Hollow Leg – Instinct

Hollow Leg BAND

     Following on from the release of their well-received second album Abysmal last year, US sludge metal sculptors Hollow Leg have their debut beast re-released by Argonauta Records this month. A raw and caustically honed brute of a consuming and oppressive encounter, their previously sold out first album Instinct returns to fill in the blanks of where the acclaimed Florida band began for those missing out the first time. Uncompromising and incessantly rapacious, the album is a sonic brutality with a merciless causticity but simultaneously holds and is tempered by a certainly rough but open seduction through often hidden but bare and potent addictive temptations.

     Instinct was originally released in 2010 when Hollow Leg was just the duo of Tim Creter (vocals, drums) and Brent Lynch (vocals, guitars), the band since expanding to a quartet with the addition of Tom Crowther (bass) and Scott Angelacos (vocals), and followed The Hive Demos of the same year. Demanding and exhaustingly heavy, the album is an unrelenting predator of the senses and psyche, a smothering intensity of sound with a taste for southern groove metal within its ferocious belly. Whereas last year’s excellent Abysmal had a more tempered if still abrasive breath to its impacting and suffocating enterprise, Instinct bares no niceties or respect in its invasive sludge swamp of noise and intent. It is not a release which thrust Hollow Leg onto the frontline of the genre but it is easy to see why it triggered an enthused response to its release, a potent entrance taken on to greater levels by its successor.

    Opener Caretaker attaches itself to the imagination on a sonic spear of sound, spoken vocals providing the initial narrative HOLLOW LEG - Instinctbefore intensive riffs and flattening beats add their scuzz fuelled presence. Employing raw vocal squalls and a leaden but irresistible groove, the song strolls with reserve and intimidating weight through the ears. It is a strong enticement into the album, not strikingly eventful but fully potent in its lure, bait stretched and reinforced by the likes of the bestially bruising Shattered and the more energetic devilish proposition of The Return. Whereas the first is another imposing and senses pinning load of sonic confrontation the second has an eager and fiery gait to its body, though that eventually succumbs to the core heftiness of the band’s sludge intent for a prowling and threatening climax.

     As the tracks follow each other it is fair to say that repetition of structure and chunks of certain riffery make a formulaic surface encounter which needs to be pierced to discover the extra delights tracks like The Source with its dirty melodic grazing upon another contagiously addictive groove offer. That southern lilt to the sound is especially rich and tantalising on this particular track, thoughts of bands like Sourvein, EyeHateGod, and Clutch making loud whispers in the raucous noise persuasion but also of another band, The Fat Dukes Of Fuck where certainly vocally and in a certain mischief the similarity is loud. For all those similarities, Hollow Leg ignite a hunger with their still distinct and raw invention; Bacchus with its inflamed swagger and addiction forging grooves around thrilling nagging riffs and punchy rhythms as well as the corrosively compelling Nothing Left drawing thoughts and emotions in with greater strength for a matching return of appetite for their voracious and intensive toxicity.

    The niggling violence of Spit In The Fire comes next to spark up another greedy response, the scowling vitriolic vocals against the equally tartish wash of exacting noise a rabid suasion, whilst the band’s intensity takes on a further burdensome and exciting depth with Warbeast, the title summing up the track quite accurately. Hooks and grooves, as across the album, come regularly and forcibly but as with most tracks also with a pleasing variation though their true potency often comes only after an excavating beneath the perpetually gruellingly textured skin of the release. The rhythmic taunting of Grace is an example of the variety at play beneath Instinct, but also proof of having to bury yourself into the song to best reap its rugged rewards.

      Closing with the tantalising and unpredictably twisting Wayside, a great epic finale of arduous invention and challenging enterprise, Instinct is a satisfaction filling entrance from a band we know goes on to an even more impressive endeavour. If you missed Hollow Leg on their initial entrance the new releasing of the album gives you a chance to make up for lost time, it a strenuous and stringent view of a band taking its first sonically acerbic steps.

www.facebook.com/hollowlegfl

8/10

RingMaster 05/02/2014

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Obelyskkh – Hymn To Pan

pic by_MikeWiener_

pic by_MikeWiener_

With the exceptional 2012 album White Lightnin’ thrusting its creators upon the doom/sludge metal map it is fair to say that anticipation for its successor was hunger driven. The third album Hymn To Pan from German metallers Obelyskkh more than satisfies that craving, offering six expansive sonic and heavily boned consumptions which in some ways continue where their predecessors left off but have evolved and stretched their melodic abrasive teachings to new intense and hue drenched levels. It is an album which steals attention with ease and ignites the imagination for expressive senses scorching ventures, and though after numerous traverses of its impacting soundscape it arguably remains slightly in the shadow of the previous release, the record is a beautifully sculpted and inventively delivered acidic treat.

Founded in 2008 as a project for guitarist Torsten (ex- The Walruz and Vs. The Stillborn-Minded) to explore his ideas and invention with the help of friend Adi, the band nevertheless grew and took on its own expansive destiny. First came the addition of bassist Steffen from seminal German stoner rock band Desert Sun, who after time moved to the drums with multi-instrumentalist David taking over the four stringed exploits. Though still not intended as a fully operational band the release of debut album Mount Nysa in 2011 seemed to trigger something for Obelyskkh. Sold out within three weeks and covered in strongly positive responses, the album was just one fire erupting at the time as a 2-minutes live footage clip of the band on YouTube led the band to be inundated with interest and offers from promoters in Germany and other European countries and subsequently into an exhaustive period of shows and festivals appearances. Last year saw the Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Eyehategod, High On Fire, Melvins) recorded White Lightnin’ unleashed to mass acclaim and fervour. It was a startling release which brought new blood and flavour to the doom/stoner/sludge scene, though as with the new album it offered plenty more varied appetisers for the passions too.

