Sofy Major – Idolize

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Band and album certainly faced and went through turmoil on its way to being unleashed on the world, but Idolize the second album from French metallers Sofy Major, has defiantly emerged as one of the most frighteningly impressive albums of the year so far. The release is a beast of a record, an album which can only be declared as carnivorous, in sound and intent.

It was the fall of last year that the band took their scintillating fusion of caustic metal, exhausting sludge, and invasion noise, over to Brooklyn and the Translator Audio studio to record the follow-up to their acclaimed debut Permission To Engage alongside producer Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Keelhaul, Converge, etc…). Then hurricane Sandy unleashed her hunger upon New York City, destroying the studio facilities, ruining all the recording equipment as well as that of the band. After a few days with the help and support of the Brooklyn indie music scene and that of Dave Curran from Unsane and Pigs, Sofy Major and Schneider finally undertook the recording of the album. Whether the situation added something extra to the recording which might have been absent if all had run smoothly is hard to tell but certainly Idolize has a snarl and raw energy to it which makes as strong a call to the senses and passions as the impossibly contagious and imaginative sounds set loose upon the ear.

After the recording the trio undertook their first US tour, that and the album the climax of the intensive work and energy expelled by the band since forming in 2007. To date Sofy Major has played alongside the likes of Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine, Baroness, Electric Wizard, Boris, Shrinebuilder, These Arms Are Snakes, Kylesa and many more, continually earning eager acclaim but it is hard to imagine any will be as feverishly offered as that you suspect will come flying as Idolize hits the world.

The album opens with its full arsenal of aural weaponry primed and delivered through the sensational Aucune Importance. The coverhightrack grips the ear within seconds, carving flaming designs through the air with its psychotic rhythmic invention and rapaciously sculpted riffing. Every second and ounce of breath within the track dances with the devil’s alchemy upon thoughts and passions, its irresistible hooks and lures intrusive and addictive, not to mention at times bewildering, whilst the toxic melodic enterprise licks at the senses with delicious salaciousness. It is a staggering start which for most releases would also mark a following dip but not so Idolize.

Both Comment and Steven The Slow which features Dave Curan, bring their distinctive acidic glaze to bear greedily upon  the listener, the first with a oppressively heavy touch from riffs and bass which wonderfully lay on the ear with a full sludge thickness, its manipulative tendencies working away seducing  the imagination within the labouring intensity. Its successor finds an even greater weight to its intensive energy and devouring, the slowly enveloping and exhausting recruitment deceptively virulent and tantalisingly suffocating. Both tracks do not short change on grooves either despite their extremes of gait to further the uniquely addictive hold constructed upon thoughts and heart whilst vocals eagerly scowl over and score the restrained and willing ‘victim’.

Through the cantankerous Bbbbreak with its corrosive growl and the two part UMPKK, band and album continue to enthral and surprise. Part 1 of UMPKK is a haunting dive through a cavernous atmosphere, its depths unveiling more and more intimidating shadows before leaving the listener alone in alien isolation before the second part stares directly in the eyes and conjures up a hypnotic shuffle of provocative rhythms and melodic teasing before igniting the touch paper for a furnace of sonic fascination and almost tribal intensity. It is a riveting track with riffs and bass devious in their temptation and control of head and its inner workings.

As the album relentlessly impresses and captivates with each of its aural predators it is impossible, how intensely you look, to find flaws or a second of wasted sound, the likes of the mercilessly erosive Slow and Painful, the schizophrenic tempest Coffee Hammam, and the discord loving Seb, driving their hooks and the claws of the release deeper in to the passions. Two more major pinnacles of the album come as it makes its way towards its ardour fuelling conclusion. Firstly there is Platini, a song which mixes stoner swagger to a ravaging metallic gnaw, the latter especially potent from the ever staggering bass. The track is exceptional, a confrontation which niggles and taunts whilst being persistently thrilling and playing like a hybrid mix of Kylesa, Therapy?, Retox, and even occasionally Pere Ubu. Then following the insatiable excellence of Frost Forward, the album ends with a cover of the Portobello Bones track Power of Their Voice. The track is a punishing fury of antagonistic punk and hardcore seeded energy blended into a biting sonic wind which exposes senses and nerves to an uncompromising embrace.

