Lightfoils – Hierarchy

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Bringing a fire and fiercely textured depth rarely heard before in shoegaze, Chicago quintet Lightfoils release debut album Hierarchy to mesmerise, subdue, and inflame the senses. Like a voracious mix of The Capsules and The Mouth of Ghosts but openly individual, the band’s sound and release is a breath-taking wind of poetic invasiveness, an adventure of sultry landscapes within a hazy swamp of emotive and smoulderingly intensive melodic skies. There are times that the release truly imposes on ears and psyche but from start to finish the album is a compelling and fascination blaze of cavernous warm sounds and shimmering transfixing ingenuity.

Consisting of vocalist Jane Zabeth, guitarists Neil Yodnane and Zeeshan Abbasi, bassist Cory Osborne, and drummer John Rungger, Lightfoils emerged in 2010. Since their first steps the band has shared stages with the likes of Ringo Deathstarr, Telescopes, Nightmare Air, and Ume as well as playing at SXSW in 2012, all the time increasing their presence and growing fan base. Their self-titled EP of two years ago set attention and anticipation in motion which the Sanford Parker album is set to take to new levels and intensity such its impressive proposition.

An atmospheric caress wraps ears first as opener Polar Waves emerges to set the album off, its soft yet haunting touch soon joined by jabbing beats and a broody bass tone alongside a web of jangling guitar and angelically a3054064102_2harmonious vocals. It is a rich and enveloping mix which croons as it immerses the imagination into its presence, soaking ears and emotions in a melodically humid flight of endearing enterprise. It is also a merger of light and shadows, the rhythms and bass bringing darker depths to the slightly chilling yet captivating voice of the song cast by heated guitars and vocals. It is a striking and mesmeric start to the encounter but soon finding itself in the shade of its successor.

Last One is a killer of a song, from its first rhythmic anthemic tantalising swiftly joined by the rugged charm of raw guitar and the seemingly persistently cantankerous bass tones, it dances with the passions. Keys as in the first soar across ears and the ceiling of the song but spread a more expansive and potent emotive soundscape here beneath which there is a primal energy and irresistible bait enslaving thoughts. Adding a slight post punk steel to the canvas of temptation, predominantly through the bass of Osbourne, and a distinct flame of abrasing sonic colouring to the flaming climate, the track is a mouth-watering and thrilling wash of invention led by the siren-esque call and harmonies of Zabeth.

Those same mesmeric temptations permeate the dynamic emprise of Addict, a track which stirs the blood from the outset with its scorching sonic welcome and subsequent anthemic stride aligned to a bewitching weave of aggravated sinews and sweltering enchantments. The track boils with contagious intensity and squalling hues throughout, igniting ears through to emotions with its rigorously expressive, almost antagonistic heart and abrasing crystalline beauty.

Diastolic similarly grips attention and a by now raging appetite for the album, its first coaxing of that constantly delicious and grizzling bass tempting binding a concentrated focus. It is a lure aided just as rivetingly by guitar and crisps rhythms. The spine of rhythmic invention and contagion across the whole of the album is simply irresistible, the dark spicing a perfect temper and complement for the flowing summery vocals and steamy melodies swirling overhead. The track is like a passionately orchestrated sunset, its rich hues and intriguing sonic scenery a shifting enthralling composition which embraces and seduces the whole body.

The following Mock Sun is a more laboured persuasion, a song which superbly blends the darker ravages of sound with smothering blazes of aural sun and seductive melodies but loses the key to the passions which previous tracks held so forcibly. Its central snarl though ensures the track leaves satisfaction full and the voice of Zabeth in control of emotions before making way for the excellent Passage. The track glides effortlessly across the senses, a glaze of House Of love and My Bloody Valentine stroking ears before a fiery swell of endeavour and energy brews in its belly. The song is a lingering seduction, its melodic lips searching and glancing over every inch of the senses and imagination like a celestial lover spawned from a darker corner of temptation. One of the pinnacles of the release, the track gloriously sends emotions into rapture before an untitled instrumental comes in to treat the imagination. The piece is a spatial soar with heavenly whispers and pulsating tones but seems out of place certainly where it is on the album. As an intro or outro it would have been an embracing to dive within but where it is truthfully you are just looking to the next track.