The second album through Exile On Mainstream, Hymn To Pan is an even more aggressive and cutting encounter compared to the last, EOM064_coverRGBits breath bordering a battle cry and its intensity warlike though equally the depth of melodic temperance and emotive depths are as evocative and enthralling as ever. The title track dawns with a morning song of birds and fresh air before horns call the attention and physical intent of the world. Slowly awakening with rhythms stretching their energy and invitation, the track soon has sinews fully flexed with riffs adding war paint to the experience and mass vocals combining in a feisty union. The sonic colour of the guitars brings greater imagery and intensity to the piece sparking the imagination to add its own potent additional narrative. As mentioned it all feels like an awakening to a riveting conflict not only of a violent nature but of a harsh and demanding realm, and makes for a mighty hook into the rest of the album.

The Ravens emerges from the shadows next with a much more predacious attitude and weight to its stalking, riffs oppressive and strikingly heavy as they encase the ear in inescapable menace before allowing a breath to be taken through a reassuring melodic temptation. It is short lived as the band continues their thick doom fuelled tsunami of noise and intensity. The vocals also find a rapacious snarl and intimidation to match the enveloping sound, the unrelenting toxicity of the track veined by seductive melodic teasing and sonic tales. It is a scintillating funereal prowl which offers enough to intrigue and keep things fresh but equally has the restraint to force its triumph deeper with repetition and drone clad beauty.

Littered with telling samples, The Man Within takes mere moments to spark greater ardour, its malevolence of sound and vocal attack fearsome and invigorating. The track has an insatiable rabidity which borders on brutality at times, certainly a ruinous intent, whilst the bass and guitars spin a merciless steel web of sonic and voracious violence within another uncompromising and thrilling rhythmic cage.

From the highest pinnacle of the album forged by the previous two songs, the likes of Heavens Architrave and Horse build upon the already entrenched satisfaction with their individual presences, the first a more merciful embrace rife with a tonic of melodic enticement and great vocal beckoning, though still skirted by the damning rapacity already scarring the senses, whilst its successor from opening with a sample from the movie Warriors, employs a leisurely hunt upon the ear before savagely adding further violation with barbarous hostility. With grooves scorching flesh and the throaty sonic poison seeping through every pore the song is a masterful tempest.

Final track Revelation: The Will To Nothingness is a twenty minute plus behemoth, an evolving beast which is in no hurry to explore its narrative and give the senses any form of peace. A raw and ravaging vehemence from the off with a death spawned growl vocally and musically, the song moves through its own unique and aggravated world. Heightened flames of melodic sultriness and sonic heat coax the imagination in further as they take over the journey before things further twist and change throughout the lengthy soundscape. For personal tastes the track does out stay its welcome in parts and in a condensed state might have made a stronger impact, though equally it could lose the potency it has. It is nevertheless an enriching conclusion to another triumph from Obelyskkh. Admittedly passions are still lit up more by White Lightnin’ to be honest, but Hymn To Pan is undoubtedly one of the finest doom fuelled stoner lit metal exploits this year and more everyone’s full attention.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObelyskkhRitual

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/09/2012

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All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature

apmd

All you need to know about Nothing Violates This Nature, the second album from Massachusetts-based All Pigs Must Die Nasty to warrant full investigation is that it is simply NASTY!! Corrosively nasty in intent, sonically nasty in sound, and undiluted nasty in passion, and a towering tempest of spiteful destructive hardcore. Building from their impressive and violent debut God is War of 2011, the band featuring members of The Hope Conspiracy, Converge, and Bloodhorse have come back together to create one of the most formidable and standards heightening furies of anger sculpted antagonism. It is a potently crippling beast of senses igniting noise which stands shoulder to shoulder to anything their day jobs and other recognised genre bands have created.

The Southern Lord release sees All Pigs Must Die joining up again with Kurt Ballou (Converge) at Godcity to record their follow-up album, a union which completes a stronger and more complete, dare one say confident, step on from its impressive predecessor. An album which does not give you room to breathe let alone escape its toxic glory, Nothing Violates This Nature confirms the stature and blistering force that is All Pigs Must Die, a band which admittedly as good as had written that in fire with their live performances alongside the likes of Integrity, Enabler, Ringworm, Black Breath, Eyehategod, Repulsion, Down, Sleep, Exodus, Church Of Misery and more.

As opener Chaos Arise stomps and storms through the ear with riffs and rhythms a combined ferocity there is an immediate sense of anCover_RGB_CD_300dpi-copy-e1369761381912 elevated and accelerated spite to sound and band, the vocals of Kevin Baker spoiling for a fight over the deliciously tight contagious grooves and abrasive riffs of guitarist Adam Wentworth and the air juggling disruptive might of the drums of Ben Koller. With the bass of Matt Woods snarling and crawling through it all with venom as thick as its bestial notes, the metallic punk castigator is a staggering start which immediately places the band on another level easily backed up by the following brilliant Silencer. Like being caught in an avalanche with sirenesque grooves diverting fear into full on obsessive rapture, the track in less than two minutes turns thoughts and emotions in on themselves trying to escape the savagery cast. At its departure the overriding thought from both songs is just how pissed off Baker and the band itself is.

Both Primitive Fear and Bloodlines chew and rip asunder the psyche, the first a torrential sonic squall of vocal vitriol and magnetic sound, the music a riveting mix of contagious grooves and hooks veining acid bred noise whilst its successor is a predacious and brooding stalking which exposes the senses and emotions to a magnetic alluring sonic spiralling alongside acrid intent. Both songs are magnificent, imaginative and intrusive with especially the second unveiling a weave of seductive melodic mystique which takes the release into new adventure. Hardcore has never sounded so good.

Of Suffering brings another twist in the intensive ride, its lumbering scourge a sonic acidity brewing within the doom laden sludge thick oppression. Baker barracks the barricades with merciless intent and animosity whilst musically the track wears and erodes defences with its enthralling and heavy weighted intensity.