Released via Solar Flare Records in Europe and No List Records in North America, Idolize is a tour-de-force to be seriously reckoned with and Sofy Major destined to become one of the giants of rock/metal invention.

http://www.sofymajor.com

http://www.facebook.com/sofymajor

10/10

RingMaster 01/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Shinin’ Shade – Sat-urn

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Taking the listener on an evocative and intensive journey of heavy lumbering riffs, bulging rhythmic resonance, and a fire of melodic rock ridden by quite compelling vocals, Sat-urn the new album from Italian band Shinin’ Shade is a masterful triumph which thrusts the band into a certain spotlight. Creating a riveting fusion of progressive and stoner rock with the dark shadowed intensity of doom and searing psychedelic blazes, the release even without the band yet arguably finding their true unique voice, offers a classy irresistible persuasion which cannot be dismissed. The seven track beast leaves the listener exhausted, enthralled, and most of all richly satisfied with the thrilling offerings laid before the ear.

Formed in 2005 by Allen Kramer (guitar, mellotron) and Roger Davis (bass), the Parma based band first made a mark with their self-titled demo in 2009 which was followed immediately by Mike De Chirico replacing the departing original drummer to join the pair and Mek Jefrey (guitar, vocals).  The following year saw Shinin’ Shade release their debut also self-titled album via Italian label Moonlight Records like the demo and subsequent releases, to strong responses. Then in 2011 vocalist Jane Esther-Collins joined the band and as their Slowmosheen EP showed upon release in in January 2012, the band found it’s most potent and formidable presence. Draped in strong acclaim the release was backed up by impressive performances across festivals and shows in Italy and Europe. The new album Sat-Urn is their most accomplished release to date, a powerful and imagination capturing journey alongside a burial procession through dark and desolated landscapes into the deep, sacred desert of Wiriguta.

The adventure starts with Our Time And Space, thick plunging bass grabs spearing lumbering fiery riffs and concussive rhythms 554097183-1before the track elevates all aspects into a sweltering furnace of sonic declaration. There is heavy treacle like ambience soaking the breath of the song with guitars and bass crawling intensely over the senses whilst the cracks of drum maliciousness attach themselves to bone and emotions. Once the wonderful vocals of Esther-Collins walk all over the encounter with pure majesty the track rises to a pinnacle which instantly sparks up a form of hungry rapture. Brewing a blend of beauty and intimidation with her stunning voice and delivery, her presence has the strength to bring the best out of song, sounds, and the passions in the same way that Jess does for Jess and the Ancient Ones, the songs impressive pieces of craft but the vocals turning them into a different terrific experiences. The track itself almost stalks thoughts and feelings, its evolving gait and intent unveiling dark corners and invasive shadows within perpetually changing aural scenery.

From the scintillating start the release ventures through Keyhole/Inner Saturn and Over-Sea Nightmares, two tracks which bring stunning ports of call in the overall emotive trek of the album, the first a track enriched with stoner grooves and seductive melodic temptation within a rapaciously encroaching atmosphere and labouring enveloping energy, the seamlessly almost toxic move from energetic flames to white hot smouldering sonic malcontent as impressive as it is corrosively invigorating. The second of the pair immediately slaps Sabbath like riffs to the ear before the guitars fire up another contagious dance of sonic alchemy and melodic acidity for a continued expressive satisfaction to the extensively pleasing release.

The following Through the Wires of Your Mind initially sways in front of the listener with a fascination of progressive/psychedelic elegance wrapped in an almost wanton invitation before stretching it into an exotic flame of delicious temptation further expanded into a part caustic part golden allurement energetic wash. As with all the tracks there is no obvious prime direction, the song moving through numerous avenues of light and dark as well as emotive climaxes which is as compelling as the sounds sculpting their narration.