Next up alovetodestroy seeps from its predecessor with an echoing swarm of sound which in turn triggers a feisty expulsion of grippingly aggravated rhythms and icy bass taunting around which Zabeth and guitars sculpt another sizzling romance fuelled further by the evocatively potent keys. The song is as busy and lively as it is rigorously beguiling, heating up the senses for Hideaway to cast its wily melodies and alluring charm over. A gentler floating of spiritual aural seducing compared to the previous track, the song engulfs the listener in a bordering on tempestuous atmosphere which you only want to bask in.

Completed by another nameless piece of skilful composing and vivid realisation and as the previous piece against the other tracks less compelling even with its cinematic quality, Hierarchy is a cosmic and reflective fantasy brought to rich aural life. Lightfoils has crafted an immersive escape within which you can find hope, shadows, and unbridled pleasure.

Hierarchy is available now via Saint Marie Records @ http://saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com/album/hierarchy

https://www.facebook.com/Lightfoils

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

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Unveiling seasons: an interview with Jon Kunz of Rivers of Nihil

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The Conscious Seed of Light is a startling album, a captivating confrontation which devours and stretches senses and thoughts alike with superbly accomplished textures and ruinous craft. The debut from UK progressive death metallers Rivers of Nihil it is an incendiary and uncompromising slab of inventive death metal which resourcefully and skilfully earns all the deserved acclaim it has and will receive. Seizing the opportunity to find out more we had the pleasure to talk about the album, its theme, production and much more with guitarist Jon Kunz.

Hello Jon and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us some background to the band, it members, and the time leading up to and the beginnings of Rivers of Nihil?

The band was formed in the spring of 2009. Me, Ron, and Jake played in a band prior to forming Rivers of Nihil. We played 1 show as a trio, with Brody and Biggs joining almost immediately after the show. They both were the core of a band who had line-up problems , so they decided to end the band and join up with us. Biggs actually played bass on the first Rivers of Nihil demo, which was a Basement recording of “Human Adaptation”. Brody also filled in for a few shows on second guitar in our old band, so the connection was already there. We tried unsuccessfully to have Brody join Rivers when we first formed, but he was still committed to his other band.

Was there a particular intent or drive to the band as it came to life?

After our old band ended, me and Ron continued to jam on some stuff, but nothing really was working out. We were bullshitting one night about playing shows and how much fun we had, so we figured we’d try to do another band and play death metal. That was the only goal when the band formed and still is our main goal to this day.

Tell us about the band name, is there a big story/meaning behind it or is it just one which emerged and sounded good?

Like any other band naming process, we were throwing around name and Jake said “river of nihilist” or something similar that sounded cool but didn’t make sense whatsoever. I thought of “rivers of nihil” as the idea of existence being nothing. We made the idea fit the name after we came up with it , so it really means nothing.

You have just released your impressive debut album The Conscious Seed of Light, a release we called a demanding and intrusion affair as RiversOfNihil-TheConsciousSeedOfLightwell as one which constantly stimulates and ignites the imagination and passions. There is a definite organic feel to the offering as it provokes and incites the senses; how much is natural evolution in your music and how much of the album was a deliberate steering of its direction and intent?

Thank you! We’re glad the album moved you in such a way. We were looking for a very bleak and depressive atmosphere, something that can give you the chills. That much was intentional, as was the way we approached the songwriting. With the exception of the older tracks we re-recorded, we wanted to write songs, no just some riff and riff thing.

The album is according to the promo release with it, the first of ‘four separate albums tied together with one common theme: each reflecting a particular season of a year.’ Can you expand on that for us and will there be an intense and interlinking connection to the releases than just the overall idea?

