Olymp – Self Titled EP

Raw almost primal, the sound of German metallers Olymp is as intriguing as it is rousing certainly within their new self-titled EP. With its Teutonic heavy metal breeding and hungrily driving riffery described as being traditional 80´s styled, it is a proposition which demands attention yet it only tells part of the sonic picture. There is rabidity and essence of its character which is pure punk rock and an additional multi-flavoured web of flavours and imagination which only gives richer texture to its breath. It all goes to make the EP an introduction to the band that refuses to be ignored.

Formed in 2018, the Augsburg quartet consists of Butschi (guitars, vocals), André (bass), Armin (guitars), and Dommi (drums). There is little more we can tell you about the band but it is all about their first EP and that quickly gripped ears and appetite with opener Lightning Eater. Its initial bass lure simply teased attention, the quickly joining wires of guitar just as enticing as the song rose to its threatening feet though its menace is as alluring as it is predatory. It is with Butschi’s grouchy vocals and the subsequent band hollers that that punk essence arises, a voracious scent which aligns potently with the classic metal teased skilfully woven web of grooves and riffs that fuel the excellent start to the EP.

Fire And Fury is next up and begins with its own dark, imposing invitation for ears and imagination, one proving easy to quickly devour and relish as it continues to darkly stain the weave of metal flames and sonic enterprise wrapping rhythmic agility. As with the first song, its body is perpetually galvanic and chorus anthemic cajoling as once again punk and metal unite in an almost garage bred styling of both flavours.

A Celtic hue lines the beginnings of the following Shut Down, the guitar proving a web of sonic intoxication as rhythms create a contagious shuffle. Dark shadows court both at the same time, brewing an invasive hue to the subsequent punk ‘n heavy metal dance. If you can imagine a hybrid sound from a union of the punk density of The Lurkers, the melodic endeavour of U.D.O, and the metal esurience of Destruction then maybe a hint of the song’s and Olymp’s sound becomes clearer.

The EP ends with The Messenger, it’s melodic beckoning straight away wrapping around welcoming ears before riffs and hooks collude to further and increasingly tempt. From within that potent draw a controlled thrash hued swing begins its own thick enticement. Admittedly by its close it was a track which could not quite find the impressive heights of its predecessors but had plenty to hold court in ears and appetite as imagination shaped its fascination inciting presence.

Olymp’s sound as rousing as it is feels like it is only at the beginning of its journey and evolution and a fine adventure it should be for all if they build on and push the highly enjoyable and impressive enterprise within their first release; we wait in eager anticipation.

The Olymp EP is out now with limited availability @ https://olympmetal.bandcamp.com/album/olymp-e-p

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 Pete RingMaster 03/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Steve Blower – Back in Hell

Having impressed with their new tracks within the EP, The Abyss Vol. 1, last year, it the first of a planned trilogy of releases building towards their new album, UK metallers Hamerex was put on hold by its members. From that decision vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steve Blower quickly took the opportunity to begin working on his own solo project. The following November saw the Facilis Descensus Averno EP released, its presence evolving to first album Back in Hell, a release sure to arouse the instincts of any heavy metal fan.

As mentioned, Back in Hell has grown from the seeds of that first EP, better recording equipment and fan funding allowing its songs to grow and be improved and join a host of new tracks within Blower’s debut full-length. With eleven slabs of heavy metal bred, classic metal spiced proposals, the album was initially planned for release late last year but with severe wrist injuries preventing Wakefield hailing Blower, who is truly a one man project playing all instruments and creating its art, working on the drums Back in Hell was put back by five months or so. Co-mixed by Blower with Andy Firth, who also did the mastering, it is now poised to uncage its roar.

The album’s title track is the first to grip ears and attention, the opener immediately a surge of riffs and hungry rhythms as infectious as they are rapacious. Familiar classic hues are openly embraced within its lively canter, Blower’s vocals equally unapologetic in their old school metal/nwobhm influence yet quickly the song establishes its own character and that in the overall sound of the album.