Before coming to the end of its quest, Sat-urn unleashes more impressive and creative enterprise with the excellent Nowhere Dimension and closing song Epic Talk but sandwiched within them both is the best song on the album. Denied Lovers has a carnivorous voice and texture to the drums and bass especially, which incites the predatory instinct of the guitars as they expose the senses to a scorching fire of sonic consumption. Within the tempest though Esther-Collins tempers the heat with her exceptional voice, its forceful and harmonic fusion demanding its own slice of the passions and thoughts to steer alongside inventive guitar craft a thoroughly entrancing victory.

Though the release shows that Shinin’ Shade is still in the process of developing its own unique voice, and it is not that far away on the evidence of the album, Sat-urn sets the band up as one of the brightest beacons in the rapidly expanding genre of doom/progressive rock. With elements fans of the likes of Blood Ceremony, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Pentagram, and Electric Wizard to name a few, will devour this band is set to rise to a very potent destiny for them and us.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHININ-SHADE/169113931530

9/10

RingMaster 11/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Electricjezus – Грязь поколений

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Hailing from Russia Electricjezus creates a monster of a sound, a heavy expanse of weight and sonic oppression which absorbs the essences of multiple flavours and turns them into one exhausting corrosive pleasure. Their debut album Грязь поколений (translated as Mud Of Generations) is a consumptive introduction of their intense presence, a raw and merciless release leaving one drenched in their textured onslaughts and full promise.

Electricjezus is the two man project of Ruslan Frolov (guitar/bass/vocal) and Oleg Skorohodov (drums), two musicians who have reaped the seeds of their influences such as Melvins, Electric Wizard, Earth, Jucifer, Today Is The Day, Sunn O))), Monarch, Flipper, Dystopia, Pantera and many more , and twisted them into their individual forging of post rock, sludge and doom metal, black metal, hardcore, stoner and a further plenty of loud whisperings of other flavourings. With successful shows under their belt across cities such as Moscow, the Moscow region, and St. Petersburg, the pair entered the Go!Monkey studio in Dmitrov and recorded their debut album live using only analog equipment spanning years in age and from across many countries, the caustic, organically raw, and carnivorous results rife upon the release. With songs sung entirely in Russian, and an intriguing potent veining of audio samples from horror movies throughout, the album eats at the senses and oppresses the safety of thoughts and emotions. It is not the easiest listen to come across but one which lingers and inspires rich eager reactions.

As its title suggests, the album is a thick dirty expanse of sonic intrusion which starts with Корм. The track opens with an excellent film sample soon skirted by a resonating impacting bass provocation and sonic carving of the air whilst rhythms wait patiently to unleash their venom. As it moves forward a groove is equally just itching to expel its heart but first a filthy rub of expressive malevolence grips the ear before interchanging with its counterpart to tease and mistreat the senses impressively. Into its stride the instrumental gallops with a stoner urgency to its sludgier breath and continues to incite the senses with fluid and incendiary shifts in energy and enterprise. The abrasive air of the track adds to the pleasing scrub upon the ear and littered with the melodic flames of imagination and great synth crafted extras from guest musician Sasha Selezneff, it is a storm which pulls the senses right into its live heart.

Connected by a bedlamic soundbite the opener passes on to Петли обмана another track which immediately engages intrigue and appetite for its hungry intensity. Harsh squalling vocals bring another raw uncomfortable additive to the album and within the prowling course of the song, scars with insidious malevolence. A black metal embrace through the vocals especially, lays intrusive shadows within the piece whilst its successor Улицы twists it all again within an infectious beat inviting rampage. With the vocals enclosed in a seemingly secluded environment, like they were recorded in the bathroom compared to the hallway for the music which for most releases this would just fall flat, upon Грязь поколений it all adds to the villainous and satisfying experience.

The following intensive title track with its epic soundscape in length and malicious pressure upon the senses, the blink and be consumed swift attack of Плеть культуры, and the predatory Бассейн, all immerse the listener in their violations of sonic invention and rapacious greed. The last of the trio is a stoner/sludge/hardcore punk confrontation speared by a tempting groove and acidic blues lilted guitar, the rasping punishing vocals feeding on the passions and sore senses with further thrilling results. It is hard to pick a favourite track on the release but certainly this steps forward boldly with each deliberation.