The returning carnage laying brutality which opened up the album sends Holy Plague and Aqim Siege straight for the throat, their jaws obdurate instigators. Riffs and rhythms dominate but allow a space where Wentworth expels some sizzling melodic blazes in the first of the pair whilst the following barbarous confrontation of the other song is one minute of vicious beauty.

    Sacred Nothing is nothing less than glorious punishment whilst Faith Eater surveys the damage before adding its own creative ruthlessness. It is hard to imagine anything topping what has already been unleashed but the closing Articles Of Human Weakness masterfully attempts to correct assumptions with a multi-flavoured furnace of punk murderousness taken through a rancorous expanse of rhythmic rabidity and sonic vehemence. It is a staggering conclusion to a stunning release, one that gives a fresh hellacious breath to the hardcore scene.

https://www.facebook.com/apmdband

9/10

RingMaster 29/07/2013

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Clashing sinews and sonic deities: an interview with Gregg Higgins of Venomous Maximus

Photo by Mark C. Austin

Photo by Mark C. Austin

 Rock/metal, however you wish to describe the enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy that is the music of Venomous Maximus it is a confrontation which leaves you gasping and hungry for more. The recent worldwide re-release of their debut album Beg Upon The Light has slammed the quartet right in the midst of the most rapacious yet sonically rewarding bands today. Towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms crowd maelstroms of irresistible grooves and an intensity which staggers within the impressive release backing up the almost fearsome reputation of their live performances. Given the welcome opportunity to quiz and dig deeper into the band with vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins, we soon realised this is much more than a band for the man and his colleagues.

Hi Gregg welcome to the RingMaster Review and many thanks for taking time to talk to us.

First of we will ask for the benefit of those yet to be fully acquainted with Venomous Maximus can you give us some background to the beginnings of the band and its members?

I am an artist and a tattooer. Our drummer Bongo builds motorcycles. Trevi is a math mathematician and a hot sauce master and Christian makes everything happen. I moved to Houston 6 years ago and had been planning for 4 or 5 years on starting the band. I was just waiting on the perfect time and the right people. Then everything fell into place…the end.

Was there an immediate connection musically and in thought about how the band would progress between you?

Yes of course. We weren’t getting anyone involved if they had to be taught anything. I think that’s important when putting together a band. Not just finding members that can just play the music. They have to understand the master plan.

Some bands have a ‘leader’, a founder who is the prime force behind the direction or creative input is that the same with Venomous Maximus or is it a more democratic process within the band?

It’s like being on a submarine. It’s a tight ship with not a lot of space to move around. Everyone has a role and job in the band and doesn’t have to be told what to do. I am the main creative force but it’s just a bunch of ideas. Everyone puts in their input but they are the ones that actually make it happen.

You are seemingly tagged as anything from an occult rock band to a doom or heavy rock. I am not sure any of those truly describe your intense flavoursome rock’ n’ roll, how would you describe your massive sounds?

The whole name game that is involved with underground music is getting pretty silly now days. None of it really matters it should be just for fun and a way to describe and communicate what bands sound like to friends. Our goal was if we play a metal show we are the rock band. If we play a rock show we are the metal band. A chameleon if you will.

I have to ask the about the seeds to the great band name, which alone raises images personally of an insidious dark unknown with

gladiatorial strength and purpose.

You have given the best description of the name. When I hear it that’s what I think of… A titan or god from the ancient world. It basically comes from a tattoo design from the 60s and 70s of a solider that has been away from home a little too long.

Lyrically your songs also approach and investigate the unknown and unspoken shadows. Is this an interest which goes beyond just writing songs?

Yes of course. All of the material comes from experiences or situations I have found myself in over the years. I am not signing about graphic novels or movies or religions. This shit is real man!

Your excellent originally self –released debut album Beg Upon The Light has just been given a re-release through Napalm Records, did they come to you with the offer or were you searching for a wider outlet for the release?

We have always had the attitude whatever happens… happens and Napalm was very interested immediately. Some other labels hit us up but we didn’t wanna get lost in the mix so we decided to go with our gut.

So they were not alone in showing interest over past months or so?

Yea I guess I don’t know what your idea of interested is. We can be pretty picky and choosy about dealings with our band. But most of the buzz has started again in the last couple months. The material on the record is getting old to us and time for some new tunes.

942460_10151622495054738_934875440_nBeg Upon The Light was very well received on its first unleashing, were you more confident with this world wide release or in some way more nervous than before?

Truthfully this band began with a spark and I have always known that we would grow into a flame. It’s kinda like when you meet a woman. Something is a little bit different about it…things just seems to work and flow naturally even when problems arise they seem to take care of themselves, almost guided if you will. When things seem to naturally work in life you shouldn’t question them. ..that’s arrogance to me.

The album follows your first EP The Mission of 2011, and though you are still young in terms of the time the band has been in existence how do you feel your music and songwriting has developed between releases and also what you are presumably coming up with as either new material or ideas now?

Yea I feel the material has grown light years. We spent a good two years just me and the drummer working on a set to finally scratch it when the band actually started playing. We spent damn near the 1st two years playing every week, there has been more time spent on stage than in a practice room now. When your material is written in a practice room compared to being written on the road and in a fully functioning band you really see what you’re made of. Right now we are in the process of writing the next record. I truly feel that it is a true interpretation of what we have wanted to sound like. Much more mature song writing with more of a classic approach to rock n roll than just metal or doom or fucking yea. Hopefully there will be a group of people that don’t like it because it’s not our old material… hahahaha…but they can live in the past and do nothing

How does the song writing process work within the band and are songs as good as completed before entering a studio or do you prefer evolving ideas within that environment more?

