The RingMaster Review picks its favourite metal, rock and noise releases of 2018

Across its busy year 2018 unleashed a horde of gripping and rousing metal, rock, and noise driven releases. Here we pluck out those covered by The RingMaster Review which had the juices flowing most lustfully of all…

1. Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 2

2. Coilguns – Millennials

3. KEN mode – Loved

4. VNDTA – Pale Glow

5. Mammüth – Outlander

6. Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 1

7. Eryn Non Dae. – Abandon Of The Self 

8. The Great Sabatini – Goodbye Audio

9. U-Foes – No More No More

10. Dead Register – Captive

11. Naberus – Hollow

12. Bailer – Self Titled

13. Hostile Array – Self Titled 

14. In Vain – Currents

15. Vantablack Warship – Abrasive Pulmonic Speak

16. Skulk, The Hulking – Afterbirth Of A Nation

17. The Ugly Kings – Darkness Is My Home

18. Spookshow Inc. – Visions Of The Blinded World pt I & II

19. The Castor Troys – Legends Never Die

20. Owl Company – Iris

21. Deville – Pigs with Gods

22. Arcaeon – Balance EP

23. Maudlin – Sassuma Arnaa

24. The Senton Bombs – Outsiders

25. Verni – Barricade 

Eryn Non Dae. – Abandon Of The Self

Can it really be approaching six years since French metallers Eryn Non Dae. left us and so many others drooling over their last album Meliora. It was a release which continues to lure and led us at the time to boldly suggest that extreme and progressive metal had a band which would “continually stretch the wide genres to impressive heights.” At last they have released its successor in the invasive shape of Abandon Of The Self; an encounter which more than justifies our claim.

Since the release of Meliora, unsurprisingly there have been a fair few bands and releases which have offered similar striking propositions. Many have pushed the boundaries of genres which are never slow in exploring new trespasses and adventures anyway.  Abandon Of The Self now steps forward to join that collection of inspiring encounters, and we dare to say from the very frontline of the triumphant wave.

Formed in 2001, as The End, the Toulouse hailing quintet released their debut album, Hydra Lernaïa, through Metal Blade in 2009. It was a spark to attention and an already well brewed reputation the band had nurtured through their live presence and earlier EP. Meliora brought a whole new plateau of sound and imagination with its unveiling in 2012 which Abandon Of The Self has now escalated with its atmospheric drama and sonic invention.

Once again Eryn Non Dae. linked up with Mobo for the recording, mixing and mastering of Abandon Of The Self and swiftly gripped attention and the imagination with opener Astral. It looms in from a distance, static distortion shimmering in its air as a rhythmic shuffle soon infests ears and incites even keener attention. The raw throated scowl of vocalist Mathieu Nogues erupts against the track’s swing, the guitars of Franck Quintin and Yann Servanin gathering their wiry lures to subsequently wind around the pulsating surge of the growing trespass. Calm, clean vocals rise within the brewing tempest, conflicting atmospheres colluding rather than battling around the intrigue and voracity of the song. The rolling beats of Julien Rufié unite with the rhythmic grumble of Mickaël André’s bass to magnetically entice but it is the layers of contrasting textures and the immersive breath of the track which really pulls the listener in.

The compelling start to the album is thickened by the menace lined flirtation of Stellar. Nogues vocally walks through atmospheric intimation; his tones and expression becoming more intense as guitars weave a captivating almost feral aurora of sound as again rhythms court the predacious climate with their manipulative swing. It is a truly magnetic soundscape for ears to embrace and the imagination to explore, the band’s own lyrical and physical suggestion equally sparking fresh ventures in thoughts even as the senses increasingly cower before the brewing celestial storm.

Omni similarly sees Nogues with an initially controlled and provocative presence within a kaleidoscope of melodic and sonic wiring around the ever infectious craft of André and Rufié. Though inescapably invasive and disturbing, the ambient winds cast by Quintin and Servanin are tantalising, hinting and probing the psyche whilst allowing the volatility in the song’s heart and atmosphere to increasingly infest their mercurial weave. As with all songs and the album, every listen unveils new melancholic aspects, rapacious shadows, and dark depths to feast upon but equally a radiance which only draws you back time and time again.

The following Eclipse has a bubbling urgency to its predatory rock ‘n’ roll which arouses the senses just as potently as the atmospheric ferocity and seduction which entangles via the guitars. Every corner of the song and band unleash a compelling statement of emotion and enticement, again lust and fear hand in hand as submission to its evocative inferno was swift and inescapable before the epic flight of Halo invades and consumes, driven by further outstanding rhythmic engineering of song and the senses it manipulates. Getting lost in its soundscape was easy, immersing in its angst and emotional turbulence similarly certain, every moment of its ten minutes plus a refreshing intrusion of body and psyche.

The album closes with firstly Fragment, a pulsating inferno of intensity and untethered dissonance from voice to melodic toxicity and rhythmic incitement, and finally through the apocalyptic realm of Abyss. As with all tracks, the pair escort, no drag the listener through soundscapes which never settle and never allow predictability or an absence of adventure confront ears, the latter especially monstrous yet majestic as ire and fury merge with monolithic beauty and ravenous passion.