The album ends with Все позволено, the song a furnace of sonic fortitude and flesh peeling grooves. As throughout, the guitar is a scything blade across the ear, its abrasive edges searing and cauterising the senses at every turn whether in a slow laboured intent or an urgent annihilation, whilst the drums chain and slap with unguarded treachery. The song is a great end to a great album. Its coarse breath and dirty touch will not be for all but for those it does enflame, the album pushes Electricjezus forward as one exciting prospect.

Grab the album as Name your price release @ http://electricjezus.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Electricjezus/575252375818127

8/10

RingMaster 21/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Caravan Of Whores: Road To Kurti

Reading their bio before entering into the vast heavy soundscapes of Road To Kurti from UK doom band Caravan Of Whores, it said ‘…we do not sound like anyone else because we are ourselves and comfortable in our own skin…’ After sharing multiple journeys with the EP it really is hard to raise any disagreement to their claim. The genre they create their deep and rich storms within is well trodden and been expanded again and again over recent years, but there is something about this Oxfordshire trio which is openly different and refreshing.

Formed in May 2009, though the name has been around since 2002, the threesome of vocalist and bassist Pete Smith, guitarist John Slaymaker, and drummer Jamie Gillett, has built a formidable reputation for their sounds and live performances. The past years has seen them play alongside the likes of Serpent Venom, Bendal Interlude, Godsized,  XII Boar, Desert Storm, Grifter, and  Dopefight to name just a few, with 2011 alone finding the band playing over 50 shows. Debut EP, A Cosmic Interlude of last year, drew strong attention and acclaim their way with one track being featured on a compilation front cover CD from Metal Hammer. Road To Kurti finds the band taking their sound further forward whilst being destined to capture more eager hearts with its doom driven sludge wrapped sounds.

The opening track Drug Queen takes no time in swamping the ear with vibrant and resonating labouring riffs, their hearty crawl an oppressive yet magnetic treacle weave. As the track through its eight minute plus presence lumbers across the senses with a weighty taunting breath, the rhythms of Gillett skilfully plunders and scampers across the thick mass they rupture to bring a countering eager energy to the intensity. The song is an ever shifting muscular creature with caustic dazzling guitar solos and melodic spires of burning sonics to offer an unpredictable and mesmeric source of pleasure. At times one almost feels the track is part improv as it meanders throughout its climax but it is simply pure organic control and skill at play.

The following Mr Bendyman, another lengthy treat to captivate throughout, shuffles the senses with  further strong rhythmic punches, expressive energy sucking guitar craft, and heady consuming riffs. The song sucks the fire from the air transforming it into deeper sludge tar to be welcomingly overwhelmed by whilst sending shards of metallic melodic sparks across the senses to break up the intensive weight of the piece. The vocals of Smith, as with all tracks, are expressive and a great fit to the sounds though arguably could have been drawn out more in production as they are at times a little swamped by the music.

To be fair it is hard to express everything which explodes and permeates from within the massive tracks on the EP as with each listen one is finding something new to chew upon such the richness of sound and writing. The excellent Your God Is Dead is a great example, each visit revealing a new depth and twist to its consumptive hulk. Emerging as favourite track, the song is a fuzzy piece of combative and challenging intent. It has a punk edge to its inciteful energy and heart whilst hitting further diversity upon the release through its almost classic metal stabs and peaks. The track is a crushing riled tempest which sparks with a raw abrasive might to ignite real passion for its formidable sound.

Closing with the scorched stoner tinged Waiting, a track at a short five minutes but no less impactful and enthralling, the EP is a mighty piece of honest metal. With essences of  bands such as Kyuss, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, and Orange Goblin to its muscled tones, Road To Kurti is an impressive storm brought by a band in Caravan Of Whores, which is building to be of the real giants in the future of UK metal.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/COW/113587911991169
RingMaster 13/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Huata: Atavist Of Mann

If witchcraft ever needed a suitable soundtrack for its presence than it should look no further than Atavist Of Mann from Huata. A mightily formidable consumption of the senses, the debut album from the French band is a concussive mixture of stoner, sludge, and Doom metal brought with a blackened Occult breath. Not an easy or comfortable listen but the album is persistently rewarding and is without doubt one of the best releases of its ilk this year.

