Symphonies in sound and imagination: exploring Sahona with Charly Sahona

Charly Sahona_RingMasterReview

2016 received one of its early treats just a few weeks back with the release of the self-titled Sahona album. It was the debut release from the new melodic rock project of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Charly Sahona of progressive metallers Venturia. It is a release which is, in our own words “a rousing drama of sound and imagination.” Offered the chance to find out more with Charly, we grabbed a hefty chunk of his time to explore the creation of the band and its first album, and simply the creative heart of the man…

Hi Charly, many thanks for sharing time with us. How are things in the Sahona area of the world?

Hello, thanks for the invitation. Well, things are fine here. The album is out and so far, reviews have been very positive about it . We’re about to release a new music video and shoot a new one. I’m working like crazy in order to perform these songs live as soon as possible . So, I can say I have a good life .

Before we look at your excellent debut album, would you tell us about the first days of Sahona. It was originally meant as a solo project for you?

Oh thanks, I’m glad you like it !!! Sure, you’re right , at first, the album was meant to be a solo project and more precisely, the follow-up of Naked thoughts from a silent chaos released in 2010 but the songs are quite different and so are the musical arrangements and the line-up. So, the first days of Sahona as a full band are recent but the writing of the songs began in 2013. Oh It actually took a lot of time before we recorded and released it .

What sparked the creation of the project; what was it you wanted to explore different to your music in progressive metallers Venturia

I really wanted to do something different with this one. I like my musical-making to be in a constant motion. At the same time It’s necessary to stand back with the last thing you released and start something new with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. For this project, I wanted to write something without any heavy riff played on a 7-string and focus on different musical textures, guitar sounds and new grooves.

You touched on it earlier, so you had a collection of ideas and songs already in the works before you invited fellow musicians to help out?

Yes, after I finished the first 4 demo-songs, things were clear in my mind and I knew who I wanted to work with. I like to make music with talented people of course but it’s always better when you do it with your friends. So I first asked drummer Stéphane Cavanez to join me , I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a brilliant musician, very enthusiastic about things. After hearing the demo version of On this winter night , he said he would agree to play on all the songs . Same thing with my long-time friends Fabien Paraillac and Cédric Artaxet; I don’t remember exactly if I sent them the first four demos before asking them to join me but anyway, both of them agreed. I was very glad and happy they all said yes to join me for this project. I knew they would sound great together and that my songs would have been transcended thanks to them .

sahona_RingMasterReviewSo what was the catalyst to changing the idea of guest musicians to a full band?

It was something I had in mind for a while , as the songs have a different sound compared to the things I did before. As we were recording, there was an obvious musical chemistry going on and it reinforced me to think about having a band name for this project. So I talked about it with Chris from Dooweet agency and to my buddies. We all thought that the idea of the band was obvious and as the name Sahona sounds cool for a band too, the choice was done, easy to make and I didn’t have to scratch my head during days in order to find a new name . The other thing is: as the musicians are my friends, the idea of having a band together was something natural. More, I really like to immortalize music with talented friends.

Was it an easy to decision to ‘share’ your songs with I am guessing musicians with their own adventurous ideas when creating music?

Sure, it was very easy as we’re all professional musicians . There was no ego thing that could have been hard to deal with . I wanted a more organic sound and a sophisticated modern rock approach and I knew what my band mates were able to do .

For example, the drums I programmed were done in a prog-metal style and Stéphane brought a more refined  rock groove, I let him do his stuff as everything was matching .

As I’m the lead singer and as there are many guitar layers on these songs it was obvious to ask for help and some back-up . I couldn’t imagine another guy than Fabien to play the guitar with me on this album.  We have the same guitar approach but he’s more rock than me.

We recorded a lot of different guitar takes and during the mix, we chose what was best for the song no matter if it was him or me playing….

He did an amazing job on the mix too. Just like his guitar sound, all the songs sound powerful and organic.

Regarding the bass, there was a couple of things I asked Cédric to play the exact same way I did on the demos. But as my bass programming was voluntary basic most of the time, he added his own personality and groove that matched perfectly Stéphane’s drumming . He even changed some root notes that at first surprised me, and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.

In the end, everything felt easy and natural.

Did their input mean your songs changed or evolved from their original characters once the band was a full involvement of all?

No, not really but I guess things will evolve when we’ll perform live. It’s a natural process and it’s important for us to make slightly different things when we play the same songs over and over.

When writing songs, do you come at them from different angles or have a general way of bringing them to life from idea to sound?Album cover_RingMasterReview

I usually have a precise idea of how the album or a song will sound like even though the root of all songs is based on a guitar or keyboard chords progression and a simple hummed melody . Then, I’ll program a midi file of what I just did. If the melody sounds good with a bad flute midi sound and a midi bass line, I keep the idea and will have a clearer vision of how it will sound like with all the instruments. Then I’m thinking about what kind of drum beat, bass line, guitar riff, and keyboards texture would fit with the idea of the song and at this moment, the creative process is growing fast. Or, not that fast actually because getting the right keyboard sounds or guitar effects takes me a while very often. When I’m programming , I have in mind how my band mates would play it and that’s the reason why I’m never really surprised (although I’m always amazed) when they bring the songs to life with their style and their sound. It sounds obvious to my ears and at the same time I’m so excited to hear what they bring to a song and to discover how it takes the song to a higher level.

Tell us about the lyrical themes behind the album.

Sure ! I decided to do something I never really done in the past.  I wrote about the most widely expected subject in the world: Love !!! But not the way girls like it though (no offence intended girls, I’m just kidding !!!) .

Reading and writing romantic and soppy stuff are not my thing at all as I’m a cynical and rational guy . So the majority of these lyrics are about love and its frustrations and turbulences . It’s way more interesting, true and realistic in my opinion. But when I say “love”, It doesn’t only mean the feelings you have for your girlfriend or your boyfriend,  I use it for the passion you have for your art or whatever that excites you too, it can be painting, sport, your beliefs and then we’re slightly get into the spiritual aspect and themes I like to write about as well.

Most of my lyrics are not explicit, this way people can identify with them and make their own story.

I usually prefer to describe impressions than reality.

What about the recording of your self-titled debut? How long was it in the making?

It’s funny because it took a long time to finish it (something like two years !!!) but the writing and the recording were actually very fast and easy to do. As we’re used to record in studio, we know how it works and we’re getting more and more efficient and good at it. But as we didn’t have any deadline or expectations,  we took our time to record it. The rule was to get together when we were able to do it only. It was: job, touring with cover bands, tasks and family priorities first. This way, we were in a very relaxed state of mind and every time we forgathered, it was for fun.

Ok, the album was supposed to be released in late 2015 but for commercial and administrative reasons it got more delayed .

Did you approach its recording differently to creating releases with your other projects?

Yes and no … As it’s the 5th album I’m producing , I’ve learned through the years with amazing people and  I’ve also learned from my mistakes. Today, I know the importance for everybody of being prepared and how to record the best way possible taking into consideration the people you work with as every musician has his own preferences and personality. And that’s how a recording session can be different from the ones you experienced in the past: it depends on your line-up as well. So I asked my band mates about the way they wanted to record and I just let them do it their way as it’s extremely important for artists to work the more relaxed and efficient way possible.

But the thing that changed a lot for me was to share the guitar parts with Fabien but it was so exciting to hear him play with a different strumming and sound than mine and then mixing our guitar tracks together. I really enjoyed it .

Oh, and there was another great thing : My vocal takes were recorded home with a very cool equipment a friend of mine lend me.

This way, I took my time…I was recording one full song a day and the day after, if something was not exactly the way I wanted to be, I just had to press the « rec » button again and it was done. I don’t like the feeling of recording in a studio with time passing, all the money you know you’ll have to spend, the people around you even if it’s your friends. I did it many times in the past and I can tell you how relieved I am to work and to record alone at home, it gives me so more freedom and offers you more possibilities.

sahona_RingMasterReviewHave you found there has been an instinctive urge to do things with Sahona and the album differently to your other ventures elsewhere, just out of the want to try different things?

Yes, as I told you, I wanted to have a different musical approach, a different sound, a different line-up. But on the top of that I really wanted to express myself to another level, and the best way possible as a singer and I’ve been working hard to achieve that. Maybe, being the singer of your own songs reinforces the introspection aspect of the creation. This is not to say that this album sounds more like “me” than the previous ones I did with another lead singer, it’s just different . But as you give more of yourself as a performer, it makes the thing more introspective and maybe more intense and that’s what I wanted to achieve too.

I always imagine a debut album breeds new ideas and opportunities to try and explore further in its successors. Elements not imagined and expected when composing that first encounter. Were there any which arose for you in the making of Sahona’s debut?

