Dark Century – Murder Motel

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A release which can just as easily raise a wide grin as it can an urge to go violate something, Murder Motel is an exhaustive and exhilarating corruption from a band clad in imposing and compelling devilry. Dark Century comes with a potent buzz behind them and their new album easily reveals why as it ignites ears, imagination, and a greedy appetite for their fusion of death, thrash, grind with a viciously healthy course of hardcore. It is a release which has plenty in it to feed expectations but also comes with a just as rich soak of originality to thrust The Canadian quintet into a spotlight of its own.

Formed in 2001 by guitarist Martin Gendreau, Dark Century has built an impressive reputation and presence over the years around Montreal and beyond. It is a time sign-posted by their excellent and well-received debut album Days of the Mosh as well as a live presence which has seen them alongside the likes of Aborted, Misery Index, Quo Vadis, Rose Funeral, Exhumed, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Goatwhore, Origin, The Faceless, Battlecross, Fuck the Facts and many more as well as light up numerous festivals. With a new line-up Dark Century return with their monstrously towering new incitement, an album which puts the band on a new plateau. Produced by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy, Mythosis, Erimha, The Agonist, Derelict, Neuraxis) with Gendreau, Murder Motel is a storming onslaught from start to finish, a ravenous bestial proposition veined by incessantly riveting imagination and unpredictable twists.

     In Our Veins starts things off and is soon careering through the same network of the listener with riffs grazing every surface they can find and rhythms voraciously pummelling the senses. It is a ferocious start which aided by the raw thrust of the vocals and that rhythmic tsunami, only intensifies its assault the further into its destructive arms you sink. Drummer Steve Burns is exceptional from the off but also is the stringed ravishment from Gendreau whilst the slightly varied and excellent caustic tones of vocalist Leather King and the predatory bass incitement of Francis Lafrenière equally steal their share of attention and acclaim.

The fine start hits another gear with the following title track where again a mere breath is taken before a disorientating rhythmic assault and bass grilling consumes the senses. Little time passes neither before a swagger and violent swing to the track wraps its irresistible temptation around a by now rampant appetite, the track lurching over and provoking the emotions with mischievous designs and violent intent. Here as with a few songs there is something familiar to the proposal offered but it only eases the accessibility of the track for the eagerly offered passions. The solo from Erik Fernet-Evans is a plume of intrigue and drama to colour further the potent canvas of the song as it drifts away at its end for Torticolis to seize its portion of attention. Rabid and intensively imposing, the track grips with carnal intent and flesh savaging sounds, its breath toxic and riffery a torrential assault driven harder by the severity of the Burns’ rhythmic spite.

Knees might already be buckling at this point and senses cowering in fear but hunger for more is insatiable and fed healthily by the brief but intensive predation of Ice Breaker and the fearsome rage of new single Kill The Crowd. The latter’s touch is as violent and scarring as anything heard before on the album but is aligned to a masterful persuasion of heavy metal coaxing and hardcore ravaging. Add the irresistible swinish grind twists and vocals plus the teasing cowbell, as well as the horde chants and you have another irrepressible capture of thoughts and emotions, but one exceeded even more by the brilliant Dead Birds. It is one of those addictions impossible to shrug off with the track from its anthemic rhythmic entrance stamping its authority over ears and excitement, crowding and preying on the senses with primal riffs and vocal voracity. It is just one of the structures ready to subjugate the passions, a heavy intensity laden consumption taking its sizeable portion of the adventure under its control just as firmly as the underlying but easily detectable excitable grooves have their appealing say.