From the old Celtic part of France, Brittany, Huata first drew attention with their first EP Open The Gates Of Shambhala of 2010. Their creativity finds inspiration in music and films of the sixties and seventies and deals with things as the accompanying promo says like ‘the initiation and hidden workings of secret societies, Luciferian pacts, extra terrestrial forces, inner earth mysteries, the quests for the holy power of mighty relics, Vril power and the ancient knowledge from dead kingdoms.’ Lyrically, musically, and in its overall presence their sound is intense and merciless bringing an oppressive unstoppable weight upon the senses. Taking and creating sounds which remind of the likes of Electric Wizard, Goatsnake, Church Of Misery, Black Widow, Black Sabbath, and Goblin, their music and album leaves one gasping for air under the power but completely mesmerised by the accompanying drone laced absorption.

Released through Mordgrimm, the album is just six songs but is not short in any other way, its overall length, mass, and intent a sonic swamp of angry muscle and predatory instinct. From the opening Lords Of The Flame, the release ruptures synapses and scrapes nerves without` mercy. This album has to be listened to at full volume to fully feel its might but of course that makes the destruction of the senses even more acute. The song is a crushing mass with blistering melodic imagination and burrowing energy. From its initial assault the track tempers the damage with glorious Hammond organ melodic weaves and a growling rippling bass but it is not long before the aggressive claws return to overcome the atmospheric climate that had evolved and leave one again crawling breathlessly under the assault.

The excellent following Operation Mistletoe is an even coarser grizzled obliteration of nerve endings. Dirtier, caustically vicious, and with a stoner flavour brewing underneath the bristling surface, the song is quite simply aural abrasion, a sonic enema for the senses. As in the previous song the vocals are a mesmeric contrast to the noise ripping through every pore. They are immersed within the heavy claustrophobic tones but add a soulful melodic light, thought that is not to say they are submissive as they offer a gruff delivery to pierce the doom swamp more often.

Atavist Of Mann is unrelenting with the likes of Thee Imperial Wizard and Fall of the 4th leaving the emotions pulsating from their intrusion. To say the album leaves the ears ringing after its departure is just touching the surface of the effect of the album. Inside and out every inch of the body, nervous system, and thoughts are left reeling but wholly satisfied. Huata have no mercy or wish to relinquish their hold of the listener whilst it overwhelms their bodies. They have also created one of the best and most exhilarating releases in their genre heard this year so there are no complaints here.

RingMaster 12/06/2012

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Royal Thunder: CVI

Going blind in to the debut album from Atlanta rock band Royal Thunder there were many whispers in the ear that their self titled EP of 2010 was rather tasty and that this new album should be great. Well the news is that great does not cut it for CVI is simply a triumphant feast of rock music for every taste. It is fuelled with such stunning creativity and hypnotic lingering sounds it finds a place in each and every heart.

Released may 22nd via Relapse Records, CVI is a sweltering array of classic rock, southern tinged blues, and progressive artistry with more than a liberal dose of metal and stoner thrown in for extra spice. It is an unpredictable release that twists and turns with glee to leave one persistently surprised, continually eager, and always fully satisfied. Drawn from a well deep with essences of the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cradle, Electric Wizard and Black Tusk to name a few, the album is an invigorating and consuming insatiable mass of splendour which leaves one enveloped in an immersive smog of aural grandeur.

The album opens with Parsonz Curse and within this song alone you know all you need to know about the album in sound, creativity, and quality. Seven minutes of pulsating mesmeric ingenuity the song is an expansive hard/progressive rock driven explosion of colourful sounds, heated melodies, and imaginative invention. The guitars of Josh Weaver and Josh Coleman bring dazzling weaves of melodic sonic blistering to the senses with white hot radiance whilst Lee Smith with his rhythms and the bass teasing of Mlny Parsonz add deeper shadows and darkened energy. It is amazing stuff and alone is undeniably impressive but it is the vocals of Parsonz bringing another fiery torch within the songs that the ignition of passions find their fullest flame. Her tones spread from searing the ear with scorched passion to mesmeric beauty and whatever the varied path she brings to each song she is irresistible.