Though Abandon Of The Self made an immediate rich and irresistible impact, it was with time that is really gripped and thrilled as those dark corners and skilled layers were further exposed. The band describes their album as “a trip into the depths of the soul”, its press release, “a beast of a release!” We can only endorse both and suggest Eryn Non Dae. have not only sprung their finest moment yet but one of the year’s essential listens.

Abandon Of The Self is out now via Debemur Morti Productions; available @ https://erynnondae.bandcamp.com/ or https://erynnondae.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-of-the-self

https://www.erynnondae.com/    http://www.facebook.com/ERYNNONDAEofficial/

Pete RingMaster 21/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ethersens – Your Wandering Ghost

   Ethersens (3)

    Thick in emotional tension and driven by a seemingly personal drama Your Wandering Ghost, the new album from French band Ethersens, is an enthralling and provocative encounter which strikingly sparks the imagination. The successor to acclaimed debut album Ordinary Days, the new release sees a shift in sound from the band and arguably brings a greater intensity than before and though it demands a focused attention to reap all of its depths and textures it rewards by providing the strongest satisfaction. Brought to our attention by French metallers Eryn Non Dae’s guitarist Franck Quintin, the album is an evolving emotive adventure which leaves thoughts deep in reflection and emotions hungry for band and release.

     The Toulouse hailing Ethersens was formed in 2002 by friends and guitarists Johan Bourrut and Mickael André (also bassist in Eryn Non Dae). The first year saw the band take shape with several line-up changes and it was not until the following year with the arrival of drummer Stéphane Nestiri, bassist Fred, and vocalist Stephane that Ethersens found its serious intent and presence emerging. The members experience working in bands such as Eryn Non Dae, Zubrowska, Talian, Disphoria, and Eradykate gave the band a focus and shaped the decision to work immediately towards an. Ordinary Days was unveiled in 2008 to strong critical and fan responses, its progressive and dark metal blend an impacting persuasion on a great many. The following year saw departures and the recruitment of vocalist Laurent Mora and bassist Rémy Boyer alongside the founding members and Nestiri. With their sound moving to a more progressive/alternative rock mix inspired by the likes of Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains; its touch lighter but atmospherically more empowering emotionally than ever before, Ethersens were soon creating Your Wandering Ghost, eventually recording it with Julien Soula at Antistatic Studios.

     Released like the first on Italian label Scarlet Records, Your Wandering Ghost is a concept album looking at ‘a relationship TP_125_2_(K2-TC).pdf between two people which takes a tragic turn, a story about a lost love which tends to be re-born into death, regrets and sorrow.’ It is a release which at times is as intrusive as it is seductive and persistently is an intensive incitement for senses and emotions. From the opener Two for One Mind, the album steers thoughts through an imposing and riveting landscape of varied emotions, at times sharing raw and caustic issues lyrically and sonically and in other moments soaring through atmospheric climes of ethereal and dynamic temptation. More often than not the extremes are merged into one enthralling narrative as with the potent opener. The song instantly has a melancholic air through the first rub of guitar chords, a shadowed ambience slowly immersing the senses as the equally darkly lit vocals and words also begin their narrative. It is a full seduction even with its heavy hearted breath and has intrigue alongside a keen appetite alert for the expanding provocation before them. Through its nine minutes of intensity sculpted suasion the track unleashes its emotional and physical muscle, rhythms unreserved in their dynamic buffeting across the expanse whilst bass and guitars craft a tempestuous and enthralling blaze of skilful invention to voraciously capture the imagination and offer a lingering contagion.

    The first track is an explosion of ingenious mergers and skilled enterprise which grips and shakes the senses from start to finish. A mighty towering entrance by the album it soon relinquishes some of its hold with the following Same Goodbye. To be fair attention is not lost or disappointed but with a smouldering exploration of emotional shadows and being a slow invasion of the passions placed right after the immense starter it is given a hard task to remain at the same plateau. Nevertheless with Mora continuing to show an excellent voice and delivery, emotion dripping from every syllable, and the guitar painting from Bourrut and André only adding the richest hues to song and ears it keeps the album firmly under an eager gaze before the similarly tension clad This is Where You and I Part Ways and the excellent Livin’ Memory provide their edgy and powerful presences. The first with the drums impressively framing another emotional maelstrom smothers and invigorates in simultaneous strength whilst its successor shapes peaks and intimidating climbs to high summits with abrasive riffs and sinew driven rhythms. With as ever strong vocals riding a stirring wind across the sonically rugged landscape, the track is a scintillating triumph, a mix of soaring beauty and mistrustful energy providing light and dark in a thrilling slice of rock invention.

     After the Mourning Light, a song like the second on the album which misses out on igniting a fire in the emotions but still provides an undeniable quality and impact with its presence, the album hits another pinnacle with Reflect. The track is a voracious assault which entwines its anger and spite with a melodic seduction and sonic expression which tempers yet coaxes the intimidating predation of the song. As happy nagging and riling the senses as it is caressing them with mouthwatering beauty, the fiery declaration is glorious and the best track on the album.