   The four second Trio du Bûcheron comes next and there really is little to say about it. Neither working as an intro nor making any impact being so short, it is just there before both Cholestérol and Chloroforme cast their severity over ears. The first is another merciless gorging of the senses with piggish vocals, hellish rhythms, and a sonic weave of skilled enterprise igniting the otherwise pleasing if underwhelming song, in comparison to previous maelstroms. Its successor is similar in its presence, formidable and undeniably impressively crafted but failing to spark the same rapture. Nevertheless both keep band and album in solid control before the closing pair of firstly Mosh Test Dummies and the closing Gore On My Snare ensnare ears to inflame responses all over again. The first of the final two initially stalks and stares venomously at its recipient, its approach reserved but only for a deceptive moment as the song soon uncages its sinews and rigorous ingenuity to smother and savage all before its predatory strides. Its companion is pure blistering barbarity, everything from riffs to rhythms and vocals to creativity a masterclass of bloodlusting malevolence. It is demanding physically and emotionally making a scintillating conclusion to a tremendous provocation.

The album comes with recommendations that fans of bands such as Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Hatebreed, and Annihilator will get a hot flush from Murder Motel, but we suggest anyone with a lust for inventive and revelling extreme metal will find Dark Century a new best friend.

The self–released Murder Motel is available now @ http://darkcentury.bandcamp.com/album/murder-motel

www.DarkCentury.ca

9/10

RingMaster 19/04/2014

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Insurrection – Prototype

Insurrection - High Press Photo

Though not exactly an album breaking in new ground, Prototype the new album from Canadian metallers Insurrection, is a rather decent slab of creative death metal which certainly in its company makes for a pleasing and adventurous experience.  Whether it offers and holds enough to capture the memory away from its brutal touch is yet to be proven, as after numerous exploits within its tempestuous walls tracks have still to emerge as lingering accomplices to thoughts and passions beyond its departure, but side by side stalking its ravenous scenery and intent Prototype makes a quite satisfying persuasion.

Formed in 2003 by vocalist Stef Jomphe and guitarist Martin Samson, Insurrection built a strong reputation initially in the local underground scene evolving to be a strong force in Canadian metal in general. Their technically carved rapacious metal has earned the band a potent fan base which 2009 debut album Prologue and its successor Fracture the following year pushed further afield outside their homeland. Now with the Topon Das (Fuck The Facts) produced Prototype and its death metal predation, you can only feel that the band will be widening their presence further even if the album seems a little bit like a lost opportunity, the release failing to really go for the jugular as its body potentially suggests.

Released via Quebec label Galy Records, the album introduces itself through the industrial crafted intro Overprocessed, an ok lure which Album Cover - Insurrection - Prototypesets the scene before the gripping Abattoir launches its malevolence. Grooved riffs and a carnivorous bass growl leap through the ears from the first full track whilst the rhythmic battering from drummer Philippe Moreau Latreille shows little respect for restraint or predictable enterprise. It is a captivating start which only grips tighter as the vocals of Jomphe scowl and graze the narrative with a strong presence and the guitars of Samson and Vincent Laprade Séguin cast an intriguing and exciting web of sonic mystery and enjoyment.

It is an appealing strike soon matched by The Chronophobes, a track which twists and turns with imagination to secure full attention with its inventiveness. As previously suggested, away from its temptation it is hard to bring a groove or hook back into focus but inside its storm with the bass of Francis Girard a moody bestial provocateur, the track is a formidable encounter just like its successor Checkmate, a fury of a track which blazes away with creative spite and scorching adventure to songwriting and its realisation. There is undeniably across song and album a compelling ingenuity to the structure and sound of tracks, a rhythmic bait and sonic temptation which is never prone to predictability or taking easy routes to achieve its intent, but again there is a lack of that killer element or potent enticement which lingers and infiltrates the imagination long term.

One of many great things about the album is the mix of English and French sung batterings upon the senses, the mix adding extra pleasing flavour and texture as shown through the likes of Sueurs Froides, where the bass of Girard reaches into its primal depths to forge a rabid predatory voice to its sound, and the virulently swarming Trois Minutes De Carnage, the track a magnetic pestilence with senses licking grooves and acidic enticement around thumping rhythmic incitement commanding the emotions and imagination.