Whispering World follows and inflames thought and heart with flurries of stout dominate beats and compulsive riffs. Together they lead one unerringly into the magnetic beauty within its passions and emotive force majestic. At one point the song may have you swaying within its siren glow and the very next it is inciting aggressive urges. It is as all tracks on CVI a bustling forever evolving maelstrom of invention.

Though every song deserves attention time and space is a greedy beast so as we bring some songs to light take those we do mention as read for those not. CVI is deeply diverse, an ever amazing collection of songs which draw you back into their irresistible charms like an aural addict. The one consistent that does pervade every track though is quality, not once is there a dip or lull in the sheer awe inspiring imagination. You can pick the likes of the anthemic express that is No Good, the sensational Blue with its wonderful evocative instrumental first part, or the haunting prowl of South Of Somewhere, and find alongside their glories something else totally unique but equally astounding. Blue is as contagious as any new virus, its soul and breath breeding a pure addiction whilst the craft and songwriting is from wizardry borne conjurations whilst South Of Somewhere is a seemingly chilled yet unsettling entity, its initial presence disentangled from its surroundings but ultimately it reveals itself as a wanton tease. Drawing one in with a slight sinister allure and remote emotive atmosphere it slowly weaves its devious charms to explode with fury of punk attitude and metal intensity. Though it is near impossible to choose a standout track all so impressive, this pair ignites the biggest fire of all.

CVI is an easy contender for album of the year and it is hard to imagine many will rise alongside it let alone surpass its brilliance and magnitude of imagination. Royal Thunder has made those initial whispers rather inadequate and very under estimating.

RingMaster 17/05/2012

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Interview with Jon Rossi of Pilgrim

Bringing forth the essence of “true doom metal”, Rhode Island metalers Pilgrim are about to unleash a brute of an impressive album in the shape of Misery Wizard. A monster of a release it is an intense assault of black dirges, resonating ravenous riffs and blistering caustic melodies that feeds and excites the senses. We had the pleasure of asking Jon Rossi from Pilgrim about the band and Misery Wizard.

Hello and thank you for taking time to talk to The Ringmaster Review.

Hails, and you are very welcome.

Could you please first introduce the band and tell us how you all met and the band started.

We are PILGRIM, a doom metal band from Rhode Island, USA. We all met in high school and bonded over good art and music.

What was the inspiration to start the band and for your music as a whole?

We all loved doom metal and wanted to start a project of our own, something that expressed ourselves uniquely but also paid tribute to our favorite bands. PILGRIM was born fairly quickly.

Your sound is fuelled by and the band’s intent is to ‘resurrect’ true doom metal. Firstly how do you feel about modern doom metal then?

Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of great ‘doom metal’ bands around now, but we feel like, ESPECIALLY here in the States, ‘doom metal’ has become a blanket term to describe everything from stoner metal to funeral metal. We feel like we have a very good idea of what real doom metal should be and what it sounds like. In that regard, we are very unhappy with the current state of doom.

So is this intention as much down to your unrest and disgust at the way the genre has gone as it is simply music that you enjoy and are inspired by?

Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better, thank you.

Are you finding a ready audience for true doom metal or most need reminding of and showing its might first?

It seems like Europeans really love it and understand it and people here in the US are a bit… taken aback? Perhaps they are frightened and insecure about the fact that I am not fucking screaming into the microphone. Or maybe their fragile ears can’t handle a note suspended for more than a few seconds. Most DEFINITELY need reminding. Forgive us for not conforming to an over-popular norm.

Are there any current doom metal bands you would spend time on listening to?

Sure. Good old Pentagram and Saint Vitus are still kicking, touring and releasing new records. We love Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony. Ramesses are godly as well.