    Completed by the emotionally instigative Waking Disorder and the smooth yet tenaciously inciting To Live is to Forget, two tracks which undulate and entice the passions with infectious might and invention, Your Wandering Ghost is a rapaciously compelling experience that strongly impresses and richly pleases. The album needs time to show its strengths and rigorous depths as mentioned but proves Ethersens to be a band which leaves no creative stone unturned and emotion not wrung out. Wrapped in stunning artwork from French visionary artist Romain Barbot, this is a confrontation to wrap up within especially if fans of bands such as Karnivool, Katatonia, Opeth, and Tool…

Your Wandering Ghost is out on January the 20th via Scarlet Records.

http://www.ethersens.com

http://ethersens.bandcamp.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 16/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Eryn Non Dae. : Meliora

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    Meliora is the new album from French experimental metallers Eryn Non Dae. and is a tsunami of a release, a record which swamps without respite the senses with colossal waves of remarkable imagination and aggressive fury. Already the recipients of strong acclaim for previous album Hydra Lernaia, the Toulouse based quintet have raised not only their own bar with its successor but that of dark progressive and extreme metal as a whole. The previous album did not get the rewards it deserved but with the impressive evolution of their sound upon Meliora, one can only hope and suspect that the M&O Music released album will have no such issues.

Since forming in 2001,Eryn Non Dae. has created sounds which for a lack of a better description, find an alliance within avant-garde metal, not that they can truly be placed anywhere. It is a band which creates soundscapes of rich bleeding shadows and dark thirsty ambiences alongside unique progressive ingenuity in sound and thought as well as ferocious debilitating intensities and rhythms. They do not offer journeys which are easy or immediately accessible but without doubt make the rewards triumphant and wholly fulfilling. The band has built up a massive reputation for their craft and invention through stunning live shows alongside the likes of Gojira, Pelican, Jenx, The Ocean, Black Bomb A, Sleepers, Trigger the Bloodshed, and across multiple festival performances, as well as releases which began in 2005 with The Never-Ending Whirl Of Confusion EP. The EP was released under the name END and received great critical acclaim. With the signing to Metal Blade Records for their debut album Hydra Lernaïa in 2009, the band changed the name to Eryn Non Dae. to avoid confusion with other artists. Again the release was strongly received, the complexities of songwriting and craft as well as the impacting atmospheres garnering ever increasing positivity. As with the previous releases, Meliora was recorded with producer Mobo and simply leaves those earlier great creations in its wake.

The seven track release leaves no aspect of the mind and senses untouched, the seemingly never ending opening to first track eryn_non_dae-cover_webChrysalis alone a scorched sonic heralding of destructive ambience which intimidates and ignites the tentative of openness. Once at full expanse, the track is a bruising storm of intensive sonic manipulation from guitarists Franck Quintin and Yann Servanin, caged by the tremendous skills and aggression of drummer Julien Rufié. The song ripples with thought and ingenuity, perpetually rearranging and reinventing its textures and stark atmospheres to accentuate and deepen their power and intrigue whether through melodic and reserved devices or outright fury. The vocals of Mathieu B. Nogues are as impressive of the sounds, his ease at sharing corrosive growls or whispered suggestions as immense and dramatic as the towering sounds surrounding him.

Also impressive and important is the clarity to each member the production offers whilst holding tight the intense power and presence they have as a unit. For many releases this can be an issue where their aural torrents outweighs the individual elements but not upon Meliora where bassist Mickaël André, who anywhere else might have been lost in the sonic furnace, is able to bring great depth to the tracks whilst showing the inventive skills and ideas he offers.

The following tracks The Great Downfall and Scarlet Rising transports the listener to adjacent and different emotive post-apocalyptic engagements, the first dawning on a similar premise to the first song before unleashing a doom soaked thick wrap of colossal energy and towering guitar venom. The track crawls through a varied landscape to continually intrigue and infect the senses whilst its successor is a greedier rabid sonic rage. It too though is an uncompromising and twisting proposition which nothing can be taken granted over, the song like all an unpredictable glory which flows seamlessly and effortlessly despite the obvious and unrelentingly shifting technical prowess in songwriting and play at work.

Best track on the album is Ignitus, though closely rivalled by all. It is a devastating outpouring of insidious energies and spiteful creativity, a raging aural thirst which saps the breath whilst fuelling the passions with incredible imagination and enterprise. Muto and Black Obsidian Pyre stand close by its side, both a deluge of innovation and heart borne rancor bringing the mightiest of pleasure in their individually diverse ways.

Closing with the outstanding Hidden Lotus, another inspiring and astonishing encounter, Meliora is outstanding to its very core and a release impossible to compare to others. Certainly fans of bands such as Meshuggah, The Faceless, Between The Buried And Me, and The Afterimage will devour the album but extreme metal as a whole should note that in Eryn Non Dae. it has a band which will continually stretch the wide genre to impressive heights.

www.erynnondae.com

RingMaster 30/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright