve had many changes on bass and drums. Since the beginning of 2013 we are the current cast.

Did you have any deliberate idea or direction for Enfeeble from the start?

Absolutely no…We started as a punk rock band (like Sum 41, Blink 182…) in 2005 and somehow we grew old and became some sort of metalheads with a little bit of punk rock influence. With the fast and harder music, we feel more comfortable.

You come from the Lingen in Germany. What is it like in the town and surrounding areas for a band trying to emerge?

Really bad to be honest…This whole area has a couple of metalheads but unfortunately most of them retain to a special kind of genre and it´s not our genre. Maybe it’s the country life here. We have no idea what it is. Therefore, we travel a lot around the country.

coverYou have just released your second album Encapsulate This Moment; how do you see the evolution of your sound to it from your debut full-length Too Ugly to Show it!?

We never really see the evolution ´cause we are right now in this process of evolving. But when you compare Too Ugly To Show It and Encapsulate This Moment you can hear that we have become more “metal” and try to improve our skills at our instruments all the time.

Did you approach the new release any differently to the previous album, whether through simply the experience of previously recording something or to achieve something specific?

We have changed the bass player, drummer, studio and attitude. So you can see…almost everything. The result is Encapsulate This Moment…A significant improvement.

With its strong blend of aggression and grooved endeavour, did you find yourself developing a broader bravery in your songwriting for the new album than ever before?

Of course… Almost every month we find new bands and therefore new influences. The songwriting is affected by this as well. And we try to sound unique as every other band to.

What were the biggest inspirations for the album musically and lyrically?

Musically it´s some bands like Killswitch Engage, Protest The Hero, Dream Theater or Threat Signal.

The lyrics were also created by experiences of everyday life.

How does the songwriting process work within Enfeeble?enfeeble3

We got some different ways. Either we play all together and discuss every part and the arrangement. Or Baal writes a song and we refine just a few parts or Baal and Luke sit together on a weekend locked up from the world only surviving with pizza, beer and energy drinks.

Did you find the tracks developing new characters during the studio process or stayed pretty much as intended going into the situation?

We worked together with Jörg from Soundlodge studios and he gave us some of his advice and we rewrote some parts. It was a very inspiring and enjoyable time with Jörg. We learned a lot and had good experiences.

The album has an invigorating rawness to its breath; did you do anything in particular to encourage this aspect?

Luke has a raw natural voice. No fake – All original. Maybe if he starts with smoking and whisky drinking, he becomes the new Lemmy. Just a little big joke :-) Honestly we would not change much on the vocals. Only improve, not change.

Was anything learnt during recording Encapsulate This Moment which surprised you and will be taken into your next release?

Less is more! Some parts, where we have had some double bass and blastbeats are now a standard rock beats. But in the mix it sounds a lot heavier. That was an important experience for us.

For us it is the title track to the album which gives us thrilling chills, is there any moment or essence of the album which gives you extra satisfaction?

Maybe it´s A Million Voices, because the song is really complex in itself and it’s always fun to play it. But also As We Were Like Shadows ´cause it has a personal story and Luke has sung it so fucking beautifully that Baal was crying in the studio. (Beautiful bastard).

You have a strong reputation for your live performances, a different proposition to the studio of course but do you think you captured that same intensity and honest raw quality on the album also this time around?

We guess not. We are always a bit nervous on stage but we believe that we also therefore play with so much energy.

Talking of shows how is 2014 planning out so far for the band ahead?

We already have some confirmed dates. However, we continue to search for new performances… Also internationally. Current dates are always on our website http://www.enfeeble.de

Back to Encapsulate This Moment; tell us about the striking artwork for the album.

We had the luck, to work together with Björn Goosses of Killustration. We had an artwork in our minds but his suggestion (what he thought when he thinks of Encapsulate This Moment) was just perfect for us.

enfeeble 2What comes next for Enfeeble other than shows?

We are working on new songs for the third album. We want to hit the studio in the beginning of 2015. Maybe by then we have found a label who wants to work with us. That would be a dream come true.

Thanks once again for chatting with us, any last thoughts or words you would like to finish with?

Encapsulate all your moments! And thanks a lot for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/EnfeebleOfficial

Read the review of Encapsulate This Moment @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/enfeeble-encapsulate-this-moment/

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 27/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Kirk – Masquerade

 

KirkBand2014

   It has been around eleven years since Swiss melodic metallers Kirk impressed and brought a fresh creative punch through their acclaimed debut album The Final Dance, time which saw the band take an extended break due to internal changes and other projects. This week sees the band return with sophomore album Masquerade to not only make up for lost time but to bring another thrilling and invigorating adventure of their blend of melodic and heavy metal. The eleven track stomp is a captivating encounter destined to similar, even greater, acclaim and attention as its 2003 predecessor.

     Formed by vocalist Thomi Rauch and guitarist Sammy Lasagni in the latter part of the nineties, Kirk with bassist Daniel Pfister, drummer Vito Cecere, and Bruno Berger on keys alongside the founding pair, was soon building a formidable reputation for their sound and live performances. The Final Dance was excitedly received around Europe, North America, and particularly in Japan, whilst shows with the likes of Doro, Pink Cream 69, Axxis, and Shakra only enhanced their growing stature. With the departure of Cecere due to health issues and various members becoming heavily involved with other projects such as Decent Disaster, Godiva, Dr. Crankenstein, and In your Face, the band went on a hiatus. 2010 though saw the year the band reassembled with Philipp Eichenberger taking the vacant sticks position and soon songs began to flow once more within Kirk. Entering the studio with producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic, Khymera), who also produced the band’s debut, the quintet set to work on their second full length, a release which grips with a craft and contagious adventure which can seduce any kind of metal wants.

     The Mausoleum Records released album sidles up to ears with the whispering first touch of Devil’s Claw, a glancing coaxing KirkMasqueradewhich is soon thrust aside by persistent rhythms, hungry riffs and rising melodic atmospheres bred by the keys. The strong start is soon accentuated by the rich tones of Rauch, the singer continuing to impress with more potency as the album progresses. The repetitive eager prowl of the song is the strongest bait of all, which the vocals and guitars swing from with confidence and enterprise. It is not the most dramatic start to a release, or a song which lingers that long after its departure but certainly it makes for an infection clad welcoming which is vivaciously matched by the next up Supersonic Speed. The second song bounds in on a rhythmic stomp which continues to invite as guitars and keys expel their weave of sonic and melodic temptation, whilst emerging grooves to its second half alongside a flaming solo coax the track to another contagious level.

    The title track follows and instantly has the imagination and appetite on greater alert, the almost wanton air of the opening hooks and riffs an insatiable lure eventually tempered by an equally absorbing melodic walk of vocals and emotion. The song continues the evolving rise and success of the album, so far each track outdoing its predecessor, a progress which takes no deviation in course with the arrival of the excellent Eternity. It cups the senses with a ballad like embrace initially, Rauch and the keys of Berger providing an evocative narrative to immerse within, though simultaneously there is a brewing intensity and drama stalking the song aligned to an increasingly anthemic rhythmic march. The prospective dark shadows never come to real fruition but the song certainly deepens its hues and passion with striking textures and darker melodic colours and once into its stride, it creates an appealing mix which you could describe as Dream Theater meets The Mission.

    Fight Or Die Music is a towering prospect from its first breath and soon confirms its might with carnivorous riffs and potent vocals which carry their own personal snarl in league with ravenous beats and a commanding sonic seduction. It is the unashamedly anthemic charge of the chorus which seals the deal, it along with the previous song raising a new pinnacle for the release.

    The album fluctuates a little from here on in but even where songs fail to secure the same depth of reaction they have plenty to induce full satisfaction, as with Nothing Else But Lies and Tragedy, the first a contagion of unsurprisingly but virulently persuasive melodies and group vocal coaxing and the second a flight of smoothly embracing vocals and keys painted melodies skirted by a great cantankerous throat to the bass and rapaciously grunting riff rubs. Neither ignite the air as previous songs or in between them the outstanding Time, but each still leaves full enjoyment. The song they book end is a thrilling waltz of sound and energy, an almost folkish breath playing with thoughts at times whilst its voracious intent recruits limbs and neck muscles with ease whilst the little additives like the deeply masculine backing pokes of vocals, icing on a flavoursome sonic cake.

