Fit For An Autopsy – Absolute Hope Absolute Hell

fitforanautopsy_RingMaster Review

The time between previous album, the 2013 released Hellbound, and its new successor Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, has seen death metallers Fit For An Autopsy become not only more brutal but strikingly bolder in the adventure behind the infusion of melodic imagination and diversity shaping their ferocity. The evidence is all strikingly there in the band’s third album which is also the first with new vocalist Joe Badolato after the departure of Nate Johnson last year. Quite simply Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is a gripping tempest of sound and intensity, of passion and anger, and a new heady bench mark for the New Jersey hailing sextet.

Self-produced by guitarist Will Putney, who has also previously produced the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Acacia Strain, and Northlane, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell opens with its title track and a melodic tempting which reflects the first part of its title perfectly. Within a few more deep breaths riffs are crawling through the air and dark grooves binding ears as the quickly impressing delivery of Badolato steers the brewing volcanic tempest. Whereas in previously releases the open barbarism fuelling the new intent would be undiluted, here the opening enticing continues to flirt from within the storm, ebbing away occasionally to return with vocal elegance as the track relentlessly grows into and evolves its furious skin and body.

FitForAnAutopsy_AHAH_RingMaster Review      It is a mighty and thrilling start carried on by the following Wither, its first touch a crunching tide of raw riffs and imposing rhythms again straddled by the excellent tones of the new frontman. Johnson was a mighty force and texture within Fit For An Autopsy but Badolato brings something just as hearty but stirringly different which simply fits the band’s evolution in sound, Saltwound straight after conformation if it was needed. Backing vocals equally seem to have found a new zeal and hue to their roars too, on the third song creating searing harmonics within the sonic smog wrapping the rhythmic trespass of the track. Though not quite living up to the pair before, such their stunning success, the track quickly unveils more melodic enterprise and atmospheric imagination as forcibly alluring as any raw ferocity unleashed across song and album.

Both the Gojira meets Oceano like Murder In The First and Storm Drains exhaust the body and ignite the senses, the first a zealous predatory stalking which bewitches with repetitive hooks and spiralling grooves whilst becoming more barbarous with every passing minute and blast of viciousness. Its successor is a viscous sonic and vocal assault but again a turbulence unafraid to spin magnetic melodic and caustic tempting through the guitars of Putney, Tim Howley, and Pat Sheridan, drummer Josean Orta alongside splintering bone with his often restrained but fierce swings; that reserve emerging with the almost post-rock like ambience which also blows through the track.

Another high is breached with Ghosts In The River, Badolato offering a Jaz Coleman like tone to his cleaner grizzled delivery whilst around him vivaciously shimmering melodies seep from guitar strings and a warm inviting atmosphere leads the listener into the volatility and perpetually animus of the song’s heart. Bassist Shane Slade sculpts bait which borders on bestial but is tempered, almost smothered at times by the mesmeric melodic imagination working away on an already by this point greedy appetite. The track is as enthralling an inventive and fluidly diverse violation as you could hope for and quickly matched by the outstanding and creatively rabid Mask Maker which takes things to even more entangled richer depths. One moment it is scarring the senses with sonic acidity and the next creating a furious anthem which again has a slight Killing Joke scent to it, not to mention that of bands like Thy Art is Murder, though as shown yet again by Hollow Shell straight after, Fit For An Autopsy have created a presence truly distinct to them showing past great efforts were still a sound in the making. Hollow Shell is almost gentle in comparison to the previous track, well for a passing moment or two as sinews become stretched, emotions turn sour, and intensity is uncapped as the track boils over with rancor but without losing any of its creative enterprise and seamless fusion of melody rich ambience and toxic savagery.

Out To Sea is a song which took time to fully persuade, its opening emotive calm and sweeping atmosphere tempered for personal tastes by the vocal delivery choice of Badolato, his rasping tones a dampener on the climate but coming into their own as the short but potent track breeds a cantankerous torrent of hostility around the persistent beauty. It is a great appetiser for the virulent bad-blood of False Positive though, this a maelstrom of creative spite and bedlamic ingenuity as blusteringly unpredictable as it is punishingly hellacious. Every second brings a new chastisement for the senses and inventive tonic for ears and imagination, the album closing on the same lofty heights as it started, a pinnacle reinforced by album closer Swing The Axe and its more controlled and tempered storm flowing with and exposing the new direction and ingenuity in the Fit For An Autopsy songwriting and sound.

To simplify things, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is technically compelling, brutally impacting rock ‘n’ roll to give your soul to, the roar of a band’s sound coming of age with plenty more still to be explored and experienced. We have another best of year metal contender!

Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is available from October 2nd via eOne / Good Fight Music.

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2015

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The Contortionist – Language


Formed in 2007, US progressive metallers The Contortionist have been no strangers to twisting the senses and psyche of fans with their unpredictable weaves and startling structures of sound and ideation. Previous albums in the shape of their startling 2010 debut Exoplanet and even more so the rigorously acclaimed Intrinsic two years later, took the metal scene by the scruff of the neck with their increasingly imposing and intricately technical tapestries. Now the Indianapolis sextet has unveiled their finest moment yet, the exhaustingly compelling Language.

The band’s first studio album with new vocalist Michael Lessard (Last Chance to Reason), who replaced Jonathan Carpenter when he left the band last year, Language spins a startling web which swiftly immerses ears and imagination from its opening seconds. Produced by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, He Is Legend, The Human Abstract), the album seduces from the first breath of The Source, Lessard instantly caressing the senses with his mesmeric tones as keys emerge elegantly around him. As the song grows, so does its captivation as impassioned melodies simultaneously soar across and intimately shape the aural narrative. It is a gorgeous seducing with Lessard exceptional, and right away matched by the distinctly different Language I: Intuition.

Guitars tenderly coax the imagination from the very start, their thought binding enterprise soon aided by flowing harmonies and subsequently an alluring throaty bass tone amidst a soak of expressive keys cast by Eric Guenther. Grumbles of raw vocals taunt in the background at times but the track ultimately glides imperiously over ears framed by the inventive beats of Joey Baca and resourcefully shadowed bass prowess of Jordan Eberhardt. The snarl and agitation within the song rises closer to the surface as the track moves towards Language II: Conspire, the guitars of Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard at times as predatory as they are enchanting. Its successor seamless steps from its embrace with a jagged bait of riffs and an increasingly predatory voice to the bass, coarse vocal growls also stepping forward from within the brewing maelstrom. The track proceeds to prowl and size up its recipient with death metal malevolence and caustically coated progressive imagination twisted into something uniquely exploratory and individual to the band.

Integration opens with a jazzy wind of keys which is emulated by the creative sculpting of guitar intrigue and swinging rhythmic temptation. As the mellow tones of Lessard flow there is a conflicting yet perfectly harmonious merger of LANGUAGE COVERantagonistic and entrancing climates, opposites uniting for a provocative emprise of sound and intent. Thoughts of Karnivool and Between The Buried And Me offer hints as does Cynic as the song twists and evolves with every incendiary note and impacting syllable but again it is merely spice to an ingenuity owned solely by the Indiana six-piece.

Both the spellbinding grace and beauty of Thrive and the following Primordial Sound enslave ears and thoughts, the first a scintillating journey through an evocative scenery of tenacious rhythms and smouldering drama crafted by a tempest of guitar invention and sonic passion. Basking in a simmering keys drawn atmosphere veined by vibrantly melodic flames, the track also involves a technically explosive turbulence which is as flirtatious as it is intimidating. It is the pinnacle of the album, a peak matched straight away by the second of the two songs. Primordial Sound opens on another exceptional vocal caress from Lessard, guitar and bass courting his radiant tones with their own dazzling voice and expression, all wrapped in a magnetic wash of keys. The song is sensational, another innovative and remarkably imaginative binding of light and shadows.

It is fair to say that Lessard brings a Deftones like air to parts of the album, and no more so than in Arise, his dulcet tones a smooth glaze over the song’s presence and theme. This is enhanced by the equally luscious sounds around him; that is until a bestial expulsion drives vocals into a rapacious metalcore like roar and riffs and hooks into a heavily barbed torrent of addictive persuasion. The track continues the established high plateau which is maintained by the cinematic theatre and haunting colour of Ebb & Flow. The keys of Guenther alone paint an engrossing canvas for the imagination to explore, one given richer impacting depth by the cinematic hues and shadows of guitar which in turn create a tempestuous threat of intensity and a temptation of skilled enterprise.

Its success is equalled by the spellbinding majesty of The Parable. The final song on the album is a thick blaze of sonic and technical ingenuity hugged by the ever refreshing vocal brilliance of Lessard and band. It is a swirling eddy of beauty, skill, and exploration within a kinetic incitement of rhythms and rousing intensity, a sensational flurry of invention which almost bewilders as it seduces.

With so much going on and to be explored, Language is not as instant a triumph as other releases but with focus and time emerges explosively rewarding and intensively exhilarating. As much as their previous albums were impressive, you can almost say that The Contortionist has come of age with their new offering, suggesting a new template for progressive metal to contemplate with its masterful presence.

Language is available from 16th September via eOne Music / Good Fight Music.

RingMaster 16/09/2014

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I Am Abomination – Passion Of The Heist

From the band name to the extreme creativity on their new digital EP Passion Of The Heist, Michigan progressive post hardcore band I Am Abomination surprise and impress. If unaware of the band the name gives expectation of a death metal band or a sonically challenging sound. Well the duo certainly produce the aggression and power to rival most but align it with some of the most enterprising melodies and artistry heard this year so far.

The debut album To Our Forefathers on Good Fight Music gained great critical acclaim and returning via the same label on July 19th with Passion Of The Heist, one can only see that enthusiasm for their music enhanced and increased. The EP from vocalist Phil Druyor and guitarist Nick Sampson is described by them as a concept album which is easy to see but as well as the obvious sci-fi theme it also carries an inner personal struggle interpretation too. The lyrics for the EP were written by Brandon Good and wonderfully composed they are, words that when the band posted the lyrics to a couple of songs created great debate and opinion on the theme and religious thoughts of the band itself. They are lyrics that can be interpreted in different ways by individuals although as mentioned it has the obvious theme to it too.

The release was produced, written, engineered, mixed and mastered by guitarist Nick Sampson at his New Boston studio and there is no other word to use for it except inspired. There are virtually no flaws and those one can bring up are just related to personal tastes like the fade out of the wonderful track ‘Transformation’. Fade outs always gives the impression the band did not know how to end the track to some but to others it is not an issue at all. The track itself is excellent and soulful and as throughout the EP Druyor’s voice is a joy as he soars with the notes and words.  

Opening track ‘Vivification’, a very cinematic like intro sets the theme as alien sounds and tension ripples out of the speakers making the context obvious though it could be the soundtrack to the worst barbers shop in existence too. ‘Abduction’ takes over and instantly shows the band have not only kept the high level from their debut but taken many steps further. Sampson’s music and play is exemplary and matched and complimented completely by Druyor. The riffs, stabbing guitar attacks, and stunning solos are exceedingly pleasurable and with the added electronic sounds there is a fully rounded and unique feel.

The first track released by I Am Abomination as a taster to the album was ‘Examination’ and to mass acclaim from critics and fans alike. It is no surprise as the track is the best on Passion Of The Heist, the throbbing bass, driving riffs and beautiful melodies gel perfectly, and the brass like inserts are delightful. The track is big, a song that consumes with a wave of satisfaction and will be the favourite of most amongst an EP of tremendous ideas and realisation.

The band has a guest vocalist on ‘Ascension’ in the form of Attack Attack’s frontman Caleb Shomo. The contrast between the two men works perfectly, Shomo’s harsher voice against the smooth flow of Druyor a great fit and actually brings up the other small point that maybe the EP could have used some more moments of growls and grunts to break up the slight Fall Out Boy vocal feel elsewhere. Again it is just a personal taste thing as the truth is every song is that good that any change would not truly enhance a song.

The closing track ‘Invasion’ is the perfect end, not only as a wonderful track but it kind of sums up why the EP is so good; inspired ideas, musical skill, engulfing melodies and the total passion. I Am Abomination in Passion Of The Heist EP just might have your release of the year.

Pete RingMaster 12/07/2011 Registered & Protected


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Harvest – Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust

For five years Harvest set the pace for hardcore/metal core before separating back in 1999. In that period the band released many eagerly consumed singles and the albums Living With A God Complex and Transitions in 1997 and ’98 respectively. After eleven years 2010 saw vocalist Dave Walker and guitarist Dan Zimmerman re-form Harvest alongside drummer Adam Patterson. They brought in the skills of guitarist Mike Duffy (Endeavor) and bassist Jon Mcaab of (The Good Fight) and on August 2nd will release their EP Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust on Good Fight Music.

Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a 7” vinyl and digital release consisting of two new tracks ‘Our Legacy’ and ‘Death is Not Enough’, as well as the last track written but unreleased back  in 1999 ‘Torture Inhibition’, plus a new version of ‘Slow Burn’.  The digital package on iTunes includes an extra track in a new version of ‘Conditioned’.

Though the members of Harvest are separated by immense distances vocalist Walker states “We are more than inspired to write the next chapter of HARVEST. We will continue to write, record and play as many shows as we can, despite being in three countries, four cities and all very much involved in our families and careers,” and he adds. “We believe in what we’re doing and couldn’t be more excited to be playing live again!”  Written and recorded in three different cities; Minneapolis, Toronto, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a strong starter for their ambition and ability to achieve their aim.  

The notable thing about the release is it is a clear reminder for the genre of its roots and a slap in the face for forgetting the elements that made hardcore essential music. The new songs sit perfectly alongside the reworked older tracks showing a strong consistence which is missing amongst many current bands.

The first track on the release is ‘Our Legacy’ and possibly the best, it’s threatening riffs and incessant grinding groove impressive. The guitars grab hold eagerly whilst the bass and drums kick to the gut creating a perfect blend capped by the raw coarseness of Walker’s voice. He has one of those voices that works for people or not and at times feels strained but certainly it adds to the sound not detracts.  Second of the new songs is ‘Death Is Not Enough’ and though not as instantly inviting as the opener it is as strong. A great throbbing bassline leads the way as the guitars bore into the ear.

Torture Inhibition’ barges in next and there is no drop in levels or sound. This could easily have been written alongside the new songs and not a decade earlier. The music drives hard and is impressive yet again, though to be fair that applies to all the tracks. It rides a good line between hard damaging aggression and eager inviting hooks and melodies, almost teasing with the two elements. ‘Soul Burn’ brings up the rear of the regular release again driving firmly into the ear.

The additional track on the digital release is certainly worth the check as your preferred purchase. ‘Conditioned’ is vibrant and angry and benefits from a new work over and the clear incisive production technology today can give.

Harvest are back and not simply to make up the numbers and their EP Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a statement of intent in the aim of to righting a few wrongs in hardcore as well as passing commentary on the world today.

Pete Ringmaster 12/07/2011 Registered & Protected


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