Dead Register – Captive

It is two years since Atlanta outfit Dead Register not only thrilled but truly captivated us with debut album Fiber. It was a collection of tracks bred in the rich essences of doom, gothic, and post rock but equally embraced many more flavours to create something as unique as you could imagine or wish. Twenty four or so months on we still cannot truly define their sound or want to as that would be to sterilise its originality and fertility, both as rampant and captivating in the band’s new offering, Captive.

Every word in praise of Fiber by us and so many others can be echoed with zeal in regard to the Captive EP, but not only repeated but escalated as its five tracks venture to mouth-watering new heights in the imaginative craft and inventive prowess of Dead Register. The new EP sees percussionist/drummer Danny Ryann (ex-Gigan) alongside vocalist/bassist M. Chvasta and his wife, Avril Che on bass synth, keys, and backing vocals; Dan Dixon (Whores, The Life and Times, PLS PLS, Biters) recording, mixing, and mastering their now proposition.

Captive opens up with its title track, a dark mist springing the lumbering gait of the song but a funereal step soon wrapped in romancing melodies as a shadow bred atmosphere descends. Magnetic rhythms are swiftly courted by the ever potent and alluring tones of Chvasta, both in turn hugged by the heavy emotive doom gaze breath of the track. Haunting and mesmeric, the song continues to seduce and impose, drama soaking very brooding note and harmonic utterance trespassing and seducing the senses.

It is a highly tantalising and increasingly captivating beginning to the release and one as powerfully continued by next up Ender. A song exploring love and loss and “a reminder to savor even the most mundane idiosyncrasies that “make” our loved ones who they are”, a premise easy to relate to, it rousingly smoulders in ears and thoughts but a thick simmer with volatility which only enriches its emotional incitement and a sound with Type O Negative/Nine Inch Nails hues. There is also a breath to the track and its successors which reminds of eighties band, The Sound; an instinctively downbeat almost depressive yet rousing dark essence which is especially apparent in the fiercely infectious Heresy. From its predacious nagging bassline to the sonic tendrils and Chvasta’s transfixing vocals, the track is pure temptation as virulently catchy as it is melancholically consuming.

A riveting cover of the Dead and Gone track Blood from a Ghost follows, Dead Register infusing it with a voraciously dark elegance without defusing its raw heart and anguish. Few covers in our experience improve on the original but the threesome certainly flirts with that success before Monochrome completes the aural mastery of Captive with its own tenebrific majesty soaked in emotive dissonance. A breath-taking and arousing yet corrosive romance, the track is a maelstrom of destruction and tenderness and quite irresistible.

It is a spellbinding prowess which devours the whole of Captives and feeds the infatuation we have already found for the band. If in our words Fiber was “dark magic, emotional trespassing, and quite wonderful”, Captive is pure aural alchemy and one of the year’s essential encounters.

Captive is released November 2nd; available @ https://deadregister.bandcamp.com/

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 Pete RingMaster 02/11/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Fallen Divine – The Binding Cycle

The debut album from Norwegian progressive extreme metalers The Fallen Divine would have undoubtedly have left the senses marvelling and feasting on its undeniable impressive sounds and creativity, unfortunately it had the misfortune of being given attention and assessed straight after the new release from similar veined band Gigan, arguably the album of the year. Despite that there is no hiding or missing the fact that The Binding Cycle is a rather special and pleasing release that shows yet another band with the admirable skill of bringing harsh senses threatening sounds into an affair with melodically stunning and skilled majesty.

Formed in 2009 the quintet from Oslo first drew attention to their strong sounds with their EP The Eternal Past and Future in 2010 plus shows throughout Norway with the likes of Kvelertak and Insense. The band’s addictive blend of death, black and symphonic metal, plus elements like folk and progressive metal brought into their own distinctive colourful vision mesmerising more and more eager audiences. Debut album The Binding Cycle sees the combination of vocalist Magnus Kvist who also provides the keys, guitarists Magnus Haugo and Markus Charras, bassist Christoffer Wig, and Alex Stebbing on drums, take their music forward to show the band have progressed in the short time between releases to reach remarkable levels in songwriting and its realisation.

The Binding Cycle is the result of extensive hard work with The Fallen Divine spending hour upon hour refining  the sound that was to make the album an impressive addition to this year’s releases. Summer 2011 saw the band enter the studio with Andy Larocque of King Diamond fame responsible for mixing and production. Consisting of eight vibrant and stirring songs the resulting album is testament to their deliberate care and intention and a declaration that the band is one of the most vital emerging forces in metal.

Opening track ‘Dissension’ straight away reveals the might of the band and their creativity, dawning on a melodic atmospheric wave it soon unleashes a harsh urgent black attack before settling into an emotive symphonic black metal flow. Technical grinds and progressive interplay veins the song and though it drives hard throughout, the mellower melodic flavours engage wonderfully. It is like being serenaded by the blackest beast with an angel’s heart, the blend and switch between the two aspects seamless.

Vocally Kvist delivers his strong lyrics with a menacing raspy growl and deliberate venomous intent enforcing the dark intrusive sound against the calming melodic swells. The contrast and union between both is impressive and extremely well balanced as shown with ‘Fire Lights the Night (Self Ignition)’, a near perfect track that plays with an emotion and sound that is impossible to not immerse completely in and ignore all outside stimuli. This is the best track but with the likes of the touching yet aggressive ‘Patterns Through Eternity’, ‘Replenished’ with its eager urgency and folk metal melodic weaves, and the grand epic feel and creative skill of ‘The Binding Cycle’, there is only a continual high on the album. The third of these three a shining beacon for the talent of the band and the thoughtful and caring attentiveness the band give to their craft and music.

If there is one small element where the band do not quite hit the right note on the album it is in the obvious ability and skilled play from bassist Wig being veiled and at times hidden behind the vast imposing sounds, which really is a complaint one can put at Larocque’s feet. Glimpses and quieter melodic moments show he is a great musician but within the strong forceful intensity of the album the other aspects and instruments suppress his lines too much.

Overall The Binding Cycle is a masterful and deeply satisfying album and The Fallen Divine a band that will surely be a major force in the years ahead, right now they are one of the artists leading the way in creating essential melodic extreme metal.

Ringmaster 02/12/2011

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