Neaera: Ours Is the Storm


    Fired with a tempest of sonic abrasion, the new and sixth album from German metallers Neaera is a furnace of aggression and intensity which has been stoked up into a confrontation which is as punishing as it is compelling. Whether Ours Is the Storm is the band at its most aggressively creative and destructive yet can be discussed in length as they have unleashed numerous onslaughts of impressively violent creativity, but certainly the new album shows they have not lost one ounce of invention, malevolence, and sonic spite.

Since forming in 2003 under the name The Ninth Gate, the band from Münster, Westphalia has triggered constant attention with their distinct maul of death metal with thrash veining, the quintet within a year being signed to Metal Blade Records. Changing their name to Neaera, after a character in Greek mythology, the band released their debut album The Rising Tide Of Oblivion in 2005 to a tide of strong positive reviews. The following years saw four more enthusiastically received albums all garnering strong acclaim in varying degrees and the band igniting stages in shows, tours, and festivals around Europe alongside the likes of Kataklysm, Caliban, Rammstein, Earth Crisis, Sworn Enemy, All That Remains, Soilwork , Bleed From Within, Callejon and many more. With their new album again released via Metal Blade, the band has continued to hone and evolve their sound into a full brutal expanse of imagination, energy, and passion. The release is a carnal devour of the senses which leaves you breathless, sore, and blissfully satisfied.

Opening track The Deafening is a inciting intro to the ferociousness to follow, its brewing corruption and blistered ambience a Neaera - Ours Is the Stormshort breath of oppressiveness before the title track runs with the in place intent to unleash a primal rage upon the ear. With rhythms slapping the senses with muscular persistence and riffs gnawing with rabid hunger whilst sonic spirals of intrigue and enterprise ignite the air further, the song consumes and ravishes person and emotions. It is a stirring bruising encounter which ignites the passions with ease, the varied growls and insidious squalls from Benjamin Hilleke a magnificent cry and scour as impacting and voracious as the sounds colouring the air black and blue around him.

Decolonize the Mind and Through Treacherous Flames both concentrate on the already deep sores ripped open by the first track, the guitars of Stefan Keller and Tobias Buck flattening defences with merciless riffs and branding with sonic flames whilst the skilled drums of Sebastian Heldt make no attempt to hide their hostility and malice. Between the songs and across the album there is arguably a similarity to the corrosive surface which threatens at times to overwhelm the continually challenging imagination and diversity within songs though it is never enough to deflect their intrigue and power, whilst looking each storm directly in the eye and searching its core reveals the depth of invention at work and

Deeper into its heart the album unveils a hunger driven by serpentine maliciousness locked in thrash savagery within Ascend to Chaos and a volatile grooved invidiousness in the outstanding Walk with Fire, a track which tears and violates with contagion and irrepressible craft. The song is one of the major highlights along with the title track though both are challenged seriously by the melodic fire of My Night of Starless and the thundering predator Black Tomb where bassist Benjamin Donath reveals his deepest grudging menace on the album.

Ours Is the Storm continues to deliver impressive storms of scorning anger and sonic antagonism with the likes of Slaying the Wolf Within and Back to the Soul igniting further strong pleasure. It is a release which is hard to say is inventing anything new or startling but at the same time it is a consistently invigorating and inciting fury which is impossible not relish with greed. Neaera shows no sign of losing their potency or vitriol for which we can be very thankful.


RingMaster 06/03/2013

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Enabler: All Hail The Void

Stripped bare, relentlessly violated, and left a gibbering wreck on the floor, no not a scene from an entry within the Hostel movies franchise but the course and aftermath of the annihilatory bliss that is All Hail The Void from the Milwaukee-based extreme metallers Enabler. To call it an assault is to underplay its ferociousness and merciless intensity but within the violent hurricane of sound there is a creative brew of imagination which without attention can almost go unseen. Given focus the release emerges as one of the more exhilarating albums to corrupt the ear this year.

All Hail The Void is not an easy listen but nor is it so harsh that it offers nothing for those with more melodic veins to their tastes. Enabler unleash a storm of hardcore, punk, crust and varied flavours of extreme metal  but spearing it all are some of the most delicious and addictive grooves and hooks you could wish for. Ok they come with a caustic rub for the senses as intrusive as the aggression but they are as sweet as the cruellest pain and equally addictive.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber (Harlots, Eyes Upon Separation, Trap Them, Today is the Day, Shai Hulud), Enabler persistently has drawn increasing attention with their powerful sound. Consisting of guitarist Greg Thomas (Misery Signals, Shai Hulud, The Risk Taken), bassist Amanda Daniels, and Andy Hurley (Racetraitor, Kill the Slavemaster, Fallout Boy, The Damned Things, Earth Crisis)on drums alongside Lohrber, the band through the release of splits with the likes of Drainland and Ambassador Gun, and their EP’s Eden Sank To Grief and War Begins With You (both re-released together on the album Year One CD), have twisted metal inside out, gathering extreme flavours into their own fury of creativity. All Hail The Void is a mighty continuation of their staggering sound and a real treat.

Released July 16th via Southern Lord, the album captures the imagination from the start, the emotive strokes of a lone guitar at the beginning of F.A.T.H. an irresistible invitation for the ear even with the brewing intensity lurking behind it. A gentle start full of drama the song soon explodes into a knee buckling force of aural vengeance as riffs bruise the ear and sonic melodic scythes blister every surface they come in contact with. Like being trampled underfoot by a raging bull in the tight streets of rural Spain the track leaves one breathless and drained, senses grabbing for some kind of security though the chances of safety are destroyed as the following song The Heathens soon crushes any bones and sinews left intact. An equally vindictive piece of songwriting and its eager realisation the track contorts synapses with vicious melodic scrapings and a rampant groove intent on submission. With drums pummelling and laying bruise upon existing bruise whilst guitars flay the air mercilessly Lohrber spews unrestrained anger and spite with the strongest accuracy, the combination of all like in the opener quite glorious.

The excellent Speechless with its hypnotic dirty sonic groove and prowling bass from Daniels which intimidates with every note continues the impressive start. It is a riot of insatiable energy and twisted riffs which ignites every favourable spark within. More punk than hardcore it is another of many possibly destined to be classics on the release.

Though the album barely exceeds the thirty minute mark it feels much bigger and certainly has a titanic effect on the body. Tracks like the title track with its stalking riffs and taunting groove, the unpredictable They Live, We Sleep with its sonic blinding of the senses and haunting sanity twisting melodies, and especially Save Yourself, are all mesmeric violations which rupture and fire up every part of their recipients. The latter of the three is the best song on the album, a nasty stomping brute of a song with destructive grooves so addictive they leave one with permanent whiplash.

All Hail The Void initially came over as an impressive album but its persistence on the ear and our increasing insatiable desire to keep returning to it saw it evolve into one of the hungriest and fully satisfying intrusions of the year, and Enabler a band which should be in the ear of everyone.

RingMaster 10/07/2012

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