     The final trio of songs cannot match the first two thirds of the album, though again there is more than enough to draw frequent returns even if they lack the spark and trigger to greater things. Face In The Crowd is an undemanding and resourceful romp whilst The End Of The Universe offers a slower evocation of drama and emotion, both allowing a final slice of unbridled rock ‘n’ roll to be offered by Fallen Angel, it a feisty slab of heavy metal and rousing sinew built rock.

     Masquerade is a stirring march which for the main captures the imagination and lights the energetic boisterous heart in us all. It is like Kirk has never been away, though the experiences and maturity grown over the past decade in its members has led to a new plateau for their presence.

www.facebook.com/KirkSwissMetal

KIRK is on tour this March 2014 with The Poodles & Crystal Ball @

14.03. Milano – Blue Rose Bresso

15.03. Torino – Audiodrome

16.03. Nürnberg – Rockfabrik

17.03. Pratteln – Z7

18.03. Augsburg – Spektrum

20.03. Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik

21.03. Obermarchtal – Kreuz

22.03. Oberhausen – Helvete

23.03. München – Garage

8/10

RingMaster 07/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

From Angels to Bazaars: an interview with Alexey Markov of Starsoup

Alexey Markov.

Starsoup is a band emerging from within Russian which is beginning to stir up a healthy appetite outside of its homeland through debut album Bazaar of Wonders. Creating an enticing weave of heavy and progressive metal invention fed and inspired by a wealth of additional flavours, the album is a compelling adventure which coaxes emotions and imagination with evocative narratives and excellently crafted and skilfully invented enticing songs. To find out more about this awakening creative presence within world metal we had the pleasure to talk with band creator vocalist/guitarist Alexey Markov. Looking at the project’s origins, its first album, opportunities for Russian metal and more, this is what Alexey unveiled…

Hello Alexey and thanks for talking with us.

First of all please give us some background to Starsoup, its origins and the history of its core members.

Well it’s basically a one-man band, but this man (me) doesn’t compose all the music. A big part of Bazaar of Wonders was composed by Andrew Gryaznov – our fellow keyboardist and composer, and there are two songs by my good friends Lex Plotnikoff (Mechanical Poet) and Dan Mescher (Nazgul band). I wrote most of the lyrics and I was the one who financed and produced the record, because in fact I was the only one who really needed it. A significant part of the album was recorded by session musicians.

How did you and Andrew meet and what was the spark to working together?

I met Andrew in a band called Crime of Passion where he played the keyboards and wrote music, and I was invited to sing there. A few times we split and re-appeared, but then the band ceased to exist and I decided I wanted to record our material (because I felt it was good). The spark… well I loved Andrew’s tunes and probably my ideas somehow supplemented his.

Did you have any prime idea or direction when forming Starsoup?

No, totally not. After all we only had 4 songs which we wanted to record. And we just did :) The album is basically something that happened in the process. Maybe it turned out unusually ballad-esque and slow-paced to my taste.

The band is a studio project, was this always the aim of the band or just how it has worked out to this point?

That’s a tough question. I think every musician wants to perform live at some point. Frankly speaking, I’m a bit scared I won’t be able to play (and sing!) the material live as accurately as I did in the studio. I’d say the studio project wasn’t the aim, but right now I don’t have a serious desire to make it a touring band.

What are the inspirations which have most impacted on your ideas for the band and sound?

I think it’s the feelings. When I read a book or watch a movie, or meet somebody, I get new emotions and sometimes I remember them; if they’re strong enough. I wanted the songs to be emotional, not technical.

You have just released your debut album Bazaar of Wonders on Sublimity Records; I believe it was a long time in the making coverso it must be a relief to finally have it out there for public consumption?

Yes, definitely. I feel much better now as this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Time to enjoy life for a few days and then start doing something else :)

Was there anything in particular which held up the album’s creation?

I was waiting for the cover art for a very long time, then I had to find another artist, but fortunately Mr. Smerdulak did an amazing job and I’m happy I chose him after all. The artwork turned out to be wonderful.

How has responses for Bazaar of Wonders been so far in your homeland and further afield?

Strangely enough the response in Russia is very moderate. Some people only hear the accent, some don’t enjoy that it’s not in Russian (why should it?!), some don’t like the musicianship or the songs and it’s kind of customary to get this awkward message through – to the author (me). It’s totally different abroad. We got some very nice reviews from the US, Italy, Greece, Israel and other countries.  I really enjoy reading them.

Is it hard for Russian bands to get attention outside of its borders or with the internet have you found it a relatively painless thing to be noticed?

I think it’s harder for the Russian rock and metal bands because no one sees them as serious contenders on the international stage. But now we have ARKONA with their immense success abroad so they kind of opened the road for the rest of us. Internet helps too, as this interview was organized by our friends at GlobMetal Promotions – and this is so cool we’re doing this.

The album at times brings to mind the likes of Dream Theater and Fates Warning as well as other bands like Stone Sour and Avenged Sevenfold; you are musicians who are unafraid to explore numerous styles to create your melodic landscapes?

Yes, Starsoup won’t stick to any one style. It’s my field for experiments. I start thinking that probably standing next to Dream Theater is a bad positioning for Starsoup. After all it’s just another league – 5 best musicians from the best music school in the world with half-a-million $$ recordings next to my $10k record produced in the middle of nowhere by a guy with very little musical education. I mean I’m flattered standing next to them but this comparison is just a predefined loss on all fronts.

The album sees several guest musicians involved in its making; are they playing your sounds or is it a proper collaboration with these artists and they are fully involved in developing their parts?

I never told anybody what to play. In fact a few times I was surprised how it turned out. I’ll stick to this in the future :) After all I can play almost everything myself. Why call anybody else to do that if they don’t put a piece of their soul in? I let them do whatever they wish.

How do songs generally emerge from first seeds in your songwriting?

Sometimes I just play the guitar and some melody appears – or just a chord progression. I play it a few times (even for a few weeks) and try to imagine things. Sometimes the inspiration comes, sometimes it doesn’t. Or I might have a melody in my head which I try to arrange in some interesting way. Sometimes it’s a guitar riff or a rhythm figure that gives me a feeling of flow. I don’t have a universal recipe.

Alexey Markov and Андрей Грязнов.Reading the information around the band and album, I get the impression that you went into the studio to record a quartet of songs including your debut single Angels which drew great responses upon its release, but ended up with a lot more ideas and potential songs which led to an album instead, is that how Bazaar of Wonders came about?

Yes, the songs were emerging themselves in the process of the album recording. I know they usually don’t record the albums like that – usually the band has all songs ready, books the studio and then records the drums, the guitars, the bass, the solos and then the vocals. But we didn’t have this option – this way the album would never have appeared. But I will surely do the 2nd album the “traditional” way.

Is there anything specific upon the album which gives you the greatest satisfaction?

I like how the cd turned out. It’s a finished and self-contained product from the songwriting to recording and production, to art and design. I love to hold the disc in my hand, putting it into a cd player and listening to it from the beginning to the very end. It sounds different when you look at it as a whole; much better than one song at a time :)

You mentioned that the project has not played live yet, is that something you are hoping to do in the near future?

Not in the near future, although I’ll be probably giving some acoustic concerts in 2014. So I’ll be definitely playing a pair of Starsoup ballads – Rumors of Better Life and The City and the Stars.

What is next for Starsoup?band

We look forward to releasing a pair of new singles in 2014 – and of course one or two videos.  Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll manage to create another album next year :)

Once again thank you for talking to us, have you any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Stay metal! Don’t stay silent: write about the music you like, share it with your friends and don’t miss the gigs!

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup

Read the Bazaar of Wonders review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/starsoup-bazaar-of-wonders/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Starsoup – Bazaar Of Wonders

band

An adventure which coaxes emotions and imagination into expanding its evocative narratives, Bazaar of Wonders the debut album from Russian progressive rock band Starsoup is a richly engaging and intriguing encounter. It is a release which maybe does not ignite a burning fire in the passions but certainly leaves them smouldering with an appetite to explore enthusiastically the excellently crafted and skilfully presented songs. The album is an enticing proposition, a colourful weave of heavy metal and progressive invention merged with additional varied flavours, a mix which captivates from start to finish.

Started at the tail end of 2011, Starsoup is the studio project of vocalist/guitarist Alexey Markov (Shadow Host, Distant Sun) who has keyboardist Andrew Gryaznov (Timesquare) alongside him. Their album, which evolved around the compositional foundation of a quartet of songs written and melodically composed during Markov’s time in the band Crime Of Passion where he was the vocalist and Gryaznov played keys, took over a year to emerge as other projects and the involvement and time of guests upon the release extended its ‘birth’. With a presence and sound which sparks thoughts of a diversity of bands from the likes of Dream Theater, ArcticFlame, and Stone Sour to Rush, Fates Warning, and Avenged Sevenfold, the album is a striking declaration of strong impressive vocals and melodic exploration within a senses inciting keys sculpted grandeur.

The Moscow duo open the Sublimity Records released album with the band’s first single Angels, one of the previously mentioned coverfour songs which bred the album and as the others re-recorded and evolved for the album. With the impressive piano skills of Gryaznov making an emotive invitation, guitars and bass soon ignite the air around a firm and commanding rhythmic frame from by Alexander Vetkhov who provides drums and percussion across the whole of Bazaar of Wonders. As the strong and expressive vocals of Markov start unveiling the lyrical narrative, his delivery across the whole of the album diverse and potent, the track mixes up a power ballad like stance brewed with a feisty energy. It is a welcomingly introduction to the album and a clear portent of things to come, keys and vocals the brightest beacons within creative songwriting and striking musicianship across all aspects.

The following Ain’t No Superman confidently idles in with a jazz funk like swagger, its heat accelerated by melodic guitar flames. Into its stride the song is a more straight forward heavy rock encounter but one with a wealth of additives which keeps it unpredictable and intriguing, if less successful than its predecessor. Nevertheless there is plenty for the ears to get excited by, as also with Try. An acoustic guitar and piano resourcefulness wraps the ears before Markov fills the ballad with his fine voice backed with good harmonies. As it walks into its fullest height there like in all songs, is a fire in its belly which empowers the passionate bursts which erupt from within the melodic canvas. If aggression is the want the song, and ultimately the album are unlikely to suffice but for melodically spawned emotive adventures the release is a refreshing offering.

Both Cradle of War and Rumors of Better Life continue the ballad seeded attack, though the first of the pair from its elegant first third with a glorious flame of saxophone to its breath explodes into an intensive and muscular persuasion which constantly flirts with the passions throughout its impressive venture. Its successor is a mesmeric sunset of seductive melodies and evocative charm, a caressing wash of beauty which without enflaming emotions feeds them and thoughts skilfully.

The album’s best track Past Bites bruises the air with a fine array of sinewy riffs and crisp rhythms, a Metallica edge and essence seeping into the boisterous elements whilst again inventiveness fuels the triumph of the track and the intense hunger for its presence. It is the pinnacle of the release which makes the likes of the following The City and the Stars and Voices of the Wind seem pale in their balladry, though both again are impressively crafted. Between them though there is the excellent instrumental Bazaar, a piece of composing and realisation incendiary to imagination and emotions brought with a sonic mastery  which simply seduces from start to finish; guitar, keys, and bass exceptional provocateurs in its mystique clad temptation.

The closing trio of songs, Road to Sunset with its great sultry sax calls and anthemic vocal mixes, the heavy metal bred Perfect Loser, and the closing piano conjured instrumental Rain in the Desert ensures the album ends on an enterprising and enjoyable stance, each individual and additional lures to a fine album. As said earlier, Bazaar of Wonders does not leave fires raging in the passions but certainly makes Starsoup worthy of close attention.

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup

7.5/10

RingMaster 08/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com