The great start is only matched by The Whisperer and its equally tenacious exploits. As with the first song, there was no escaping the persuasive presence and incitement of riffs, the guitar a boisterous yet fierce conjuror alongside another lively vocal cajoling from Blower with subsequent hooks and melodic flames only adding to the track’s easy success on ears and appetite.

 What’s Left of Me has an eighties metal breath to its opening holler which is soon immersed in the more voracious traits of the song but is never quite devoured to add further flavour to the traditional breeding of the encounter. Though not quite hitting the heights of its predecessors for personal tastes it is a magnetic affair from start to finish before being fully eclipsed by The Prophet. The following track immediately had the imagination engaged as its shadow thick crawl into view comes rich in intimation. The slowly revolving groove at its heart is pure melodic liquor, continuing to intoxicate as the track weaves its temptation and Blower unveils his guitar craft and enterprise to its fullest depths. The song is superb and quickly takes favourite track honours never relinquishing that spot to its following companions.

Certainly it is tested at times though and swiftly as Arabian Nights shares its swarthy, darkly lit instrumental adventure. It has a heroic breath to its drama and emprise shaped by guitar intrigue, its cosmopolitan theatre of suggestion manna to this imagination while the similarly instrumental Out of this World and after that, The Midas Touch only kept ears, thoughts, and pleasure as enjoyable busy. The first of the two has a Celtic whisper to its melodic narrative, a whiff of Horslips at play early on though soon just a thread it is evocative and multi-flavoured landscape whilst its successor starts with a voraciously heavy trespass from rhythms and riffs but again a welcomingly contagious one even as melodic and sonic intimation paints a deeper palette of sound for the imagination to relish.

Together the four tracks provide the pinnacle of the album for us but in a landscape never sliding too far away in strength as the likes of Twisted Evolution, with its compelling lowly slung heavy grumble and conspiracy of sonic suspicion, and the eventful The Slain / Ties that Bind easily prove. The second of the pair coaxes keen attention as an evocative melodic tempting in voice and guitar takes little time to escalate in intensity, urgency and diversity; riffs and rhythms colluding with a brooding bass and the hearty lungs of Blower. There is volatility to it which if never quite erupting gives the song a great edge in tone and theatre and helps a track which maybe again struggled to match its predecessor do nothing less than enthral and please.

The final pair of the seriously compelling Haunting Misery with almost predatory riffing shaping its warrior like presence and the fiery classic metal powerhouse that is the Maiden-esque The World is Ablaze bring the album to a rousing close. Both tracks sparked eager participation in spirit and body and alone left a lingering lure to dive swiftly back into Back in Hell.

How long we will have to wait for the next instalment of Hamerex adventure time will tell but Steve Blower will ensure the wait is not going to be a fruitless time and that the band is going to have to go some to match the qualities and pleasure of his first album.

Back in Hell is scheduled for release on 25th October 2019 with a Special Edition which includes the Facilis Descensus Averno disc also available; pre-ordering available now @ https://steveblower.bandcamp.com/album/back-in-hell

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Pete RingMaster 03/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Transport League – A Million Volt Scream

The fifteen years since first leaving Lucifer’s fires has not dampened the roar in the heart and throat of Transport League or the voracious swing in their feral enterprise, nor indeed the ravenous virulence of a sound which is always preying on new hellish flavours. The proof is all there in the viscera of their new album, A Million Volt Scream: a release which lures, embraces, and devours the senses with the greatest ravening intent yet from the Swedish outfit so that never has the well-established term upon the band’s music, Boogie From Hell, been more apt.

Emerging in 1994 Transport League embraced the sound of early Clutch with as they say “some hints of Cathedral and Corrosion of Conformity.” Swiftly it established its own ever evolving character and by the 2013 release of fifth album, Boogie From Hell, was the fuel to that enduring moniker. Even as the band has continued to explore new shades and avenues it has remained fitting to that declaration as shown by A Million Volt Scream. It is an encounter bred from a ferocious cauldron of mutually heavy metal and rock with just as healthy and hungry essences of punk, sludge, and alternative trespasses; infernal rock ‘n’ roll if you would.

A Million Volt Scream wasted no time with subtle persuasion, warning sirens allowing a moment to run away before its title track opener stalks with eager rhythmic instincts. That alone proves gripping bait but once the band’s renowned rapacious grooves uncage their swing, entanglement is inescapable. The track hits its stride with a devilish swagger, the vocals of guitarist Tony Jelencovich a masterful scowl within the unappeasable contagion. Rich imagination only adds to the temptation, the track’s Pantera meets Rob Zombie like breath twisted and ignited with industrial lined apocalyptic proclamation.

1200 Goddamned follows, the rhythms of drummer Mattias Starander again a potent and insatiable coaxing before the song uncages its full belly of riffs and grooves, the exploits of Jelencovich  and lead guitarist Peter Hunyadi mercilessly infectious and invasive just as is the former’s great grungy tones. Even with its eager swing, there is a riveting predatory edge to the bass of Dennis Österdal, his lines threat and temptation together much as song and sound around them across the release.

Fair to say with ears and appetite already hooked both only found a lustier attention as next up Monster Human leered in and began stalking their ground. Its menacing bounce and mischievous sonic glints swiftly stole subservience, another Rob Zombie-esque swing this time merged with a Rammstein scented industrial intimidation only adding to the captivation before relief at the departure of its fiendishness is swiftly stolen by the dark deeds and drama of Dawn Of Lucifer. The band’s already multi-flavoured sound is stretched again as the track’s alternative metal breeding reveals the seed of bands similar to Faith No More, Dog Fashion Disco, and Mushroomhead though emerging as inimitable Transport League alchemy. Simply put though, as to be honest applying to all tracks within the album, it is inventively yet instinctively bred rabid rock ‘n’ roll and proved unapologetically irresistible.

Vultures is next up, the song immediately wrapping grooved sonic wires around the senses then manipulating them like a puppeteer to its own carnal swing. Carnivorous in every essence, viral with just as forceful a zeal, the track is another esurient stalking and a major contender for best track honours while Vanished Empire brings its own creative enmity to bear with dissonance carrying craft and again a strain of rabidity to offer its own imposing challenge.

Facedown Bondage might not quite have ignited the same heights of delirium but with its southern rock irritancy and contagion aligned to groove metal embroiled contention it too proved thick pleasure to breed greed for as too Slave In Orbit with its low slung stoner grooves and funk metal intimation. As with all tracks though, it is the perpetual current of imagination which adds the unpredictability and individuality that seals already done deals.

The final pair of Creature Grunts and Rabid Horizon leaves nothing to be desired as A Million Volt Scream departs as impressively as it began. The first is another song which sparks thoughts of Mike Patton and co at certain moments as it hungrily strolls, its severe catchiness spun with intoxicating grooves and rhythms which manage to simultaneously punish and seduce. The final track is basically a slab of untamed rock ‘n’ roll, a beast of intensity and motion which even the dearly departed could not prevent swinging their bones to.

Their sound is indeed boogie from the inferno below though such it’s and specifically the inescapable temptation of A Million Volt Scream it is hard to tell if Transport League work for the Devil or he dances to their tune.

A Million Volt Scream is out now via Mighty Music; available @ http://targetshop.dk/transport-league and https://targetgroup.bandcamp.com/album/a-million-volt-scream-2

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Pete RingMaster 090/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Promethium – Revisions

Exploring the acoustic soul of their songs is a venture which few metal bands undertake or at least publically share but one that UK metallers Promethium has embraced. The spark to that exploration came in 2017 when the band was asked to play an acoustic slot at SOS Festival. Such the enjoyment band and fans shared it led to enquiries about an acoustic album and now two years on we have the seriously captivating Revisions.