I’m always excited to explore new territories, new sounds, new chords progression, new ways of making music. Having a more or less precise idea will always push you to go further in order to create something new and interesting. Listening to different music, going to the theatres, reading books, talking with people, playing with musicians…All this things are inspiring and maybe it if it’s not always a conscious thing, it will incite you to evolve as a human being and inexorably in your art and in your life indeed. This is something I like to be aware of and thankful to.

What comes next for Sahona and its individuals?

We have to play live as soon as possible and we have to work hard for that. We intend to begin a tour in our country in September. Then we will focus on the next album as we’re all really happy about this debut one.

My thanks again Charly for talking with us; Anything you would like to add?

Thanks for having me !!! Congrats to the readers for reading this interview so far and thank you Pete for spreading the word about the music you like whether it’s mainstream or underground .

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

Oh my god, they are so many . But let’s try to do it fast. I’ve always been a fan of classical music but the one from the early 1900 with composers like Ravel, Bartok, Debussy, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff. As a guitar player I’m a huge fan of guitar heroes like Steve Vaï, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, John Petrucci. I’ve always been into progressive music with bands like Genesis, Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Frost, Opeth and I’m really into their contemporaries with the young prog underground scene like Destiny Potato, Disperse and especially with the metal djent scenes with bands like Periphery, Tesseract, Monuments who took progressive music to a new level. I like rock and pop music too with bands like Muse, Radiohead, Keane, Dead Letter Circus.

All these bands and musicians have inspired me in many ways indeed.

Check out our review of the Sahona album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/sahona-self-titled/

https://www.facebook.com/sahonamusic/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2016

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Sahona – Self Titled

sahona_RingMasterReview

Some things are meant to be and seem to navigate to that outcome whatever the initial intent. French melodic rock band Sahona is one of those propositions. Originally, it was intended as a solo project but as musicians were brought in to help its creator, the dynamics and creativity of a band took over. Now they make their introduction with a self-titled debut album; a rousing drama of sound and imagination that simply grabs attention.

Emerging from the South of France, Sahona was formed in 2013 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Charly Sahona of progressive metallers Venturia. As mentioned, the project was set up as a solo venture with friend and drummer Stéphane Cavanez brought in to help out. Having produced some songs for the duo, guitarist Fabien Paraillac soon joined the pair, to be joined later by bassist Cédric Artaxet. As everything and everyone gelled, Charly proposed to turn the project into a full band venture with this their first album recorded in the spring of 2015. Now it is unveiled and ready to tempt and entice with its adventurous blend of melodic and progressive metal with electronic imagination.

The album makes a potent impression first time around but from a strong start and across a host of additional plays, it emerges as an even richer tapestry of sound and ideation which simply fascinates and enthrals. Opener Light of Day, Sense Of Life epitomises the increasingly magnetic journey; a song which draws ears into its melodic charms quite quickly but truly blossoms as each play allows a deeper exploration of its celestial aired depths. From an atmospheric entrance with dramatic keys soon adding additional drama, the song brews up into a busier and more energetic proposal veined by richly enticing guitar and the similarly potent tones of Charly’s vocals. Its melody rich epically throated yet intimate sound has a feel of Dream Theater meets Muse meets Absolace to it, a description which suits most of the release. Individual craft is as pungent and enjoyable as the united enterprise on show in the song, the band creating calm and reflective, raw and aggressive twists and turns which only increase in potency with every listen.

Album cover_RingMasterReviewThe same applies to the album’s outstanding second song, Fires of Passion. Straight away ears and thoughts feel they know the song, like it is a familiar friend returning to arouse the spirit, which it does from its opening web of grooves and flowing, expressive keys. That familiarity comes from again the Muse scent which is at its most fragrant in the song, but it only adds to the drama and tenacious roar of something ultimately distinct to Sahona. Riffs have a great niggle to their tempting whilst rhythms show a firm hand with every throbbing bassline and swinging drumstick as melodies and vocals caress as they seduce. It is the steely grooves and flaming tendrils of guitar enterprise which provide the icing on the flavoursome cake though, a feast which from its first play simply has the ears and emotions in rapture.

On This Winter Night brings an electronic coldness and shadowing into play next, its electro prowling the lining and introduction to further sonic resourcefulness and impressing vocals around a darkly alluring bassline. As its predecessor, it carries a recognisable hue to its creative attractiveness but it only colours something fresh and imaginative, a success echoed within the mellower emotive reflection of Under My Skin. Even with it’s a calmer climate it too shows great volatility to its intensity and heart, but equally equipped with the same infectious nature and sound which lit its predecessors

The electrified air and touch of the increasingly sonically exotic Words of Wisdom grips attention next whilst Little Jack spreads some bluesy tempting into its feverish mix of anthemic intensity and a predatory yet warm coaxing of the imagination. The pair continues the great variation in sound between tracks and offers more of the mouth-watering collusion and at times almost duelling guitar skills of Charly and Fabien. They are incendiary moments which never derailed or distract from the virulence of the song though, another skill shown by the band.

