Wykked Wytch – The Ultimate Deception

With intent as devilish as the band’s name suggests comes the new album from extreme metal band Wykked Wytch. Dripping malice and unbridled intensity The Ultimate Deception is an undeniable caustic rub on the senses, its acidic melodies, threatening riffs, and badgering rhythms manipulative as they toy and tease, and overall it is one fine experience. Bringing a mix of black metal, death and thrash infused with a technical prowess and industrial like steel ,the album grabs hold before rupturing and unleashing its formidable and consuming sounds. They sound like a sinister alchemist’s invocation formed from the tattered corpses of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir with the bones of a Djerv, Otep and Dominanz thrown in for extra spice, malevolent, nasty and entrancing. The Ultimate Deception is far from perfect but the lasting emotion at its close is to dive right back into its intimidating charms and often.

From South Florida Wykked Wytch formed in the mid 90’s with their debut album Something Wykked This Way Comes self-released in 1996. This was the starting point of keen interest and growing acclaim for the band firstly with the album being picked up for a re-release by Demolition Records in Europe, then in 2001 with the release of follow-up Angelic Vengeance. Successful European tours and further albums releases in Nefret (2004) and Memories of A Dying Whore (2008) has only enhanced and cemented the band as an intriguing and impressive proposition live and in the studio, never dull or predictable and always challenging in the best way. Current line-up for The Ultimate Deception consisting of the majestic tones and vocal ability of front woman Ipek, the stunning guitar skills of Nate Poulson, session drummer Kevin Talley, and Salvatore Lopresti on keys have unleashed a beast that takes charge of the ear to abuse and violate as it equally engages and inspires. The album is unpredictable and at times chaotic and across its length wavers in consistency but when it is peaking it is glorious and within its lows strongly satisfying.

Released via Goomba Music February 14th the album starts on a distinct high with opener ‘Birthing The Beast’ and plays as the title suggests. Coming into view with peaceful almost angelic charm the track mesmerises before black hearted tones take over. Pounding challenging riffs and punchy rhythms rage whilst Ipek shows she has lost none of her impressive range and skill. Her delivery here and throughout the album bring a jaw dropping mix of clean and serpentine vocals into a merger with bestial and venomous then going deeper into the infernal pit for guttural and virulent. With most bands a vocalist of this talent would override the sounds, prove too distracting but upon The Ultimate Deception there is no fear with the stunning guitar skill of Poulson. He guides the ear to the whole sound with incisive play, scorched melodies and beauteous balance to the harshness elsewhere, ably and impressively aided by Talley and Lopresti.

As mentioned the album ebbs and flows a little, mainly from the likes of the title track, ‘Prayer Of The Decapitated’ and ‘Abolish The Weak, very pleasing and strong songs that they are but not having the essences to sweep one up into their muscular arms and give something that lingers. That is highlighted when the tracks that really hit the mark unveil their quality alongside these great but unmemorable songs. ‘Serpents Among Us’ is easily the best track on the album, its spite and bile oozing from every pore. Poulson pummels and mesmerises throughout, his heavy riffs an incessant intrusion tempered by glorious razor sharp melodies and thoughtful creativity. Talley barges through the ear with bullying rhythms and Ipek does what she does best, give her all with more varied and irresistible vocals.

Despised Existence’ and the closing ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ come close to matching ‘Serpents Among Us’, the first a bitter declaration that plays the senses with a force only instinct and Nature can bring, its melodic moments like being in the eye of the storm, a peace and melodic assurance waiting to be blasted apart. ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ is a predatory monster of a track in intent and riffs, a withering hate fuelling the sound. A maelstrom of energy, sounds and emotions it picks the ear clean leaving one breathless at its departure. There is a cover of Metallica’s ‘Fade To Black’ included within the album too and if not quite up to the original Wykked Wytch have given it their own unique and agreeable touch, refusing to go the route most do of simply doing a version of.

The Ultimate Deception is an excellent album that does not quite reach its potential to be a classic, but it is easily a release that will be welcomed and played consistently, all one can ask of a record right?

Ringmaster 07/02/2012

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Brand New Sin – United State

Already an acclaimed and fervently followed band Brand New Sin return with their fifth album United State, a release bursting with compulsive and formidable hard rock sounds and strongly provocative lyrics that tap into the thoughts and feelings of the world today. The band from Syracuse, New York fully focused attention on themselves with their previous album Distilled in 2009. Now with United State they have raised the stakes higher with songs that ripple with confidence and defiance against the wrongs of the world from an autobiographical view that is rife within a big majority.

Released October 11th via Goomba Music United State flows with hard rock songs tinged with attitude not far removed from original punk which at times overflows into the sound to great effect as in the striking ’Your Song And Dance’, a song bristling with bustling drums behind a sound reminiscent of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers mixed with The Clash fused into a great rock ‘n’ roll blast.  

On the whole though the album delivers engaging and forceful hard rock sounds starting with the opening track of ‘The Lord Came Down’. With an eager riff and exited rhythms the quartet of Kris Wiechmann (vocals/guitar), Chuck Kahl (bass), Kevin Dean (drums), and new lead guitarist Tommy Matkowski  stand tall as they unveil the song and what is ahead throughout the album, a strong and impressive start that opens up the album with a firm welcome.

Know Yourself’ steps up next with a heavy robust riff and intense hard rock play infused with a creative solo that trips into the ear very easily and is the first indication of the band’s variety of sound and influences within the release. From this heavy brute of a song Brand New Sin switch to a Thin Lizzy grounding in ‘All My Wheels’ a song that is destined to be many a fan’s favourite followed by a southern bluesy gem in ‘Rotten As Hell’. Though there is a core sound to their music the band bring a distinct and varied spice to each song that makes United State vibrant and enjoyable.

The album is consistent but some tracks lift it more than others with a spark within that at times is less defined in others. The Dr Feelgood like ‘Bed Of Nails’ is gloriously incessant and pulsating and impossible not to join in with whilst the album’s best track ‘Groups Of 5’ is addictive with a mesmerising hook and lively riffs. Both set the senses racing alongside the great rock ‘n’ roll moments of ‘The Cup And The Lip’ and ‘Goddess Of War’, another two stirring tracks in sound and lyrics delivered firmly and nicely by Wiechmann.

There are no real flaws to United State but it has to be said there are times when the flame blazes more dimly in some tracks than others that keeps it from really inspiring the emotions and makes one feel there is something missing occasionally, though despite saying that the album is a fine slice of rock and it is hard to think of many that have rivalled it so far this year.

The album contains a cover of the AC/DC track ‘What Do You Do For Money’ and the CD format has the added bonus of a cover of Black Sabbath´s ‘The Wizard’ which slide in alongside the band’s original compositions nicely. United State is a fine album that fires up rhythms and rock riffs to satisfy and delight the ear and even without that extra something to elevate it into a classic it is a release that one revisits time and time again.


RingMaster 09/10/2011

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Single Bullet Theory – IV

Philadelphia metalers Single Bullet Theory are not everyone’s preferred flavour it is fair to say but with the bands new and fourth album titled IV  released via Goomba Music maybe that will change, and then again maybe not. They are a band that either work for you or not, apparently there does not seem to be a middle ground of simply just liking them. People either heap almost adulation like praise upon them or ridicule, especially in the media. After listening to the album and to be honest hearing the band for the first time it is obvious here is a band that creates some of the strongest rumbling riffs and technical skill heard anywhere infused with a diverse variation of sounds that sometimes work gloriously and in others moments leave the ears bewildered.

Formed in 2000 the new album sees the new line up of band founder and guitarist/vocalist Matt DiFabio with guitarist John Ruszin III and bassist Jeff Kalber, bringing a collection of songs that hit hard and stir up the senses. As mentioned there is a distinct and strong variety within the tracks that importantly should receive many listens before forming a view of the release, as at times they work instantly and in others simply confuse, but always they challenge and keep the listener off guard and alert which is commendable. There is no safety first aspect to Single Bullet Theory either, a trait so many other bands should pay attention to and adopt.  

The band fuses a mix of metalcore, death metal, and thrash into a parallel palate of progressive and classic rock to bring something certainly different and intriguing, even when it does not work the urge is still to move to the next track and not to leave alone. The album opens on ‘Diabolical’, a pounding track rippling with deliberate intent to consume the ear, massive riffs and bludgeoning rhythms drive it perfectly. A dark slice of metal core based intensity that raises high hopes for what is ahead and shows straight off the quality and skill of the band as well as a no compromise attitude to their sound.

From the opener the anticipation was of a fusion of genres in the same vein as the recent Livarkahil album that bristled magnificently with a similar approach. The second track on IV deflated the eagerness unfortunately. ‘What Have I’ is a beast of a track, with unrelenting riffs, a great dark vocal delivery from DiFabio and stunning guitar work from he and Ruszin the track is immense until the switch to classic rock vocals and it simply stalls. As the whole album reveals Single Bullet Theory are second best to no one when they prowl and leap from their predatory and consuming dark hearts and it seems obvious if they stayed in that field of attack they would be leading the pack of like minded bands. They choose to do it their way and that should never be criticised but the mix of classic and black just does not sit well together. Obviously liking or not liking something is down to personal taste and the repeat plays of the album reveals more positives than negatives and admittedly an aversion to classic rock vocals is rife here at the Review, but that is the aspect that does not work as musically the band is impressive and enjoyable whatever flavour they bring.

It must be emphasised though that when the band veer away and assault from the darkness they are undeniably impressive and one can listen to them constantly and eagerly. For every track like ‘What Have I’, ‘The Wake of Betrayal’ and ‘Echoes of the Past’ which is a mess sadly the only word that can be used , there is the brilliance and striking power and strength of the industrial lined ‘Samsara’, the vibrant and aggressive ‘Hands of the Wicked’, the pulsating lumbering beast that is ‘Leviathan Smiles’, and the best track on the release in ‘Letting Go’ carrying a punk/gothic feel that reminds of bands like Type o Negative.

The bass of Kalber is stunning throughout the album bringing a deep and inventive pulse to the release, his lines and riffs delicious enough to make one drool. The same can be said for the epic near instrumental ‘Auctioneer of Souls’, a track as deep in length as in skill from not only the band but the likes of Tim Roth (Into Eternity), Jed Simon (Strapping Young Lad, Zimmers Hole), Mike Riggs (Scum of The Earth, Rob Zombie), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore, Sanctary), Jack Frost (Seven Witches), James Murphy (Testament, Death, Obituary) and many more, all contributing their talents and solos. The track is mesmeric and stays the right side of indulgence to satisfy any six string lover.

With the bonus tracks on the cd version of ‘The Hurt That Never Ends and a cover of the Death song ‘Spirit Crusher’, the album is overall enjoyable and worth recommending for investigation at the very least. When the band brings their aggressive nature veined with more power over extreme ideas, they wipe the floor with many other bands easily. It is the attempt to bring two separate and defined genres into a mutual working space that it loses cohesion and appeal. Many will adore it and many will shake their heads but make sure you do find out your own opinion as IV when it works is solidly agreeable and Single Bullet Theory one satisfyingly enterprising band.

RingMaster 28/09/2011

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Allele – Next To Parallel

Though it is fair to say Jacksonville, Florida rock band Allele (pronounced Uh-Leel) come from a pool of sound that has spawned many similar sounding contemporaries there is certainly a freshness and vibrancy about the band that raises them above and sets an individual marker down against most others. With their new album Next To Parallel the band bring a passion and vitality that many rock releases and bands seem to lack with consistency and though there is still that kind of similarity across the thirteen tracks with other bands it also gives a familiarity that brings an instant intimacy in the bands favour.

The band was formed in 2002 by vocalist Wally Wood and ex-Otep guitarist Lane Maverick releasing their debut album Point of Origin in 2005. The following year saw the band contribute the track ‘Stitches’ to the THQ video game ‘WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007’ as well as being featured in trailers and promos for the TV Stephen King anthology series, ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’. Began in 2010, Next To Parallel is set to take the band and their music deep into the hearts of hard rock fans far and wide and to set Allele to the fore of the genre.

As the album plays the band deliver songs from the same field as the likes of Three Days Grace, Slaves To Gravity, Sick Puppies, Nonpoint, Saliva ……but there is something inspiring about their music that elevates them from just another band with the same sound basis. Certainly they instil a connection with the listener that goes beyond the ear with emotive sounds and lyrics that grab deeply and firmly.

Let It Go ‘opens up the release, its winding and building pulse erupting into great vocal control and delivery from Wood and striking guitar play over eager rhythms. Though not a track that lets loose with a vengeance it is still powerful and forthright making a strong opening to the album, a strength that continues through the next track ‘Closure’ and beyond. This track has a personal feel, something common to most songs on the release. The tracks across the board seemingly close in a personal way if not to its creator to the listener, or someone they know. This is another reason their sound connects to the listener, Allele write and bring to reality with their music things that all have felt or been affected by in some way, things one can relate to whether personally or through the world’s current turmoil. 

Amongst the abundance of great tracks are those that stand out that little more like the two tracks fuelled with a harder edged aggression in ‘Feed The Wolves’ and the harsh attitude of ‘ Stay Down’. The band can lay down intense riffs and sonic sounds just as easily as the melodic and infectious hooks, and with these two combine both instinctively. ‘Answers’, ‘Hurt ‘, and the impressive title track are equally noteworthy as the album is as a whole. More melodic and measured in a way they still carry an intensity that is felt effectively.

Next To Parallel is thoroughly enjoyable and if it does not attempt to break down any doors into new originality and directions, it without doubt brings to the ear music that satisfies and entertains with more accomplishment and passion than most other bands treading the same musical road.  Allele have and give everything one would want in a band, mesmerising melodies, highly charged riffs and senses touching emotions wrapped up in gratifying rock music.

Next To Parallel is available now on Goomba Music; make it a stop on your musical journey this year.


RingMaster 26/09/2011

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