Its 3 parts me in my bedroom. Then brought to the practice room and then worked out for the stage. Once the kinks are worked out for performing the song, then the studio. All of the salt and pepper is put on in the studio through intense examination and then its dead to me.

Are you quite strict with yourselves over ideas and things that do or do not work when writing? Do you have a mound of elements discarded or shelved for another opportunity?

We treat the band as if it was a being. As if it’s a ghost. He has his own personality and own opinions and knows what he likes and if he wants to change or stay the same we have to respect his decision. We are just here for his voice to come through. He does half the work we do the other half, so not all the decisions are up to us.

Is it riffs or melodies which generally come first for songs, or do are more often triggered from the lyrical side of your invention?

Actually goes back and forth. A lot of times its lyrics and thoughts that really drive me to write a song, or it could be as simple as me jamming Fleetwood mac and going to the guys with we have to write a song like this our way. Which is normally slightly faster with a little bit of chuggy and a blues lick laid on top. If you got a sharp year you could relate every one of our songs to The Cure, Madonna, David Bowie, all the everyday music that elitist underground’s lie about how much they love. We don’t give a shit about any of that. One of my favorite bands is Enya and she ain’t even a band. hahahaha

Beg Upon The Light is an inventive and intensive ravishing which does not really allow any breaths to be taken within its leviathan like confrontation of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms as well as enthralling of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy, well how we see and feel it anyway. Is it a deliberate intent to have the listener use every part of body, senses, and emotions within its encounter or just something which naturally evolves?

I believe that all artists that have suffered and given their lives up so that they could interpret their experiences to art hope that other people will pick up on what you’re putting down. What you’re explaining is pure projection. It’s the same as someone is lying to you. You can sense they are full of shit, but when people are truly disturbed and upset to their core you can literally feel. Their emotions are so strong and being amplified so much that they literately travel from your body to yours…that’s one of the 12 super powers humans are naturally born with. It’s a shame that people in this modern technology world of information don’t even know the 12 special powers that only human beings possess…or I could be lying about all this. All that really matters is what rings true to you.

You hail from Houston, how would you say the city and surroundings have impacted on you as musicians and band either positively or negatively, if at all?

Houston is my home and I have many friends here but Texas is where I am from. Houston itself is a hell hole of grime and multi cultures. It’s like the New York of the south. One thing that it has provided for us is all the many flavors of culture. So it’s helped us be a little more diverse and not seem like hippie grass eaters from Austin or Pantera rednecks from Dallas. We love all the cities here we just love to talk shit too. It’s a Texas thing. Fun loving shit talking.

Is it a supportive metal scene there for new and emerging bands?vm

Texas can be the easiest and the roughest crowd anywhere you go. People don’t care about the bullshit politics of what kind of band you are. All the crowd wants is for you to play your hardest and get off stage and have a beer and talk to them like a real person. Everybody in Texas thinks about themselves as a rock star on or off stage. So the crowd doesn’t give a shit who you think you are. They wanna drink a beer with you.

You have a great reputation for your live performances and have played with the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC, the list goes on. Apart from great experience and recognition, what has playing with bands of this calibre brought to your own headlining shows now and in the future, again in a good or negative way?

From day one the bar has been set super high. More than 1/2 of the bands we have played with the members have been playing longer than I have been alive. The intimidation and self-consciousness got to a point of almost conquering me but I am not really one to fail. I will bite my own leg off to get out of a trap. So we had to really bear down and focus and stay out of the bar to figure out if we were gonna do this it’s gotta be all or nothing. But it was just a trial period. When things are forced to live up to a certain expectation after a while that’s just the level it becomes and then you get bored and you take it up a notch and up a notch and up a notch. It’s truly up to you if you ever want to stop progressing because the second you do. You can clearly hear it.

I sense you guys love the live side of the band intensely, more than the time and creative process involved in writing and recording new songs?

Our band is more than a band to us. It’s more like a cult. It’s taken over all of our lives and the wives of the band, but in a good way. It’s became something that brings us all together as people for birthdays, weddings, movie nights and just straight up weekend partying. Not everyone in the world still has the family they had when they were children but everyone needs a family whether they are blood or not. A band or anytime humans group together creativity and happiness should arise. so to answer your question yes this is way more than a band.

What has Venomous Maximus in store for the rest of the year and are we able to talk about a successor to Beg Upon The Light yet?

For the rest of year we are working on writing and recording the new record which will have videos, new line of merch, and a short film. We have a few shows sprinkled in the next couple months but we have worn ourselves thin so right now we are juggling our personal lives, writing and recording and planning most of next year.

Once again a big thanks for sparing time for us, anything you would like to say to the readers?

I wanna thank all the people that have taken their time to take a second glance at something and follow their gut when they feel that there’s a deeper meaning in things. If you ask the question is it going to happen to me that means it is and that’s the truth.

And finally what have been the five most potent inspirations on you musically or personally?

Music I would have to say Beethoven, Pink Floyd The Wall from 5th grade, The Crow and the Doors from 6th grade and for films that helped me get a visual for music. The lists can go on and on. I am the kinda of guy that’s good with lists. For some reason music from people who are sad or disturbed has always just made me happy. It’s the people who relish in superficial joys that make me angry and Kenneth Anger is the shit. Read books so you don’t have to wait

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

Read the Beg Upon The Light review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/venomous-maximus-beg-upon-the-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Venomous Maximus: Beg Upon The Light

VM Composite - Large

Released in North America last year, Beg Upon The Light the debut album of Texan Dark Occult Metal band Venomous Maximus gets its worldwide unleashing via Napalm Records, and a powerful deep mark it is sure to make. Ten tracks of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms alongside a web of potent irresistible grooves and an intensity which sweeps you off your feet, the album is an enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy wrapped in a classic metal inspired embrace. It and the band stand as a major stoner/doom clad player, their presence sure to be an inspiration to many.