Has doom metal always been the direction you had as musicians even before the band?

Not quite. We always wanted to make heavy, powerful, dark music, but before we found doom metal we really had no direction. My guitar playing and song writing really took off after I discovered bands that I finally could to relate to.

You are Rhode Island based, is there a vibrant metal scene there or do you have to generally travel further afield for gigs etc?

Rhode Island is a joke, generally speaking. Don’t get me wrong, some amazing bands have come from Rhode Island, but currently it’s “music scene” (if you could call it that) is a bit… I can’t quite find the word. Perhaps “boring” is a good choice.

You are about to release your impressive debut album Misery Wizard, what are the emotions on the ‘eve’ of its release?

I can’t wait to hold a copy of the vinyl in my hands. It’s taken so very very long. We are just excited the process is over with and we can continue to look forward to our new projects.

How long has the album been in the making?

It is a collection of our earliest songs, so probably about two years, since the beginning of the band. We weren’t sure what exactly we’d be releasing for the first record, it sort of just fell together on its own.

Is there a particular track or moment on the album that gives you the deepest satisfaction?

Although it is the least “doomy” track on the record, I love the song Adventurer. It’s a fantastical auto-biography of the band and our adventures and creeds. It is just so powerful to me.

Can you give us some insight into the band’s writing process?

I get inspired by a particular idea and I try my best to make a riff that represents the feeling of that thought. It’s like painting with music. Then I bring it to practice and the guys help me make it into a song by giving it backbone. I enjoy the process. They give me feedback and constructive criticism. I value their opinions highly.

The songs within Misery Wizard are epic in length and stature, how much is predetermined and how much is it a songs natural evolution that gives them this grand imposing feel?

You are an observant listener! I always say, the songs aren’t REALLY that ‘long’, on paper they are quite short, it is just the speed and style that make them come out so lengthy. It’s an acquired taste. A lot of old secular music was like this. It didn’t feel long to them, we just think faster today.

Lyrically the songs are diverse, what are the things that inspire and trigger the lyrics?

I am inspired by a lot of fantasy, whether it’s games or movies or books. Some of the lyrics are introspective, but I prefer songs that paint beautifully epic pictures. Sword and sorcery is my favorite domain! I suppose some of it also comes from a love of the occult and magic ritual, but recently we’ve been moving away from this style because of its redundancy in doom metal today.

One imagines live your sound is even more powerful and overwhelming than on the album, how easy was it to get that intensity on the recording and still keep the clarity too?

It was easy! Making the music intense and full of emotion is something that PILGRIM is exceptionally good at. A lot of it has to do with Krolg’s drumming, he is excellent at building walls of feeling and then smashing them down. When we recorded the record, it only took us three days (the first day being mostly drums). We are (usually) very well rehearsed.

Could you tell us about the excellent artwork on the album?

It was done by a wonderful Englishmen named Paul McCarol. We wanted to a parody of a Renascence-style painting using elements and themes from the record. We worked really closely with Paul to come up with that image. A lot of people claim that we are attempting to rip off the Cathedral style artwork. This simply isn’t true. We can clearly see how someone would think this, but it’s pure coincidence. We don’t really listen to very much Cathedral.

Does 2012 have dates and tours ahead to help promote the album etc, and any chance Europe will see Pilgrim this year?

Europe will see PILGRIM this year, we will be playing the “Heavy Days in Doom Town” festival in Copenhagen, Denmark and also a prior show in Oslo, the details of which are a bit hazy as of now.  We will be hitting the road here in the states starting March 1st, hoping to wind up down in Dallas, TX to play the SxSW festival.

What are your plans beyond Misery Wizard?

To go to Japan. We fucking love Japan.

A great many thanks for talking with us, have you any last words or thoughts?

Only Reverend Bizarre is real. Fuck everyone.

And finally can you give recommendations to Doom Metal fans of whom other than Pilgrim they should check out to explore the true doom metal sound?

Reverend Bizarre, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Revelation, Ramesses, Electric Wizard, The Wizar’d, Black Hole, Witchfinder General, EARLY Cathedral, EARLY Warning, and check out some newer bands Ice Dragon and Windhand.        