Each album will be tied together by the seasons. The next will be the summer. How it’s linked together besides the seasons? Wait and see….

The songs within The Conscious Seed of Light undoubtedly work singularly but equally do feel as if part of a larger canvas. How easy was that to achieve or was it more a case of letting tracks find their own place in the theme naturally?

There wasn’t any thought of naturally linking the songs, rather we wrote them to be able to stand strong on their own before anything else such as theme or concept. When the record was finished being written, we realized they all offer something different but still work cohesively which is awesome. We definitely want the listener to take in the whole thing in from front to back though.

How does the songwriting and its realisation work within Rivers Of Nihil from a song’s initial concept?

Either me or Brody will come forward with some riffs or even a whole song and we’ll start working on it in the practice spot. The last few songs that were written we’re demoed on Brody’s computer , so that is something that we’ll be moving towards with songwriting for the next album.

You recorded The Conscious Seed of Light with legendary producer Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel). How did that come about and how was the experience?

We’re forever indebted to Erik. He reached out to us after we released our first EP expressing how much he dug the band and wanted to record us if the opportunity ever presented itself. Being able to record with a death metal legend such as Erik was incredible and something we’ll all keep in mind for the rest of our lives.

Did you learn new things about your songs whilst working with Erik and what emerged most potently from the recording which you will take into future releases?

For sure…the biggest thing we realized is a lot of our riffs, especially the octave chord ones, are a huge pain in the ass to record due to our low tuning. We had a hell of a time keeping our guitars in tune perfectly for those parts. I think we look at riffs more closely in that regard now.

riversofnihilband2013_638Do your songs continue to evolve from their  ‘demo’ state in the recording process or are you a band which has a pretty much tied down idea and intent with how tracks will emerge before entering the studio?

We have everything completely finished going into the studio. We do pre – production to keep things as smoothly as possible. The studio is stressful enough as it is, outfit it knowing the songs going in make it a million times harder.

How would you say your songwriting and sound has evolved since your early EPs, Hierarchy and Temporality Unbound of 2010 and 2011 respectively?

I’d say we’ve realized the power of song and feeling rather than sheer brutality. A lot of early stuff relied heavy on that, but it’s the easy thing to do for us. We find more enjoyment now doing things the way we do, but I guess you can relate that to growing up a bit. The first Rivers song was written when I was 18. I’m 23 now, I hope I’ve grown up a bit since then !

What brought about the link up with Metal Blade Records, who did the chasing 😉

Tour, tour, tour . Honestly I’d say the hard work we put into this band brought us to the attention of Metal Blade.

Can you tell us about the great artwork for The Conscious Seed of Light?

Dan Seagrave is the fucking man. When we were brainstorming ideas for album art, he was at the top of the list of artists we’d want. Luckily for us he dug the concept and we got a sick piece of artwork.

You are and have been touring and gigging intensely for the album, an area we assume which is just as much a potent outlet and adventure for your creativity and imagination, not forgetting energy. How has that been going and what is ahead for the rest of the year going into 2014?

Touring has been great for us. Being able to go out and see new places and meet new people is a huge reason why we do what we do. The energy you experience on stage is intense, it’s soul appeasing. We’ll continue to do what we do in 2014 and onward.

Are you already deep into plans of the next songs and album or is that too early to contemplate right now?rivers-of-nihil

Maybe 😉 the album was released less than a month ago, it’s still way too early.

We have our ideas but what does The Conscious Seed of Light hold which makes it an important and to our mind an essential investigation for our readers?

It’s hard for me to separate myself considering how much we put into the record. We try to keep it real. No bullshit.

Once again many thanks for sharing time with us. Would you like to leave a final thought or word?

Thank you for the interview ! Get drunk.

Read the review of The Conscious Seed of Light @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/rivers-of-nihil-the-conscious-seed-of-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 04/11/2013

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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