The album features a collection of reworked tracks from the Lancaster quintet’s three albums and two EPs; songs which have shed heavy metal bodies to unveil their acoustic hearts through the prowess of vocalist Steven Graham and guitarist Daniel Lovett-Horn. Those familiar to a sound bred on inspirations ranging from Black Sabbath and Pantera to Metallica and Megadeth know it is a redoubtable and rousing proposition but one Promethium reveal a new depth and a fresh voice and power to tracks which have already left a potent impact.

Revisions opens with Tribute To The Fallen and as Lovett-Horn’s guitar coaxes ears and attention already there is a new sense of drama and intimacy to one of Promethium’s most compelling songs. Once Graham’s earnest tones join in, the track resonates in craft and emotion simultaneously revealing a new strength and depth of melancholy to immerse in.

Further new shades and aspects in the familiar characters of songs continue to be unveiled as the likes of Shellshock and Enemies Fate step forwards to equally enthral; the melodic hearts of all beacons in the dramatic arms of sorrow and reflection as echoed by the touchingly relatable intimacy of Nothing and the broader apocalyptic reflection of 20, 21, 15.

The following Visions features the guest vocals of Hannah Morris, her siren tones easily luring ears and imagination onto the mournful rocks of Graham’s voice and words. It is another gripping and powerful moment within Revisions joining every song in providing a majorly absorbing moment as shown again and again by the addictive likes of Murder Inc, Crashing Down Pt2. Reflections and Rain.

Sons Revenge completes the release, it too a piece of fascination as the craft and emotion of Graham and Daniel Lovett-Horn further highlights the strength and power of the band’s songwriting  whilst bringing new aspects of fear, heart, drama, and potency to tracks which have generally already proved striking propositions.

Revisions is for sure a must for all Promethium fans but equally a real pleasure for all with the appetite for powerful songwriting, melodic and emotional intensity, and creative dexterity.

Grab your copy of Revisions now @ https://www.promethiumband.com/shop

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Pete RingMaster 05/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Forlorn Hope – Over The Hills

Providing not only a heavy metal bred roar but equally an adventure thick historical education, Over The Hills is the debut album from British quintet Forlorn Hope. It is a release borne of creative instincts, keen interests, and talent spun craft and an encounter which leaves you feeling like you are potentially looking in on the first chapter of a band destined to majorly flourish.

Hailing from Merseyside, Forlorn Hope gave notice of things to come with a self-titled first EP in 2018, a release which added to a growing reputation sparked by an impressive live presence which subsequently saw them perform at the Northern Symphony Festival and in the Merseyside heat of the national Metal to the Masses competition as well as earn support slots alongside Raven and Eleine. It is easy to see and expect the band facing far greater opportunities and acclaim in the wake of the release of Over The Hills; its blend of classic and heavy metal with other hues of goodness a rich and rousing temptation even for appetites right here which do not instinctively navigate to those particular flavours of sound.

A collection of tracks recalling stories of horror and heroism from the Peninsular War of 1807-1814, Over The Hills is as lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Simpson tells: “… a blazing, heavy metal tribute to one of the most fascinating chapters in military history. It represents the realisation of a concept several years in the making, and the culmination of countless hours of work.” Its intricacies and intensive endeavour align with meticulously researched lyrics and imaginatively layered sound alike yet equally each track provides an anthemic force echoing the heroic and blood strewn drama of that moment in history.

A melodically wired, suspenseful and familiarly toned Introduction leads straight into the majestic lures of Vive L’Empereur. Set around the rise and conquests of protagonist Napoleon Bonaparte, the track is as foreboding as it is captivating. Within its walls the guitar of Alex Bishop weaves a web of intrigue amidst fiery tempting as Simpson’s vocals potently narrate as throughout threat and enticement entangle, the track relishing the animated keys of Jade McKenna and the break out of group chants.

It is a magnetic full start to the album but quickly eclipsed by Rifles and its tribute to legendary British sharpshooters, the 95th Rifles. The rhythmic canter of bassist John Roughley and drummer Danny Kelly instantly consumed limbs and energy, Simpson’s vocal lead sparking throat and spirit while keys again stir the imagination as guitars connect all with their animated and skilfully cast riffs and threads.