The haunting theatre of A Modern Sleeping Beauty follows the pair; its initial melodic romance leading into a fiery incitement complete with intoxicating grooves and a sinister air before Caught in Heaven descends on ears with glorious guitar jangles and sonic expulsions which in turn spark a boisterous and explosive devouring of ears. The track is glorious, part beast, part charmer, and a nonstop slice of merciless irresistibility. Again the band manages to spawn a predacious tone to their blaze of melodic and harmonic adventure in a track which, as the second, needs little time to ignite a lustful appetite for its presence.

Both Where’s The Path and I’m Alive keep enjoyment strong, if without reaching the heights of the last track. The first initially lays a lively simmer of energy and emotion on ears which, as in so many songs, grows into something bolder and more dramatic with every passing minute whilst its successor is an emotive croon which hugs the senses as Charly spills his lyrical heart.

Closing the album is the cosmic shimmer that is Book Of Life, a song which resonates and pulsates as it seduces body and mind. Sinew spun elements collude with candescent melodies and crystalline textures within it, helping colour a landscape as potent whether casting a mellow lure or a tempestuous agitation. With Cédric and Stéphane creating a sonic canvas which alone is easy to get tangled up in, the track is a superb end to a similarly impressing album.

For most Sahona will have been a new name; after their thoroughly enjoyable first album works its majesty, soon a highly recognisable one.

The Sahona album is out now through most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 02/03/2016

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Hedfuzy – Self-Titled

Catching up on another release appearing towards the rear of 2015, we offer up the self-titled album from Hedfuzy as a proposition to seriously consider investigating, especially if progressive rock gets the juices flowing.

Hedfuzy is the solo project of Irish multi-instrumentalist Pat Byrne and its debut album a captivating progressive adventure of melody thick and magnetically tenacious rock ‘n’ roll with a rousing contagion to it. The musical history of the Limerick musician includes touring at the age of 17 with Celtic Fusion, followed by experience building exploits touring and recording with bands such as rockers Kraven and reggae outfit Jeffonesta as well as playing bass on some of Delorean Suite’s current release Two Lives. Now Byrne is ready to ignite attention and ears with his own solo proposal, recruiting additional talent from Shardborne’s Ben Wanders, Delorean Suite keyboardist Graham Conway, guitarist Graham Keane of The Vicious Head Society, and guitarists Mike Moriarty and Cameron Allen to bring his seriously engaging songs to life.

Mixed and mastered by Chris Collier (Prong, Lynch Mob, KXM), the Byrne produced album opens with Sing which quickly coaxes ears with an enticing lure of guitar. Settling into an energetic stroll as Byrne’s potent vocals sit invitingly upon his blend of melody fuelled guitar and keys, the song soon begins to swing with a gripping catchiness aligned to a darker shade of similarly lively and eager bass led rhythms. With eighties seeded air reminding nostalgically of Modern English and currently David J Caron veined by fiery progressive enterprise, the track is a rousing start to the album quickly backed by the muscular persuasion of Snakes. Melancholic keys offer the first suggestive caress, Byrne’s vocals swiftly adding to the alluring start and in turn followed by a thicker smothering of riffs and rhythmic theatre. It is a potent collusion of textures which again has infectiousness running through it as heavier and darker shadows envelop the senses.

Hedfuzy - Self-Titled_RingMaster ReviewThe creative and physical skills of the artist persistently ignites ears in the song and album but always without offering any indulgence to temper their strength or the organic creativity impresses in the likes of How To Tear Your World From My Head. As the third song begins to flows through ears, initially bass pulses the lone dark protagonist in a misty glaze of harmonic and melodic tempting, things quickly come to boil as rugged rhythms and gravelly riffs collude with wistful keys, provocative guitar, and jazzy bass. The result is an eventful and at times volatile landscape of stirring invention and compelling craft keeping the imagination as busy as ears whilst pushing the already impressing stature of the album to new heights.

Mine brightly shimmers with melodic and vocal expression next, it an alluring serenade of melodic rock with the flavoursome essence of UK band The Inner Road to it as it settles enjoyable between the more raucous and dynamic exploits of the previous roar and The Death which follows. Not as dark as expected, the new track is another beacon of resourceful composing and boisterous musicianship lined with a craft and imagination which has body and emotions eagerly engaged.

The emotive croon of When I Come Back Down is open evidence of that core prowess in songwriting and emotion, and diversity as with This Broken Throne, a grouchy but again wholly virulent roar of aggressive rhythms and sonic adventure laced with the impressing vocal tones of Byrne. A thrilling and fluid mix of Squidhead like cantankerous metal soaked in a warmly reflective exploration of melody and voice, the track is as absorbing as it is anthemic before a mellower proposition in Name comes in. With winy melodies and atmospheric drama within again an intensive proposal of bass and rhythmic confrontation, the song carries a touch of Johnny Wore Black to it, captivating and stirring the senses from start to finish before leaving the album’s outstanding title track to bring things to a ferociously dynamic close. The instrumental is glorious, a brawling seducing collage of sound and textures woven into an anthemically fiery and exhaustingly exhilarating tempest as virulently incendiary as it is dramatically provocative.

Hedfuzy is an album to light up any day and the band a project which, even with Byrne seemingly perpetually in demand, the man soon appearing on the debut album from Irish progressive metal band The Vicious Head Society alongside keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) and drummer Kevin Talley (Chimaira, Suffocation), we can only hope to hear a lot more from.

The self-released Hedfuzy is out now via Amazon.

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Pete RingMaster 13/01/2016

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Teramaze – Her Halo

Pic RadioHaloPhotography

Pic RadioHaloPhotography

The beginning of Australian progressive metallers Teramaze go back to the mid to late nineties but it is in the last handful of years that the band has finally sparked rich attention on a broader scale. The Melbourne quartet is giving it another hefty nudge with their new album Her Halo too, a compelling and at times bewitching affair for ears and imagination. Bulging with eight tracks of progressive beauty and technical prowess, the release is a fiery seduction and impassioned tempest; a fascinating flight through a sound consistently evolving whilst weaving in an expansive array of sonic colour and styles. Imagine Circles, Voyager, and Native Construct merged and you get a sense of Her Halo and the invigorating music of Teramaze.

Formed by lead guitarist/producer Dean Wells, it has been since the release of third album Anhedonia in 2012, that the band really began luring potent spotlights their way. The acclaimed release was the first to show an evolution in the foursome’s earlier, apparently more thrash seeded sound; the moment that Teramaze began emerging as the protagonists exciting ears with their latest offering now. That earlier release’s predecessor, Esoteric Symbolism in 2014, continued the shift in invention and direction, its reward equally concentrated acclaim which is now eclipsed on all counts by Her Halo. The new encounter is also their first for Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group and features new vocalist Nathan Peachey, his tones one of the numerous things swiftly impressing in opener An Ordinary Dream.

teramaze-cover_RingMaster ReviewThe fourteen minute track drifts in on a chilled wind and a breeze of sepia hued emotive sound, its evocative coaxing on the turn of a breath soon a melodic caress of guitar with drama fuelled keys in close attention. In a few seconds more, that erupts into a flame of sonic enterprise from Wells matched by the darker rumbles of bass and beats from Luis Eguren and Dean Kennedy respectively. The entrance of Peachey’s outstanding voice and delivery opens the way for even more choice textures and melodic slithers to join the growing tapestry of adventure and temptation; electronic twists, rapacious rhythms, and rising columns of intensity in the spirals of sonic endeavour only adding to the busy but uncluttered web of sound. Across its length, the track moves through similarly evolving landscapes of emotion and creative suggestiveness too, each woven with a new and fresh array of varied sound and ideation.

It is a glorious and transfixing start to Her Halo, and sublimely backed by the darker embrace of To Love, A Tyrant. From its scene setting first tempting, there is a sinister and thick shadowed nature to the song, one which continues to coat the walls and line the eventful theatre of the track. With Wells a potent backing to Peachey, vocals once more flame with rich expression and harmonics whilst the former’s guitar craft is an inescapable net of tenacious and stirring resourcefulness. Fair to say though, that every member and aspect of song and album is a thick incitement for ears and a quickly hungry appetite for the release.

The album’s title track glows and rumbles next, Peachey again outstanding within the matching strength of the dynamics and the provocative textures smouldering and in turn blazing within the lava of captivation. The song is bewitching, with a steely strength to it as riveting and incendiary as the melodic mesmerism fuelling its heart, though it is quickly eclipsed by Out of Subconscious, a rousing Dream Theater-esque fire of emotional reflection and soaring, celestial graced flames. It provides a maelstrom of avant-garde, jazz, and progressive intrigue for the imagination to grab hold of, in turn keeping ears and attention engrossed with once more the band’s skill of unpredictability a seamless roar of pleasure.

   For The Innocent also has a heavy and dark air to its diversely flavoured canvas, upon which the bass prowls, the guitar conjures, and vocals spread a resonating collusion of enterprise held in a gripping rhythmic web spun by Eguren. Admittedly the track does not hit the same sweet spot as the trio of tracks before it but only engages a willing body and soul in its perpetually blossoming depths before Trapeze has the imagination twisting and conjuring with its pungent instrumental theatre of suggestiveness and creative alchemy.

The mesmeric croon of Broken steps forward next, vocals and acoustic sound a warm but melancholic hug which only becomes more provocative and magnetic with every passing minute, time again seeing the band seamlessly flow through contrasting elements sculpted with raw emotion and that constant element of surprise. They are traits every song is seeded in as shown one final time within the lengthy creative saunter of Delusions of Grandeur. As the expansive body of the first song on Her Halo, the ten minutes making up the closing emprise of idea, skill, and emotion never feels a moment too long thanks to its organically evolving imagination of sound which never stands still whether across the whole of the hefty soundscape of invention or simply one of its potent minutes.

The track is a masterful end to a mighty release, one which impresses first time around but really comes into its own over numerous, increasingly exciting plays. Progressive metal has had quite a few rich treats in 2015, this is another and amongst its biggest.

Her Halo is out now via Music Theories Recordings through most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 12/11/2015

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The Great Adventure – Pretty Lies

The Great Adventure_RingMaster Review

Pretty Lies is the new single from Russian gothic metallers The Great Adventure, a band which maybe is unknown to you right now but taking their new offering alone as a suggestion, has the real potential to become a much broadly known and devoured proposition.

Hailing from Omsk and formed in the January of 2014, The Great Adventure consists of vocalist/keyboardist Christina Engels, guitarist Kesha Larionov, and bassist Alexey Danilov. Their sound fuses gothic and symphonic metal in a captivating, if not yet majorly unique, tapestry of resourceful aggression and melodic imagination. Aligned to that is the feistily alluring voice of Engels, a siren-esque tempting which coaxes the theatre and emotion at the heart of lyrics and song into a tempestuous roar of sound equipped with harsher backing vocal incitement. It is a mix which has seen previous singles and the To Begin To See The Truth EP well received; a success sure to be eclipsed by Pretty Lies, the band’s finest offering to date.

Featuring Ilya Sinitski, the vocalist of post-hardcore band Island Of Skylines, Pretty Lies needs mere seconds to stir ears with its swift wall of thick riffs and muscularly swung beats. Keys are a just as early and potent coaxing as they lay a melodic haze upon the attention sparking entrance. With the mellow and rich tones of Engels’ voice matching the lure of her increasingly inventive and resourceful keys, the song poetically swarms over the senses embracing hues of inspirations of bands like Dream Theater and Within Temptation to its creative breast. It is a skilled and potent persuasion which gets bolder and more voracious as it blossoms, the raw tones of Sinitski spilling causticity across the engaging scenery and the guitar of Larionov spinning lattices of sonic craft and enterprise.

Pretty Lies is the maturest songwriting and weave of sound and textures from the band yet and even if major originality is still in the waiting, the thoroughly enjoyable song shows that The Great Adventure is heading in the right impressive direction.

Pretty Lies is available now.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

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Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic

Pic by Justin Reich

Pic by Justin Reich

 

It is tempting to call the Between the Buried and Me music a kaleidoscope of sonic and inventive hues yet that suggests a randomness which certainly does not apply to their persistently compelling and dramatic explorations. In saying that though, there is an organic unpredictability which seemingly evolves on its own so that at times you wonder if the band knows what is to emerge any more than the listener. And so it is with their seventh album Coma Ecliptic, a series of gloriously imaginative plains of roaming sounds and immersive textures which whether a BTBAM fan or not is seriously compelling, that together create an epic emprise of aural fascination which is either creative ingenuity or insanity.

It is easy to see Coma Ecliptic splitting opinions though hard to imagine many dismissing its technically immense, musically explosive, and rivetingly captivating journey out of hand. Equally the reference to it being like a rock opera does it no favours, certainly with those like us instantly cringing at the thought and term, but assumptions should be cast aside as, even though there are indeed moments of indulgences and flamboyant enterprise, the concept album is bred from the same template of musical and lyrical probing that made previous release The Parallax II: Future Sequence so bewitching and thrilling. It is a whole new beast of course bred from the similar seeding which unites all the band’s releases, but BTBAM doing what they do best, tearing up their own rulebook with zeal and tenacity.

Lyrically Coma Ecliptic follows a single protagonist who stuck in a coma travels through his past lives, each track an individual episode set in “a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque” world. In each place he can choose to stay or move on to search for a better place, ultimately being met with the ultimate question life or death. The rest is for you to find out but in true BTBAM fashion, the lyrical side of the album is as involved and time consuming to reap its full rewards as the music. There are a few things to pull Coma Ecliptic up on, if you wish to be over analytical and demanding, but like the best sci-fi/fantasy movie, run with its liberties and proposition rounding flaws, and unbridled pleasure through full-blooded adventure are the rich prize.

Cover_RingMaster Review     Opener Node cups ears in a gentle yet emotive touch of keys, Tommy Rogers’ fingers and voice swiftly stroking ears and imagination even before melodies broaden and their elegance mesmerises. The melancholic air of the song has its own ethereal light and hope, album and band immersing the listener into the realm of album and story with sublime ease, even adding Queen-esque flames of epic tones and sonic grandeur to striking effect. It is a potently enticing start which slips into the theatrical and magnetic embrace of The Coma Machine. Many have compared the album and some of its textures and flavours to bands like Dream Theater yet aside from the unavoidable uniqueness of BTBAM, here and often across the album Australian progressive metallers Voyager nudge thoughts. The track ebbs and flow in energy and rousing intensity as it explores its and the story’s depths, and is just as enthralling as it writhes with majestic imagination, whether in a gentle hug of a croon or roaring with aggression and passion.

Dim Ignition emerges from an electro bubble next, synths a lively and nagging simmer within drummer Blake Richardson’s increasingly intimidating rhythms. The song flows into the immediately darker hued Famine Wolf, portentous and ever gripping bass tempting from Dan Briggs alongside just as shadowed keys, their haunting smothering consuming the senses for the ever spellbinding craft and invention of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring to exploit and shape further. The track’s early predator like union grows from one relatively inviting premise to a volatile incitement, with Rogers vocally entwining his superb clean and just as impacting raw metalcore seeded deliveries to match the sounds. The track is thoroughly absorbing, even making its less than seamless slip into a jazzy, psych rock like twist work perfectly and never relenting in making every minute unique from another.

As outstanding as it is though, King Redeem / Queen Serene steals the show, growing from the departing breath of its predecessor into a tempest of pop, funk, melodic revelry, and ravenous metal ferocity; every aspect fuelled by a contagiousness which simply intensifies with every elevation of aggression and invention. Imagine spilling the essences of Periphery, Society 1, and Cardiacs into the BTBAM mix and you get something close to this exhilarating encounter.

Both the imposing Turn on the Darkness and fascinating The Ectopic Stroll keep the fires of serious enjoyment burning, the first at times bordering on the bestial as its landscape savages as siren like seduction joins in equal creative measure. Its successor explores a dance seeded gait and scenery, piano keys a punchy spark to the tenaciously evolving avant-garde landscape, and both songs, but especially the second, tempestuous weaves of expansive flavours, styles, and bold intent sculpted by musicians openly at the top of their game and imagination.

     Rapid Calm brings a spatial yet melodically and emotionally intimate proposal forward next with mellow vocals, harmonies, and keys the warm serenade to the carnivorous walls and depths soaked in challenging intensity lurking and eventually exploding from deep within. Bewitching hardly does the song justice but that is what it is as it wraps its mesmeric and often rabid charms around ears and thoughts. Coma Ecliptic is undoubtedly an album which challenges and involves both aspects with every second, it shown again with Memory Palace and after that Option Oblivion. The first of the pair is soaked in blues and funk rock resourcefulness, a folkish festivity also getting in on the persuasion as the song traverses through ten minutes of instinctive and virulent creative alchemy whilst the second is like looking into a fire, every flame of sound distinct to another yet perfectly aligned in one senses sizzling incitement.

Coma Ecliptic is completed by the emotionally rousing Life in Velvet, another fusing intimacy with grander winds to fine effect. The intoxicating Jamie King produced album leaves the richest hunger to hear and learn more, which is lucky as like their other encounters, it is a proposition which needs numerous plays to really get into its constantly revolving corners and levels, our words above barely scratching its surface let alone depths to be truthful.

The best album from Between the Buried and Me to date?…Well it has to be seriously considered and argued over but there is no denying this is another major success and thrill from the band which their fans will get lustful over and others will at least offer a thick complimentary smile or nod.

Coma Ecliptic is available now on Metal Blade Records @ http://www.metalblade.com/btbam/

http://www.betweentheburiedandme.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial

RingMaster 14/07/2015

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

 

Dark Hound – Oceans

dark_hound__RingMaster Review

Nashville is going to have some major metal explosion to persuade people to stop thinking musically of only its country scene and heritage and you assume would be a feat too far, or maybe not if there are more bands like Dark Hound bubbling away and emerging in its underground scene. The quartet has a sound, as evidenced by their new EP Oceans, which does not yet dramatically startle or threaten the limits of originality to any of the varied metal flavours it skilfully employs yet it persistently entices with something fresh and unpredictable as it provides a thoroughly enjoyable time. The follow up to the band’s acclaimed self-titled debut album, the EP is an immediate and constant adventure of craft and imagination which maybe will not have you shouting from the rooftops but has a fair chance of making Dark Hound a band you hungrily want more of.

The 2009 formed band consists of long-time friends in vocalist/bassist ET Brown, guitarists Elliot Gordon (Clorange) and Evan Hensley (Nightfall), and drummer Josh Brown (Enfold Darkness, Nashvillbilly). Their first full-length pushed their local success into a broader attentive spotlight with accompanying critical acclaim but now with the release of the Frank Serafine recorded Oceans it is easy to expect a more forceful nudge on wider recognition and appetites.

Oceanscover_RingMaster Review     The band’s influences list the likes of Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Arch Enemy, Testament, and Dream Theater, numerous hints which do indeed spill in varying degrees from the enterprise and imagination of EP and opening song Thread. Classic melodic enticing and drama opens it up, rhythms commanding as they stir things further and spark the song to hit an infectious and muscular stride. Already imagination is fuelling vocals and the landscape of the song, unexpected and spicy twists wrong footing expectations as the band reveals a potent almost mischievous resourcefulness to their songwriting and ambition. As suggested earlier there is a spread of many spices within the band’s sound, engaging ears here with anthemic thrash and heavy metal aligned to old school and modern creativity.

The strong start continues with To Know End, a song brewing up its magnetic persuasion from its first sonic breath with bass and beats an instant imposing flirtation quickly enhanced by wiry strands of guitar grooving. There is an early predatory swagger to the track too, one emulated in the appealing variety of ET Brown’s vocal delivery with his tones as imaginative as the sounds around him. A sense of familiarity is also, as with every song, a swift temptation but soon woven into something refreshing on the ear and impressing on thoughts. For all the variation of metal involved, again thrash and heavy metal a rich essence, there is a healthy if understated whisper of Suicidal Tendencies blowing across the tempestuous landscape at times, a probably coincidental spicing which just adds something extra to the song and release.

Just as Blind shares a grungier hue to its earthy melodic stroll next, the track more a stalking than a charge but with a volatile belly of energy and voracious shadows constantly giving depth and intimidation to the satisfaction bloating encounter. The band calls their sound metal and that is best as just trying to pin down the flavours within the third song would use a paragraph in tagging it.

The EP keeps its best two tracks for its climax starting with Rearview Mirror, a masterful and incendiary collusion of contagious endeavour and predatory textures twisted into a seriously addictive and fierce waltz of new and old ideation. The track has body and emotions enslaved, recruited to its cause early though even it has to conceive best track honours to the EP’s closing encounter. The title track toys with the imagination through its dark drama from its opening seeds, ears caught at the same time and seduced further by the flowing slip through frenetic and mellow creative scenery. Hooks and grooves are no less potent and relentless, whilst the bass of the frontman seems to get heavier and more bestial with every passing minute.

It is a tremendous end to what is a mouth-watering and severely enjoyable release. Dark Hound has a sound and presence, as mentioned earlier, which does not cause major surprises but it would be unfair not to admit each listen leaves a stronger and increasingly lingering impression. It will be interesting to see how the band continues to evolve but more of the same next time will not be a cause of disappointment.

The self-released Oceans EP is available from 10th July

http://www.dark-hound.com   https://www.facebook.com/darkhoundband

Ringmaster 10/07/2015

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