Misery Wizard is unleashed via Metal Blade Records on February 14th

Read the Misery Wizard review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/pilgrim-misery-wizard/

Ringmaster 10/02/2012

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Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony

There has been plenty of re-issues of debuts and albums from bands finding  a resurgence in popularity or simply the re-release of recordings that originally had a limited presence and were lost and out of circulation for many years. A varied collective in sound and quality they have been too but even the best of them will find it hard to match the essential quality and vibrancy of the latest from Metal Blade Records / Rise Above Records in the shape of the self titled debut from the Canadian folk/heavy rock band Blood Ceremony. The release is a gem that pulsates and bewitches with a startling array of elements that sees them as part homage to their influences and distinctly unique in the current metal/rock world.

Originally released in 2008 Blood Ceremony is a wonderfully colourful blend of psychedelic/folk/doom and stoner rock punched through with the audacity and attitude of heavy metal. There is so much going on that it is a mesmeric and beguiling release that is mischievous and also deceiving at the same time. The nine tracks within this psychedelia influenced doom rock beast offer up numerous recognisable elements and sound, riffs and melodies that you may think it is just a band wearing their influences openly on their sleeve, which in many ways they are, but without anything more. A focused listen though and you soon realise there has been and is no one fusing these things into their own unique sound like Blood Ceremony, and whether their sounds take a hold of you or not you will not have heard anyone exactly like them.

How to describe them is not a swift thing to do, imagine a bubbling cauldron of the likes of Electric Wizard, Black Widow and Pentagram spiced up with the psychedelic sounds and freedom of The Doors, the downtuned heaviness of Black Tusk, the meaty riffage of Black Sabbath, and the folk inspiration of a Jethro Tull or a Horslips without the Celtic sound, and you are in the vicinity of what Blood Ceremony weave together. With songs inspired by the heart and soul of witchcraft movies, the occult and magick, and Satanism, the quartet from Toronto conjure up fascinating and unavoidable imagery and emotions with their stirring songs and imaginative themes. As the album plays you can just see them playing to a back drop of a modern day Wicker Man ceremony or numerous covens and satanic festivals, their sounds uniting pagan and witchcraft inspired intent.

Formed in 2006 Blood Ceremony carry a heavy 60’s/70’s rock sound borne of sterner modern intensity and as their second album Living With The Ancients of 2011 confirmed it is a sound that whatever your preference in rock music one will find plenty to feast upon. From the opening concussive intro to opening track ‘Master Of Confusion’ on the debut, the band swoop upon and gather up the senses taking them on a part theatrical and wholly absorbent experience. That is one thing about the album, it has a showman feel in a way, the dark themes and sinister tales lacking venom and fear, but offer up glorious fun. The track provokes the ear with belligerent riffs and attitude as it winds its way through the ear to menace and tease the senses, especially from the lovely grumpy bass and expressive keys.

The album is perfectly varied, from the heavy opener ‘I’m Coming with You’ muscles in with a well crafted blend of militant riffs, throbbing energy, and Lucifer spawned pan pipe like flute from vocalist Alia O’Brien. This is the harshest of the tracks keeping a deliberate muscle throughout despite the wicked ‘pipes’ that whip around the bulky energy. Guitarist Sean Kennedy and bassist Lucas Gadke give real heavy fibrous intent to the sound on the album perfectly supported by drummer Andrew Haust, all allowing O’Brien to light up torches of exquisite melodies and add incisive breaks to the weighty atmospheres.

The album is impressive from start to the last devilish wink of its closing note, with tracks like the shadowed ‘Into The Coven’ , the spirit raising necromantic celebration of ‘The Rare Lord’, and ‘Hop Toad’ with its insatiable preying riff and siren like melodic beckoning, rifling through and engaging the senses completely. If you have not found Blood Ceremony yet then here is your chance to jump in at the beginning, time to immerse into their earthy dark world with more burning flames than you could wish for.

RingMaster 30/01/2012

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