The album follows their EP, The Mission of 2011, a release which set thoughts and appetite in strong motion with its promising start for a band which formed in 2010 and has since risen to be one of the most successful and important metal bands from Houston in recent years. Equally live the quartet has earned an enormous reputation  as they have lit up stages alongside the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC and many more. Now thrust into the faces of the full expanse of the globe Beg Upon The Light will take little time in persuading, one suspects, that it is one of those classic moments which defines a band and their presence in the ears of the world.

The ominous emotive keys opening up Funeral Queen instantly engage the imagination, the brewing darkly exotic atmosphere a 485 Venomous Maximusspark to devil spawned thoughts and challenging sonic caresses. As it closes the distant but distinct vocals of Gregg Higgins add their corruptive presence though his tones truly stand eye to eye with the listener at the beginning of the next up Path of Doom. His part spoken resonating tones provides here and across every song a glorious unique narrative which invites irresistibly the listener into the heart of the dark realms explored. From its opening crescendo of energy and potent sound the song prowls the senses with scorching flames from the guitars of Higgins and Christian Larson licking at the ear whilst Trevi Biles brings further menace with his bass lures. The track continues to roar and growl through to its thick and provocative conclusion, the band providing a sonic fire to eat at and ignite the senses.

From the immense start things only reach to another depth and plateau with firstly Give Up the Witch and then Father Time, the first of the pair a fresher version of a song from their first EP. Stroking the ear with sinew driven riffs and firm rhythms from drummer Bongo from its opening breath, the track is a primal contagion which incites the imagination and toys with the passions through spires of sonic wind and tumbling cascades of addiction causing rhythms whilst vocally again Higgins pulls us through an invocation of devilish mystique. It is a slice of compelling excellence soon matched by its atmospheric successor. With keys crafting the intriguing ambience a lone guitar colours thoughts with its emotive description whilst Higgins again paints the scene in his unique style. It is only a brief song but quite delicious as its sets up the climate for what is to follow.

Complete with bulbous beats and stalking rhythms the outstanding Dream Again (Hellenbach) is next to inflame the passions, its thick stoner fragrance a sizzling temptation within the uncompromising intensity and power of the track. Another major highlight of the release with grooves and sonic colours wrapping greedily around the listener, the song encapsulates every rich aspect of the individuals within Venomous Maximus, their absorbing songwriting and its invigorating burning realisation, and the union of everything into what surely is a major breakthrough into the echelons of metal for the band.

All through the exhausting Moonchild, the predacious Battle for the Cross, and the dramatic and antagonistic triumph that is Venomous Maximus, the album reinforces its riveting authority over the passions with inventive ease whilst Mother Milk is simply another emotionally conjured delight with strings providing a mesmeric melancholic cradling of the ear whilst quaint keys paint their equally suggestive hues. Quite stunning it is a masterful fascination leading into the final blaze of inventive ravishing, Hell’s Heroes, a lasting confrontation which sears and chews on the senses with rapacious riffs and rhythms veined by sonic radiance and vocal intimidation. Complete with more ridiculously contagious grooves it is a mighty end to a magnificent album.

Though lyrically you can question some of the ‘comic book’ like tales and the band does not break into many new arenas of invention with Beg Upon The Light, you will not have heard it before in the individual and thickly persuasive style as brought by Venomous Maximus. The album is an insatiable treat and one setting the band as a true force in world metal.

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

9/10

RingMaster 07/07/2013

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The Lumberjack Feedback – Hand of Glory

The Lumberjack Feedback 2013 - © Mathieu Drouet

Dramatic and compelling, the Hand of Glory EP from French instrumental metallers The Lumberjack Feedback is a masterful journey through cavernous shadows and depths, a tension packed encounter of doom and sludge metal. Consisting of two tracks lasting seventeen minutes between them, the EP is a stunning debut from the Lille based quintet, a provocative apocalyptic soundscape exploring its own darkness and that of the listener.

Consisting of the twin dual attacks of guitarists Simon Herbaut and Arnaud Silvert plus drummers Nicolas Tarridec and Christopher Poirier, with bassist Sebastien Tarridec adding his terrific presence into the mix, The Lumberjack Feedback has earned strong praise for their live performances which has seen them alongside bands such as Crowbar, Gojira, Kylesa, The Oxbow, Wolf Eyes, Spacemen 3, Grey Daturas, Acid King, and Hangman’s Chair. It will be their first release though which will undoubtedly set them as a potent fixture in the acclaim and vision of the widest audience such the power and creative might of the Kaotoxin Records released and Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Cathedral, EyeHateGod, Cattle Decapitation) produced EP.

Opening track A Whisper to the Thunder takes mere seconds to entice the ear with a guitar beckoning soon joined by that 760137002529_TOX025_The-Lumberjack-Feedback_Artwork_600x600-72hypnotic twin drum assault, their craft and temptation measured yet instantly enslaving. There is an energy and hunger to the beginning of the song which makes for a contagious sludge drenched call, riffs carving out a virulent persuasion whilst rhythms and bass define their own enthralling menace to combine for a primal seduction wrapped in a fluid evolution of imaginative and evocative melodic and sonic narrative. Thoughts of bands such as Neurosis and Sunn O))) come to mind but as the piece moves through a piercing sonic tunnel into a heavily weighted and rapaciously intensive dark doom landscape the sound takes on something distinctly unique to the band and visually provocative. The skies have a villainous hue over the track at this point as it lumbers purposefully with a predatory stalking and proceeds to claim any thoughts of escape as it climaxes with a simple but intrusive and lingering sonic breath.

It is an immense start soon matched and evolved further by second track The Dreamcatcher.  Again riveting rhythms from the drums make an earlier invitation which is instinctively impossible to resist, their sinews pacing along the developing wash of guitar brewed sonic mist and the continually thrilling bass provocation. As with its predecessor there is not theatrical invention or awe inspiring technical wizardry going on but the atmospheres and imagery spawning textures as well as melodic emotional painting being created by every skilful and clear but connecting aspect given clarity by each member is scintillating and impossibly powerful. The mesmeric stroll of the first third of the song comes to a point where the brewing climate entices an unleashing of intensive sonic flames and mutually fierce rhythms before flexing even further muscle in an even paced and exhausting investigation of its deepest corners and those of the listener too. The climatic conclusion to the piece towers over the senses, first marked by a flurry of striking punches before closing on one last enriching fire of intensity and sound, and leaves thoughts and passions suddenly alone within their own stark dark world.

Hand of Glory is an outstanding debut and release, but one which in some ways even at its length does not offer enough to really get the teeth into. This is because you only feel you are getting part of a much larger and incredible story or journey. Whether these are teasers to a full length time will tell but as impressive as it is the hunger and expectations on an album will be excited and demanding. The EP is a daunting adventure which inspires without ever using demanding intimidation and as such makes itself a must investigate introduction to a band we will be hearing much more of and one suspects fawning over in the future.

http://www.thelumberjackfeedback.com/

9/10

RingMaster 04/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Carving Greater Visions: and interview with Carl Whitbread from Lo!

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Australian noise violators Lo! made an impressive entrance upon the world two years ago with the release of their startling and riveting debut album Look And Behold, now the return with its successor Monstrorum Historia, a sonic beast of a release which took everything bred on the first album to new and scintillating heights whilst exploring greater expanses of invention. It is a corrosive tempest, a mesh of hardcore, black and crushing sludge, and prime metal which is ferocious and wonderfully exhausting. To catch up with the band and find out more about their new album we had the pleasure to talk with Carl Whitbread again.

Hi and welcome back to The RingMaster Review.

We last spoke about Lo! with you at the tail end of 2011 around the release of your debut Look And Behold. Bring us up to date to what has happened with the band since, apart from creating another thrilling titan in the shape of the excellent Monstrorum Historia.

Since the release of ‘Look and Behold’, we’ve been playing around Aus as much as possible. We’ve been really lucky to get a lot of international supports here including Doomriders, Eyehategod, Burning Love, Russian Circles and Rosetta. We have also just finished a 25 day European tour with The Ocean and Cult of Luna which has been the experience of a lifetime!

How would you say your sound and adventure has evolved between albums?

The first album was mostly written and recorded by myself at home before any members even joined the band. Once we had established our current line-up, we tweaked the demos and added a couple more tracks and that became ‘Look and Behold’. This time round, we had obviously been playing together for over 3 years, so we were more of a ‘real band’ and knew each other much better as musicians and friends. The rough foundation for most of the songs were still written by me but there was input from everyone this time round which I think really helped push us further into our own sound.

Was there anything you learned making Look And Behold which you took into the recording of Monstrorum Historia to help make its creation smoother or gave it a particular flame inventively?

Well to be honest simply recording Monstrorum properly in a studio as a band was a massive improvement over the way we did ‘Look and Behold’. That album was thrown together in bits and pieces over a long period of time, things were recorded separately, drums were added over demos, vocals were done at 3 different locations etc., so it was a very non-tradition way of doing things. This time everything was done all at once so it was a much more ‘organic’ process and I think that showed in the final result.

Your sound has always been varied and pushing its limits but Monstrorum Historia takes that to another level whilst still having 480910_10151509927407732_1756219004_na presence which is distinctly Lo!; Was there any particular intent or aim musically when writing the new release in that area?

There was never any particular aim, just to write songs that flowed well and sounded good. We didn’t want to stray too far from what we had already established, but at the same time, step our sound up a to ‘second album standard’. It was a bit of a balancing act but thankfully it seemed to come pretty easily to us.

Lo And Behold set a certain benchmark for your songwriting and sound which the new album has raised to another level, but did that early success and creative plateau give you any extra personal pressure when it came to this new release?

It certainly did. The ‘Look and Behold’ songs had been written so long ago, and at a time before the band even existed, so there was a casualness to the whole song writing process. Now as an established band with a release under our belt, we definitely wondered if we’d be able to step up what we had already done, especially as there was a really short time period to get the songs written. One thing we were very aware of during the whole process is not making the songs sound rushed or just thrown together – we even ended up scrapping a couple that just didn’t seem to have the ‘Lo!’ vibe.

Did you approach the songs and recording of Monstrorum Historia differently to its predecessor then?

The song writing was pretty similar to ‘Look and Behold’- most of it was written and demoed at home. The main difference was this time there was a great deal of input from everyone. We all worked together in shaping the final result. As mentioned before, the recording process was more traditional this time and a lot of it was tracked together live. When it came to sound, we tried getting everything sounding the way we wanted from the start, instead of relying on too many mixing tricks.

Once more you explore dark corners and shadows with your songs, breeding a sonic antagonism and caustic wash which is as enthralling as it is intrusive. Do you closely sculpt the balance between both types of affects or does it naturally emerge as you bring songs to fruition?

It feels like a pretty natural process to me, but I guess that comes with time and experience and having a range of musical tastes and influences. There’s always some conscious thought about the balancing act, and we’re always aware not to stray too far from our sound, but it never feels forced.

Your most ferocious collection of songs to date would you agree?

Definitely. I think we just rolled with the vibe a bit more on this album and let the songs be what they should be. I also think the contribution of everyone this time led to a more ferocious sound, especially in the drum department. On the first album, Adrian was playing more or less what I had written, but this time as we wrote together he really let loose. Lot’s more double kick and blast beats \m/

Is there a particular moment or feel within Monstrorum Historia which gives you the strongest satisfaction?

Everything about it gives me satisfaction, haha. The fact that we wrote and recorded the whole thing in about 4 months, in amongst jobs / wives / girlfriends / kids, was a massive achievement (albeit a stressful one!). I also have a soft spot for the intro track ‘As Above’… the first half of that song was actually written for a trailer for an Australian horror series, but got rejected. I had always really liked it and thought it would make the perfect intro to this album, so I’m glad it got to see the light of day.

loTell us about instrumental Haven, Beneath Weeping Willows, a piece of music which for us provides a rapacious canvas for evolving imagery and thoughts to explore and be inspired by. What was the story behind it and its aural narrative?

This piece of music was the last song written for Monstrorum. I felt the album needed a bit of breathing space in the form of a quieter track. I had that bass riff lying around for a while which I hadn’t used for anything so we basically jammed it out in the recording studio and all the layers built up from there. We also got in our good friend and fellow drummer Ben Ellingworth to help out with the extra percussion pieces.

Once again also there are mischievous shadows within the album as with your last; is this a particular Australian trait of character do you think as you seem not alone amongst artists from down under in having that kind of humour in their music.

I think it’s very hard to grow up in Australia and not approach everything you do with a bit of humor, no matter how seriously you take things. That’s what we love the most about Australia. Everyone can completely take the piss out of themselves, but still do really awesome shit at the same time.

Tell us about your upcoming tour.lo2

We’re about to head around the east coast of Aus to promote the album. We’re bringing High Tension along with us – an amazing band from Melbourne who plays ballsy Mark of Cain style rock with a crazy screaming female singer. We also have killer supports in each city too.

Any plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond ready to be revealed yet?

Nothing set in stone yet, we’d like to possibly release a 7″ later in the year, and hopefully we can get back over to Europe!

Many thanks for taking time to talk with us again, and good luck with the tour etc. Any final thoughts you would like to unleash?

Cheers for the interview Pete, always a pleasure!

www.lookandbehold.net

Read the Monstrorum Historia review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/lo-monstrorum-historia/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mammoth Mammoth: Vol: III Hell’s Likely

   

    Wonderfully bruising and insatiably riotous Australian rockers Mammoth Mammoth are primed to ignite the world in a furious and unapologetic dirty brawl of rock n roll. The quartet has taken their homeland by storm and with the release of the second album, Vol: III Hell’s Likely, are poised to set about the rest of the world and it is hard to think of what is going to stop them after all it only took the first third of the opening song on the album to make us life time enlistees in their mischief.

Released on Napalm Records, Vol: III Hell’s Likely is the first official introduction for Europe and the world, unleashing seven new songs (eight for the vinyl version with an extra exclusive track on not on the CD) as well as including the extra bonus of tracks from their 2008 debut self-titled EP, another five raw and equally thumping encounters, on all formats. The album does not exactly bring anything new to the table but whips up familiar sounds into incendiary and flavoursome new confrontations to fall in league with. The tracks are riff driven, like a thunderous juggernaut whose driver never touches the wheel with hands which are busy creating alternative hungry conjurations, but remains unerringly direct and deliberate in intent and ferocity.  Their sound as mentioned is unbridled rock n roll which comes with extra lashings of punk and stoner rock, the band at times sounding like the middle finger of a union between  Motorhead, Eyehategod, Trucker Diablo, and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. It is immediately persuasive and with ease have senses and emotions rampaging as eagerly as the sounds inciting them.

Consisting of vocalist Mikey Tucker, guitarist Ben Couzens, bassist Pete Bell, and Frank Trobbiani on drums, the band has built up a massive reputation for their sounds and explosive live shows which alongside their well-received EP and first album Mammoth in 2009, has placed them as one of the hottest and impressive rock bands in Australia. Whether they replicate that beyond their home borders time will tell but it is hard to imagine the Melbourne band failing to make a major impression.

The song Hells Likely opens up the feast of energy and merciless riffing and as stated earlier was no slouch in immediately picking up new fans for the band. It is an adrenaline fuelled sonic eighteen wheeler with no regard for the use of breaks apart just slowing slightly for a ‘melodic corner’. To be honest there is not a lot to point out on the song, it is all about the riffs with equally compulsive punk vocals and storming harmonies adding their own badgering intent. There is not much else within the song to deviate it from its focused path and it is simply glorious, just how uncomplicated compelling rock music should be.

The following Go next fuses some sinewy hard rock to a slight stoner air whilst still offering a core of breath taking riffs and undiluted energy. It is not the ferocious storm of its predecessor but is still an equally impacting creation of melodic scarring and slamming rhythms alongside greedy riffs. The scorched solo and sonic display of Couzens adds extra spice to the deeply satisfying track, and arguably though it does not go anywhere new there are no complaints available when it is nevertheless so rewarding.

The coarse punk onslaught of Bare Bones adds another pleasing variation whilst (Up All Night) Demons to Fight and Sitting Pretty both offer a blues lilt especially in the second of the two. Whilst neither live up to the earlier rampant songs both leave one enthused and eagerly compliant with their contagion. Listening to them you can imagine some people focusing on the fact that again there is nothing truly unique about the tracks  and release, and they are arguably right but ignoring that the band just satisfies every other element and demand you can ask of a rock band, Mammoth Mammoth short changes nobody.

Rivalling the opener for best track is I Want It Too, a track setting free an irresistible sonic wasp of a groove which if anything could have brought an even deeper sting within the squalling fuzzy guitar sonics and irrepressible riffs. Nevertheless the classic rock soaked song is as persistent as it is sharply crafted and again leaves one breathless at its sonically corrosive departure.

Closing with the excellent Danzig touching shadow crawling Bury Me the album is a real treat and set to bring the band to wide attention. The bonus tracks suffer production wise and pale against the album, but all and in particular Let’s Roll, Slacker, and the outstanding The Bad Oil provide further welcome pleasures to devour. Rock  music has never been hungrier thanks to bands like Mammoth Mammoth, time for us all to join their rampage.

http://www.mammothmammoth.com

RingMaster 29/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Obelyskkh: White Lightnin’

Creating slabs of majestic and impactful thunderous doom/sludge metal with the riches of stoner and classic metal oozing from every breath, White Lightnin’ from German metalers Obelyskkh is a mighty and formidable release which ignites primal and deep pleasures within. It is an oppressive weighty avalanche of sonic manipulation with a leaden presence firing up satisfaction and increased adrenaline.

Formed in 2008, Obelyskkh was initially just a vehicle for the ideas of guitarist Torsten (ex- The Walruz and Vs. The Stillborn-Minded), to be explored alongside his friend Adi. It was never the intention to make it a fully operational band but as the addition of Steffen of seminal German stoner rock band Desert Sun joined first on bass before moving to drums and then multi-instrumentalist David on bass, things took off especially in 2011 which saw the release of the well received debut album Mount Nysa which sold out within three weeks of its introduction to the world via now defunct German label Droehnhaus. Alongside this the band found interest in them go viral on the web as from the seed of a 2-minutes live footage cut on Youtube, the band was inundated with interest and offers  from promoters in Germany and other European countries leading the band to an exhaustive time of clubs and festivals appearances. Recorded with Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Eyehategod, High On Fire, Melvins) and released via Exile On Mainstream, the new album is now set to place the band to the fore of the thoughts and lips of all genre and metal fans, with its white hot sonic invention and intensive caustic beauty an impressive rub.

The album opens with the deeply mesmeric and senses burning instrumental The Enochian Keys, a piece of composing to scar and blister whilst igniting raptures. The track teases and provokes the ear with a restrained yet greedy groove and smoking guitar riffing as incendiary as the heated ambience wrapping each and every note.

From the deeply magnetic charms of the starter the following Elegy is a more methodical lumbering beast of a track, its intensity as weighty as its elements are raw and abrasive. The guitars scrape flesh with their sonic acidic tones throughout with additional flares of sharp melodic rock enterprise sparking at times whilst the bass and drums powerfully frame the thick tar like atmosphere which envelopes from the start. The vocals add further depth to the track with their guttural urging alongside muscular group harmonies making for another weapon to the malevolent dirge like assault.

The great start is built upon and furthered with the excellent title track and the likes of Mount Nysa and Amphetamine Animal. All in their varied ways a blistering upon the senses through incessant taunts of oppressive might and ear rupturing sounds. The vocal harmonies of the title track are a highlight of the song with their almost Pixies like discord whilst the other pair add a psychedelic progressive lined consumption and corruptive malevolence respectively to the album. The latter is a disturbed maelstrom of constricting intrusions and flailing sonic venom which steals the honours on the whole release, its nasty insidious presence a glorious destruction.

Completed by the ravenous crawl of Abysmal Desert Cavern and the unhinged Invocation To The Old Ones with its wonderful bedlam of textures, atmospheres and sounds, White Lightnin’ is one of the most impressive doom/sludge releases this year. It is a venomous feast which offers another poison and distressing companionship with each listen. Though probably not an album to rest easily within every ear it and Obelyskkh themselves, are one of the most satisfying experiences within the musical year to date.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObelyskkhRitual

RingMaster 09/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fuck Hammer: Hammered To Fuck

As subtle as a house brick between the eyes and at times just as painful, Fuck Hammer is a quartet from Northern Ireland who twist their brand of death metal into a grind, crust, and sludge veined corruption. It takes no prisoners nor wants to make friends, but just consumes and blasts every atom, with venom and festering intensity.

Hammered To Fuck is the first EP from Fuckhammer and was originally self released as a limited quantity CDR. The release found a great response and reviews within the local scene and caught the attention of the young Northern Ireland death metal label, Grindscene Records who has now given it a professional re-release. Musically it is a pit of noise with flavours from the likes of Crowbar, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, and Carcass. The production is not the best it could have been but offers a rawness which adds to the violating tempest which assaults from every angle whilst the sound, as well as the vocals, brings an abrasive consumption with no respite.

The opening Born Of The Ass immediately goes to work on the senses with a delicious greedy groove which winds and grinds its way deeper and deeper.  As the bile spewing serpentine vocals come in the riffs flare up before returning to that persistent destructive groove. The song in many ways is repetitive but it works great and to be honest when the track does venture slightly away from its sonic shaft one wants that irresistible groove back to rub the wounds it caused even more. The track, like the whole release, does not have any designs to restyle or invent its core sounds but just unleashes the intent to wring every essence from them for the best results.

The following Drone mixes things up with flurries of tempos, beats, and crunching riffs. The twists and turns all brought with the fullest intensity make for two minutes which do not reflect the title at all but still offer a thick sludge oppression to admire. The guitars and drums crush and dispose of any obstacles within the senses with undeniable strength and craft so for even in its brief assault the song is a thunderous enjoyable confrontation.

The remaining Hillbillies and Abortion Addict vary things again, the first with a stoner swagger to its death spawn vocals and conspiracy of insatiable grooves and thrash tinted riffage, whilst the second is a grindcore/death metal avalanche of towering riffs and abusive rhythms. Their hunger is different in intensity too with Hillbillies chewing on the senses with a southern greed and incestuous appetite whilst its successor gnaws and consumes with a rabid vehemence, the release again creating a varied violation to be endured and ultimately enjoyed.

Fuck Hammer is a band still in its informative years musically one feels and as such Hammered To Fuck is not drenched in any really distinct originality, its sounds heard elsewhere though dished up in a different and energized way. Vocally too some diversity would have been a good additive. The delivery and spiteful aggression works well for the most part but do diminish and distract from the effect of some aspects of sound like the tighter grooved parts without a complimentary variation.

For all that though the EP is an enjoyable release giving plenty of promise for the band and an anticipation of what will emerge when they are given access to a proper studio and production set up.

www.myspace.com/fuckkhammer

RingMaster 30/08/2012

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