As Talavera instils its own stirring presence and War in the Shadows springs its furtive yet incisive dynamics, ears and album continued to unite with keen appetite; the first a boisterous gallop with nostrils flared and melodic instincts inflamed upon a rhythmically driven charge and its successor a prowling and trenchant trespass thick with imagination entangling hooks and massive galvanic rhythms.

With their combined prowess proving seriously compelling, the individual endeavour and craft of the band is just as potent and at times seriously striking as proven yet again within the tenacious theatre of The Eagle Hunters and the vigorous anthemic assault of Die Hard, the latter unleashing a chorus and aggression sure to inflame any battlefield let alone venue.

The enticing way Forlorn Hope aligns fierce at times almost feral hostility with melodic fire and elegance is no better highlighted than within the tantalising Badajoz.  Its portentous calm before the storm beginnings is pure captivation and only reinvigorated by the musically interpreted oncoming assail on the city before Man of Secrets, Man of Honour shares a riveting homage to Colquhoun Grant; another track which freely manipulated body and vocal chords let alone imagination.

The pair of Masterstrike, with its own particular cauldron of sound and combat as well as an inescapable battle cry, and the equally dramatic Vitoria bring further ear enticing campaigns of persuasion to the album while the outstanding Over the Hills and Far Away provides a glorious melodic/acoustic fired finale and tribute to the lost and fallen, heroes and antagonists shared before it.

It is not quite the close of Over The Hills though as a great bonus in the shape of the song Forlorn Hope brings down the album’s dramatic curtain; it another moment when vocal roars and spirit driven contributions with its creators was inevitable.

Classic heavy metal is not generally the source of instinctive pleasure here at The RR but Over The Hills went down a storm from its first breath which tells all.

Over The Hills is out now @ https://forlornhope.uk/store

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Pete RingMaster 02/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Spreading The Disease – Mindcell EP

From their very first single a few months short of four years back, the sound of UK metallers Spreading The Disease has been a contagious eventful trespass which has evolved almost by the song let alone release.  It has been a growth driven by creative drama and rich imagination which is now unleashing its fullest, most striking roar within new EP, Mindcell; five tracks of ravening ferocity wrapped in bold enterprise which confirms and further establishes the Kent hailing outfit as one truly individual and compelling proposition.

As its predecessor, the Insurrection EP released late 2017, was borne from a bolder step in the character and enterprise of the band’s sound, so Mindcell openly reveals another thick step in its blooming. Into the EP’s fertile and atmospheric asylum Spreading The Disease weave their richest web of styles and flavours yet; uniting the familiar and the adventurously unique in a tempest of sound which just demands attention.

Obsession opens things up, an initial sonic stand swiftly pulling in a tempest of noise, aggression, and vocal ferity. As barbarous as it is there is also an instinctive virulence to the assault which only escalates as the track hits its savage groove. The throat of vocalist Connor Russell Snyder is a fury of emotion and threat but equally an incitement of feral melody as the song breaks from its wild incursion into a voraciously catchy chorus. From start to finish the track is superb, the rhythmic blitz of drummer Jack Apell and bassist Steve Saunders, the band’s founder, as manipulatively resourceful as it is hungrily barbarous and entangled in just as magnetic and enterprising exploits from guitarists James Falconer and Martin Osbourne with each broadening their imagination by twist and turn.

The mighty start continues as Voices rises from sonic mist, the disturbed edge of its intimation fuelling and springing the controlled but hellacious surge of intensity which follows. It too is just a vehicle for subsequent imagination to emerge, dark calm and insecure vocal reflection crooning before erupting in its own bedlamic fury. That too is just a moment breeding another individual moment, the song a fluid patchwork of schizophrenic twists spilling pure magnetism from start to finish; it all crafted with individual prowess and emotive intensity.