The album seems to raise its heights from here on in, starting with Archetype. The track leads the passions into a ferocious sonic squalling which is perfectly honed and crafted to wrap the ears in a riveting entanglement of enterprise and aggressive causticity making its company irresistible. It is a thrilling lift to the album which is only one step as the title track next shows, the song similarly gaited and structured to thrust the listener on a raging yet calculated contagious scourge. The technical skill of the band once again grips attention whilst the bass voice and similarly grilling vocals brings the appetite an intensive hunger even if again the track misses creating something irreversibly addictive.

Completed by the rigorously engaging They Rise, a track which takes time to burn its venom into thoughts but emerges as a certain highlight of the album and the outstanding Bruits Sans Fin with its rampaging snarl and vindictive ingenuity, Protypte is an impressively accomplished and satisfying onslaught. It may have a lack of weaponry or the claws to retain its place in thoughts and passions away from its lures, something you can only feel as it plays with the senses were lurking in the shadows, but it is a release you can easily recommend as a doorway into the growing presence of Insurrection.

www.InsurrectionMetal.com

7/10

RingMaster 16/10/2013

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Chariots of The Gods: Tides of War

Chariots of the Gods -Tides of War official (group)

     Exploding out from the depths of the underground, Tides of War the debut album from Canadian metallers Chariots of The Gods, is quite simply sensational, a metal album of the highest order. It offers no indulgency or pretences to mislead on paper or aurally, but openly knows what it is good at and delivers those aspects with a passion and force which few other bands certainly recently have matched. Fusing diverse textures and sounds from melodic metal, thrash, and death, their music and album is simply a tour de force of metal.

Formed in 2007 by guitarist Mathieu St-Amour alongside bassist Christian Methot and guitarist Christian Carrière, the Ottawa band grew into a quintet with the addition of drummer Rich O’Neil and vocalist Renaud Jobin. Soon impressing live, the band released to very strong responses their Reverence EP in 2010. The release pushed them onto another level locally and sparked better opportunities live for the band, though the end of the same year going into the next saw the departure of Methot and Carrière. Moving forward though Chariots of the Gods brought in long-time friend and guitarist Dimitri Gervais and bassist Payam Doryani and set about laying waste with their towering sound. The band has bruised stages alongside the likes of Misfits, Voivod, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Misery Index, Martyr, Fuck the Facts, Blackguard, Neuraxis, and The Agonist, over the years and now burst into the world with their triumphant first full length release.

The Glen Robinson (Gwar, Annihilator, Queensryche, Voivod) produced album is a thrilling tempest of insatiable riffs, rhythms Tides of War - Cover - High Reswhich make demands no one should be forced to take but do willingly, and deliciously confrontational vocals. Spread throughout there is also a melodic and sonic enterprise which burns like an invigorating furnace and combined the result is one of the most impressive metal albums in recent years. Self released, Tides of War immediately from its dramatic and compelling opening instrumental Overture has a hold over the ear and thoughts. It is brief yet the perfect atmospheric lure into the epic intensity and drive of the album starting with the ravaging Seventh Weapon. The first seconds consists of thumping beats and sizzling guitar twists around the ear before expelling a ferocious breath through the squalling scowls of Jobin and an avalanche of rhythms. Now settled into its fearsome charge the track towers over the senses with the intensity and expansive reach of a storm. Across its bristling sinews and colossal breath, the track unleashes a whip lash triggering attack from O’Neil, exceptional and fiery melodic persuasion from the guitars of St-Amour and Gervais, and an irresistible raptorial vocal devouring.

As in the first full song, Blind Assassin reveals the prowling might of bassist Doryani; it is not always an aspect with as much clarity as the other elements but removed would undoubtedly leave a big gaping hole and when the heavily consuming notes find clarity of voice, the songs just bulge with impressive shadows. The third track is a less forceful entity than its predecessor with a sonic elegance which lays rough caresses over the ear, though it is not lacking any demanding spirit or heart either. It arguably pales a little against the previous track but outshines so many efforts from other artists.

Each and every track is immense and in varying degrees offers hints of the influences which vein the sound. Within the likes of Ambrosian Wings, the Russian Revolution inspired pair of the crushing Revillusion (1905) and the voracious Severing the Bloodline (1917), and the violently smouldering Red Skies, as examples, essences of the likes of In Flames, Norther, Testament, Lamb of God, and August Burns Red are apparent and add extra spice to the rich sonic menu of the band. As to be expected some songs reach the highest pinnacles and the biggest highlights on Tides of War come firstly with the title track. It is a thunderous rampage of sizzling guitar magnetism and invention driven by again the tumultuous and outstanding rhythms of O’Neil.  It is the perfect blend of aggression and melodic persuasion which chews up the senses whilst treating them to a fine dining of sonic imagination. Further lofty heights come with the senses grasping and obliterating Collapse of an Empire with its delicious spearing flames of melodic intrigue, and the corrosive and glorious Unbound which also features Aleksi Sihvonen from Norther.

The album is not just intensity and brawling aggression though as to perfectly break up the onslaught there are a couple of compelling instrumentals in the enthralling shapes of Snow Falls On The White River (1914) and Nebula, both beautiful pieces of music in their very different guises and far from interludes and fillers.

Tides of War is an exceptional creative ambush for the heart with a rage of the fullest rewards and an expressive depth of unbridled undiluted metal. You may not have heard of Chariots of The Gods before now but that is sure to change very soon as their album is exposed to the wider world.

http://www.chariotsofthegods.net/

RingMaster 29/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Great Sabatini: Matterhorn

The new EP from Canadian grind metalers The Great Sabatini leaves a dirty big permanent indentation on the senses and psyche that is as welcome as it is destructive and intrusive. Matterhorn is no release to get your quick fix of infectious and undemanding pleasures from for it is a crippling, desensitising, and cruel intrusion that is far more rewarding and extensively satisfying. The EP leaves one grasping for a safety point, a ledge to use for some resemblance of security but the  eight tracks that make up the release only whip  away the balance and sure footing time and time again. It is not an easy listen but it deeply exhilarating and worth every single violation it delights in swamping its recipients with.

Formed in 2007 the Montreal quartet of Steve, Sean, Rob, and Joey (Sabatini) create sounds that have found themselves drenched in or pulled from the combined might of grindcore, math metal, sludge, noise rock, and progressive metal. They then twist them into a precise yet seemingly chaotic and openly oppressive dehabilitating corruption or as they call it and themselves, “swamp trench arithmetic.” Their first year saw the release of their debut EP Burning Wilderness and plenty of shows plus a coast to coast Canadian tour the following year, early evidence of the band work ethic. First album Sad Parade of Yesterdays arrived late 2009 supported by a North America tour, the band all the while picking up a formidable underground following and acclaim. Over the past years they have supported the likes of Coliseum, Today is the Day, Fuck the Facts, Threat Signal, Psyopus, and Bionic gaining further momentum if not yet the breakthrough their sounds deserve. The 7” single Napoleon Sodomite of last year accompanied what is an insatiable gigging regime the band seems to have but it is with Matterhorn that one feels they might at last find their deserved place in the attention and thoughts of the bigger musical world to stand nearer to the likes of Unsane, Today Is The Day, Botch and Converge.

Released through No List Records, Matterhorn attaches itself to the ear with rumbling riffs and a predatory bass in the opening City Limits. Soon it sidesteps in pace and tone into a caustic and intimidating questioning of the senses. It is a thick and muggy assault that takes its time like a jabbing boxer, finding the weak spot and bruising it with a towering intensity and seismically sonic probing. The vocals are coarse and intrusive to combine with the not so much brutal but heavily demanding sounds.

Zacios follows with again an opening fingering and teasing of the already inflicted wounds. Once inside it quickens its energy with concussive rhythms and a groove that winds tighter and tighter around its victim. It is raw with the baritone bass licking its lips as it prowls the song and the guitars cutting through with direct and intrusive melodic acidity. Nothing is clear cut in sound or intent with everything coated in feedback and filth dripping distortion but nor is it impossible to hear and enjoy the individual elements that make up the tsunami of intensity, the production perfectly appreciative and understanding of the sound.

The band throws one off kilter a little with Invisible Door, or rather lulls one into a sense of relief with its ambient soothing and beautiful yet disturbed atmosphere. With an emotive piano leading the way with estranged sampled voices and a marvellous distressed sax in the background the song takes one to a back street world, a place of shadows which then suddenly lurch out from the brilliant Null And Void. The song is the highlight of the release, muscular, threatening and opposingly vibrant, the track a persistent aggressor that leaves a breathless and grinning wasted wreck in its wake.

The closing duo of songs Wagons and Sad Parade of Yesterdays finish things up just as impressively. The first introduces itself with an ethnic like beckoning before expanding into a scorched mesh of incisively cutting guitars and overwhelming impactful energy. The closing ten minute Sad Parade of Yesterdays is the most impressive if not the favourite on Matterhorn. The track reflects the EP title in its massive heights of quality and invention from the band. The most progressive and stirringly open song it brings all the impressive elements of the band to a full and breathtaking journey.

Matterhorn is accompanied by free digital release The Royal We EP produced by Topon Das of Fuck the Facts which offers more of the same excellent and challenging sounds. The Great Sabatini takes your senses and thoughts to leave them floundering, whimpering and enthralled not to mention deeply satisfied.

RingMaster 21/04/2012

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Beaten To Death – Xes And Strokes

PARAMEDICS!!!!!!!!

Can there ever be a more apt name for a band than for Norwegian grindcore abusers Beaten To Death. From the moment the first blasted note rifles up the artillery to the wasted devastation left by the end of the crushingly intense experience their name is exactly how one feels. Brutal, relentless and completely vindictive Xes And Strokes shows no mercy but and a big but, Beaten To Death offer much more beneath their avalanche of crippling intent to make a debut album that hits that deliciously tender sweet spot, well it is tender after this quintet has finished.

Beaten to Death consisting of vocalist Anders Bakke (She Said Destroy), guitarists Martin Rygge and Tommy Hjelm  (both from Insense), drummer Christian “Bartender” Svendsen (Tsjuder, The Cumshots), and bassist Mika Martinussen, is far removed from the members ‘day jobs’, replacing the mighty technical intensity of Insense and She Said Destroy with no holds grindcore punishment. As mentioned the band does not just numb the senses but they also tease and tantalise them beneath their assault with scorched melodies and distracting grooves. Xes And Strokes is a ferocious maelstrom of venomous aggression, obliterating riffs, and incapacitating intensity, it is chaotic and often seemingly undefined but scrutiny and repeat plays shows it is carefully and wonderfully structured without detriment to its instinctive raw energy. Though merely nineteen minutes long across its nine tracks the release is a stunning violation veined with irresistible hooks and warped riffs.

Pointless Testament’ throws the first kick to the guts with an arsenal of unrepentant cruel riffs, senses battering rhythms and a beckoning groove, its brief stay leading into the brilliant ‘Winston Churchill’. A toxic bassline fuels the track as scorched guitars scythe across the ear and the bile spewing vocals rupture everything in sight. Already one knows what they are going to get but at the same time are thrown plenty of unpredictable elements and surprising moves. Fusing the likes of Brutal Truth, Fuck The Facts, and Down I Go, the sound is wonderfully excruciating at times and in other moments veined with siren like distorted melodies that make the whole experience blissful.

A Rolling Stones like groove that permeates the blistering heaviness of ‘On Running’ and the rebellious spiteful melodies that spike the impressive ‘3-2-1, It´s On!’ give two more diverse and rewarding bittersweet tracks to concrete the growing knowledge of how fine an album Beaten To Death has unleashed. Often with grindcore releases tracks blend into each other, their brief and violent stays indistinguishable due to the unrelenting speed they are thrust forth. With Xes And Strokes that is never a factor, yes most of the songs barely touch two minutes and pummel to equal merciless effect but each offers something varied and clear beneath the sonic war they rage to keep the album intriguing and fresh.

Xes And Strokes is bestial and nasty, malicious in the extreme but the likes of the flesh stripping ‘Cat Olympics’, the excellent ‘Groundhog Day’ with its itchy melodies and scathing bass sound, and the irresistibly acidulous title track just destroy and feed the senses to the equal effect.  The album is painfully raw and viscerally hostile but its corrosive intensity is tempered by those mesmeric, at times mischievous grooves and melodies. This is a must have for all grindcore fans especially if you are looking for a different take on the genre.

RingMaster 30/01/2012

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Fuck The Facts – Die Miserable

The best word for Die Miserable the new album from Canadian metalers Fuck The Facts is schizophrenic and gloriously so. The release goes for the throat with a ferocity that is beyond primal and deeply threatening but delivered in an almost fractured sonic frenzy of varied abrasive flavours littered with extreme metal, grindcore, punk and much more. Fuck The Facts defy any labelling except to tag them as one of the most senses searing intense bands around.

Released via Relapse Records, Die Miserable is a disturbing maelstrom of aural violence and destruction that leaves the head squealing in submission and senses as molten drips on the floor. Challenging and consuming the album and its punishing elements do not just grab tightly they slice slithers of resistance from the listener to swing triumphantly around the ear with boastful pride.

Opening track ‘Drift’ creeps in with taunting ominous waves of sound, building up the suspense before exploding into incessant acidic riffs scorching and scarring every sense they can find. The track is glorious if painful, guitars attack with venom and rhythms batter with the darkest intent. On top of this already unstoppable blissful intensity there are the fearsome blistering vocals of Melanie Mongeon, her delivery and voice as caustic and intrusive as heard anywhere from man or women. 

From this stunning start the album simply piles on more of its awesome and distressing might from the sonically intensive and calculated cruel grooves of ‘Cold Hearted’, through the colossus that is ‘Census Blank’ with its beckoning taunting intro of incessant flesh ripping grooves leading to an initial male growled death metal vocal, to the opening sombre beginning emotive touch of ‘Alone’ and its eventual twisted vehement fuelled onslaught, the release pistol whips the senses and ear. Beneath the unbridled aggression there is some impressive and infectious invention going on if at times it is lost beneath the wall of hellacious noise. Bassist Marc Bourgon is supreme throughout offering some of the mightiest and darkest bass lines and riffs to digest alongside the often discordant and always viciously creative guitars of Topon Das and Johnny Ibay. Driven by the inspirational and jaw dropping drums skills of Mathieu Vilandré the tracks blister and engage in equal painful measure. Though the aggression and sonic explosion that is Fuck The Facts’ unique music one can feel various spices coming from afar such as symphonic metal and 90’s punk though all is manipulated into the band’s own acute imaginative blitz.

Lyrically the tracks are as bitter and hard hitting as their sounds; from relationships and personal ‘demons’ like loneliness and self-loathing to political issues ranging from religion to politics, each track is as provoking and thought challenging as they are cynical and angry sounding. Mongeon proving herself a skilled writer who uses her other effective weapon her staggering vocals to bring forth her stirring words.

That Die Miserable will not be for everyone is no surprise, its intensive minding bending senses raiding sounds sure to have many running for their safest haven but for those up for the battering bliss Fuck the Facts produce this is essential stuff. If listening to the likes of Iwrestledabearone or Coilguns is your satisfying flavours than Die Miserable will have you moist in no time.

RingMaster 08/12/2011

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