The following groove metal swing of The Anger Inside is just as potently captivating, the track equally a bruising and harassing slab of nu meets death metal  soaked rock ‘n’ roll easily and quickly getting under the skin. Apell and Saunders steer the track through ears with sheer power and riveting guile respectively with the sonic cunning and causticity of Falconer and Osbourne similarly stirring and imposing.

Just as forceful and rousing are the vocal exploits of Snyder, their adventure no more potent than gracing next up Waves. Its gentle melodic lapping of the senses borders hypnotic, guitars and bass colluding in an alluring kaleidoscope of temptation before being urged into more caustic endeavour by the scything swings of Apell. Again there is a feral a quality to sound and song even within its mellow serenading and a progressively lined enterprise which adds to its increasing irresistibility and inevitable persuasion.

Conflicted brings things to a just as rich and potent close; the track opening with a groove which is as familiar as it is tempting. Soon though it’s untamed heart infests every emerging aspect, Snyder masterful astride its contagious trespass. To this at times, there is a hue of bands such as American Head Charge and Mudvayne but great essences soon devoured and reimagined by the viral exploits of Spreading The Disease.

Quite simply Mindcell is the finest moment to escape the creative institution of Spreading The Disease, one which should draw the spotlight it loudly declares the band deserves.

Mindcell is out now through Surgery Records; available from all platforms.

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Pete RingMaster 16/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hamerex – The Abyss Vol. 1

The Abyss Vol. 1 is the first part of a trilogy from UK heavy metallers Hamerex, a collection set to be fully released by the end of the year. The four track encounter just uncaged is a powerful and inventive assault of a sound which has been stirring up the senses and praise since the band first emerged back in 2004. Consisting of two new tracks and two previously released songs which have been re-recorded and infused with the stirring evolution surging through the band’s sound, The Abyss Vol. 1 is basically a compelling slab of voracious rock ‘n’ roll.

Hailing from Wakefield, Hamerex was formed by vocalist/guitarist Steve Blower. Starting with debut album Rites Of Passage in 2012, the band’s releases have drawn potent praise, its successor IX the following year and third album Traitor in 2016 sparking acclaim as too before the latter, The Last Ride EP. Each has revealed an open growth and maturity in the band’s sound which has a new head with The Abyss. The new EP is also the first release to feature bassist Marc Hood and drummer Sharif Diz Dyson alongside Blower and guitarist Andy Firth.

It immediately roars upon the senses with opener The Extremist, riffs devouring ears as rhythms voraciously pounce and drive the track through ears. Blower’s vocals have no restraint either but come with a more composed attack as the sounds ravage and incite. Heavy and more extreme metals textures collude in the tempest, every hook and groove as threatening as they are flirtatious with every bass growl and flying beat accentuating each magnetic trait. The track which originally appeared on XI, just hits the spot as familiar and unique sounds and textures come together with rapacious intent.

The following Broken is just as bold and tenacious on the ears though it prowls the listener before unleashing its web of melodically inviting and sonically fiery enterprise; never going for the jugular but blending seduction and threat all the same. One of the new tracks it just ignites big anticipation for what is to follow across the other EPs ahead as too its fellow newcomer, Crucifixion. Featuring Hood on lead vocals, the track storms ears with a thrash nurtured surge, Blower and Firth infesting the senses as grooves incessantly nag. Darker ruinous hues invade backing vocals and in turn the climate of the incitement, the track continuing to revolve between heavy and extreme metal predation until its final toxic expulsion.  Both tracks suggest a new and striking evolution in the band’s sound which as suggested earlier makes the other two episodes in this trilogy very easy to get excited for.

In between those two songs is The Dark Tower which first infested ears upon Traitor. The tendril of guitar drawing attention to its body is pure enticement as too the subsequent heavy metal rumble of the encounter and its tart melodic veining.

All four tracks suggest that Hamerex is at the beginning of a new chapter in their sound but it is the new pair which really excites ensuring the next volumes of The Abyss will be eagerly welcomed.

The Abyss Vol. 1 is out now and available across most online stores and @ https://hamerex.bandcamp.com/album/the-abyss-vol-1

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Pete RingMaster 12/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright