Shroud Eater – Face The Master

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If we are all going to burn in hell or be the playthings of the darkest forces then Shroud Eater may have come up with the perfect soundtrack with new two-track EP Face The Master. Like a demonic covenant between sludge, doom, and occult metal, the Florida hailing band’s sound is a web of ravenous melodic intent and riff laden ferocity. As evidenced on the new encounter it is also voraciously predatory, greedily devouring ears on its way to ultimately seducing the senses.

Face The Master follows the band’s acclaimed Dead Ends EP of 2013, an attention grabbing marker for Shroud Eater after the earlier exploits of a self-titled EP debut in 2009 and their well-received first album ThunderNoise two years later. Re-energised with a new line-up since that release, band and Face The Master roar from the first second never relenting until the last, easily showing why Shroud Eater has been compared to the likes of Kylesa, High on Fire, and Acid King but equally instilling another step forward in their own distinct and intensive sound.

SE_FtM_CoverFinal_Print     The EP’s title track opens with a sample from the 1979 TV movie Salem’s Lot, the voice of James Mason instantly luring in attention and imagination before riffs venomously cascade over the senses. The hellacious clutches of rhythms are similarly an inescapable onslaught, the hefty swings of drummer Davin Sosa primal bait and an uncompromising intrusion backed by the almost slavering bestiality of the basslines crafted by Janette Valentine. The riffs and rugged grooves expelled by guitarist Jean Saiz similarly show no mercy whilst both of the ladies vocals unite to savagely entrance body and emotions with hellish revelry. It is a thrilling and compelling mix, a track which is almost flirtatious with its searing melodic endeavour and danger loaded intrigue but as its sound a predator in character and intensity.

Face The Master is enough to wax lyrical about the EP but is swiftly backed by the brooding nature and consumption of House of Endings. If it is possible, the song is slightly lighter than its predecessor in that it has a more inviting swing to its gait, though that is tempered by the sonic bellows and the dark almost malevolent hearted tones of the bass. The guitar of Saiz sculpts a terrain of snarling almost rabid riffs which prowls song and the senses whilst simultaneously casting a spell of acidic and sultry melodic enterprise as intoxicating as it is piercing. The track, as the first, consumes body and thoughts, igniting and exhausting both with sonic invention and intensive energy respectively.

Shroud Eater maybe already drawing references to the metal giants already mentioned but on the evidence of the outstanding Face The Master, they will be standing by their sides very soon.

Face The Master is available from April 7th via Primitive Violence Records & Visual on regular and special-edition cassette, and digitally @ http://shroudeater.bandcamp.com/album/face-the-master

Upcoming Shroud Eater tour dates:

Wednesday April 22 – Savannah, GA @ The Jinx

Thursday April 23 – Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood

Friday April 24 – Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

Saturday April 25 – NYC, NY @ St. Vitus

Sunday April 26 – Washington DC @ TBA

Monday April 27 – Wilmington, NC @ TBA

Tuesday April 28 – Charleston, SC – “Tunnel of Lust” House Show

https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater   http://www.shroudeaterrocks.com/

RingMaster 07/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

Abstracter – Wound Empire

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Thrusting the listener into a doomed physical and emotional landscape, a stark yet compelling void, US doomers Abstracter enchant and suffocate with the impressive Wound Empire. Four tracks to immerse within gleefully whilst expanding into the darkest corners of the psyche, the forty minute long album is a tantalising and fearsome journey though the rawest of climates over uncompromising wastelands.

Wound Empire is the successor to debut album Tomb of Feathers; a new encounter which those in the know suggest finds the Oakland band taking their already acclaimed sound to further reaching intensive heights. Breeding their own bordering on hallucinatory soundscapes within Wound Empire from inspirations which range from essences of Godfesh, Swans, and Neurosis to His Hero is Gone, Blut Aus Nord, Dystopia, and Darkthrone, Abstracter recorded their release with Greg “The Wizard of Doom” Wilkinson (Brainoil, Iron Lung, High On Fire, Noothgrush, OM, Atriarch) last year. Continuing their “fascination with concepts of human decline, cultural and industrial ruin, and complete social collapse,” the band swiftly engulfs and incites from the release’s first breath.

Lightless opens on a sonic breeze, broadening its haunted cold presence through raw caresses of guitar and a resonating heavy bass tone. As the whole of the album’s proposal, the track is a slow expansion of sound but every note and heavy lure offers a potent piece in an emerging picture. Once in full caustically scenic view, riffs gnaw and beckon with corrosive breath and infectious nature whilst the bass turns carnivorous in sound and predation as it prowls the track’s primordial terrain. Oppressively heavy and crushingly merciless, the doom drenched offering surprisingly has a potent swagger and contagiousness to its unsettling presence, a catchiness to enthral and grip ears and body as imagination and emotions are buffeted and ignited by the sonic enterprise.

There is no respite from the cavernous depths and cold of the climate evolved in its predecessor as Open Veins follows; the blackened sludge reaped tar of sound and coarse emotions a FINAL_ABSTRACTER_jacketmelancholic poison seeping over flesh and thought whilst crust caked vocals roar and slowly squally within the invasive doom. Slim but toxic grooves only add to the allure and detached nature of the track, their minimalistic but rich tempting a vine to grip as the rest of the sounds and vocals groan with the breath of hell.

The transfixing presence of Cruciform comes next and by this point the realisation that Wound Empire should definitely be taken as one fluid dose rather than individual apocalyptic descents into glacial prisons is evident. It is fair to say that the track holds none of the almost welcoming traits of its predecessors but still has some form of catchiness to its flight into the heart of the soulless; its sounds binding as they erode air and senses with caustic persistence.

Wound Empire is concluded by Glowing Wounds, a calmer slightly celestial tempting which still remains encased in an immense doom sculpted embrace. The track is as meditative as it is sonically fierce, a lingering flight across radiant hopes but accompanied by an insidious hold of unrelenting blackened malevolence. A masterful end to a seriously riveting encounter, song and album will not be an easy fit for all, but offers a thought and emotion provoking arousal each can take something from. In the dark times and world which encroaches on us all, it is releases like this and its groan of hell rather than most tirades of words which brings the cold reality home.

Wound Empire is released in the US and Europe on February 10th 2015 digitally via Sentient Ruin Laboratories @ http://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/wound-empire, on cassette through Sentient Ruin Laboratories and An Out Recordings, on CD by COF Records, and in vinyl version by Fragile Branch Recordings in the US and Vendetta Records, 7Degrees Records, and Shove Records across Europe.

http://abstracterband.com/

RingMaster 10/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Obelyskkh – Hymn To Pan

pic by_MikeWiener_

pic by_MikeWiener_

With the exceptional 2012 album White Lightnin’ thrusting its creators upon the doom/sludge metal map it is fair to say that anticipation for its successor was hunger driven. The third album Hymn To Pan from German metallers Obelyskkh more than satisfies that craving, offering six expansive sonic and heavily boned consumptions which in some ways continue where their predecessors left off but have evolved and stretched their melodic abrasive teachings to new intense and hue drenched levels. It is an album which steals attention with ease and ignites the imagination for expressive senses scorching ventures, and though after numerous traverses of its impacting soundscape it arguably remains slightly in the shadow of the previous release, the record is a beautifully sculpted and inventively delivered acidic treat.

Founded in 2008 as a project for guitarist Torsten (ex- The Walruz and Vs. The Stillborn-Minded) to explore his ideas and invention with the help of friend Adi, the band nevertheless grew and took on its own expansive destiny. First came the addition of bassist Steffen from seminal German stoner rock band Desert Sun, who after time moved to the drums with multi-instrumentalist David taking over the four stringed exploits. Though still not intended as a fully operational band the release of debut album Mount Nysa in 2011 seemed to trigger something for Obelyskkh. Sold out within three weeks and covered in strongly positive responses, the album was just one fire erupting at the time as a 2-minutes live footage clip of the band on YouTube led the band to be inundated with interest and offers from promoters in Germany and other European countries and subsequently into an exhaustive period of shows and festivals appearances. Last year saw the Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Eyehategod, High On Fire, Melvins) recorded White Lightnin’ unleashed to mass acclaim and fervour. It was a startling release which brought new blood and flavour to the doom/stoner/sludge scene, though as with the new album it offered plenty more varied appetisers for the passions too.

The second album through Exile On Mainstream, Hymn To Pan is an even more aggressive and cutting encounter compared to the last, EOM064_coverRGBits breath bordering a battle cry and its intensity warlike though equally the depth of melodic temperance and emotive depths are as evocative and enthralling as ever. The title track dawns with a morning song of birds and fresh air before horns call the attention and physical intent of the world. Slowly awakening with rhythms stretching their energy and invitation, the track soon has sinews fully flexed with riffs adding war paint to the experience and mass vocals combining in a feisty union. The sonic colour of the guitars brings greater imagery and intensity to the piece sparking the imagination to add its own potent additional narrative. As mentioned it all feels like an awakening to a riveting conflict not only of a violent nature but of a harsh and demanding realm, and makes for a mighty hook into the rest of the album.

The Ravens emerges from the shadows next with a much more predacious attitude and weight to its stalking, riffs oppressive and strikingly heavy as they encase the ear in inescapable menace before allowing a breath to be taken through a reassuring melodic temptation. It is short lived as the band continues their thick doom fuelled tsunami of noise and intensity. The vocals also find a rapacious snarl and intimidation to match the enveloping sound, the unrelenting toxicity of the track veined by seductive melodic teasing and sonic tales. It is a scintillating funereal prowl which offers enough to intrigue and keep things fresh but equally has the restraint to force its triumph deeper with repetition and drone clad beauty.

Littered with telling samples, The Man Within takes mere moments to spark greater ardour, its malevolence of sound and vocal attack fearsome and invigorating. The track has an insatiable rabidity which borders on brutality at times, certainly a ruinous intent, whilst the bass and guitars spin a merciless steel web of sonic and voracious violence within another uncompromising and thrilling rhythmic cage.

From the highest pinnacle of the album forged by the previous two songs, the likes of Heavens Architrave and Horse build upon the already entrenched satisfaction with their individual presences, the first a more merciful embrace rife with a tonic of melodic enticement and great vocal beckoning, though still skirted by the damning rapacity already scarring the senses, whilst its successor from opening with a sample from the movie Warriors, employs a leisurely hunt upon the ear before savagely adding further violation with barbarous hostility. With grooves scorching flesh and the throaty sonic poison seeping through every pore the song is a masterful tempest.

Final track Revelation: The Will To Nothingness is a twenty minute plus behemoth, an evolving beast which is in no hurry to explore its narrative and give the senses any form of peace. A raw and ravaging vehemence from the off with a death spawned growl vocally and musically, the song moves through its own unique and aggravated world. Heightened flames of melodic sultriness and sonic heat coax the imagination in further as they take over the journey before things further twist and change throughout the lengthy soundscape. For personal tastes the track does out stay its welcome in parts and in a condensed state might have made a stronger impact, though equally it could lose the potency it has. It is nevertheless an enriching conclusion to another triumph from Obelyskkh. Admittedly passions are still lit up more by White Lightnin’ to be honest, but Hymn To Pan is undoubtedly one of the finest doom fuelled stoner lit metal exploits this year and more everyone’s full attention.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObelyskkhRitual

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Clashing sinews and sonic deities: an interview with Gregg Higgins of Venomous Maximus

Photo by Mark C. Austin

Photo by Mark C. Austin

 Rock/metal, however you wish to describe the enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy that is the music of Venomous Maximus it is a confrontation which leaves you gasping and hungry for more. The recent worldwide re-release of their debut album Beg Upon The Light has slammed the quartet right in the midst of the most rapacious yet sonically rewarding bands today. Towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms crowd maelstroms of irresistible grooves and an intensity which staggers within the impressive release backing up the almost fearsome reputation of their live performances. Given the welcome opportunity to quiz and dig deeper into the band with vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins, we soon realised this is much more than a band for the man and his colleagues.

Hi Gregg welcome to the RingMaster Review and many thanks for taking time to talk to us.

First of we will ask for the benefit of those yet to be fully acquainted with Venomous Maximus can you give us some background to the beginnings of the band and its members?

I am an artist and a tattooer. Our drummer Bongo builds motorcycles. Trevi is a math mathematician and a hot sauce master and Christian makes everything happen. I moved to Houston 6 years ago and had been planning for 4 or 5 years on starting the band. I was just waiting on the perfect time and the right people. Then everything fell into place…the end.

Was there an immediate connection musically and in thought about how the band would progress between you?

Yes of course. We weren’t getting anyone involved if they had to be taught anything. I think that’s important when putting together a band. Not just finding members that can just play the music. They have to understand the master plan.

Some bands have a ‘leader’, a founder who is the prime force behind the direction or creative input is that the same with Venomous Maximus or is it a more democratic process within the band?

It’s like being on a submarine. It’s a tight ship with not a lot of space to move around. Everyone has a role and job in the band and doesn’t have to be told what to do. I am the main creative force but it’s just a bunch of ideas. Everyone puts in their input but they are the ones that actually make it happen.

You are seemingly tagged as anything from an occult rock band to a doom or heavy rock. I am not sure any of those truly describe your intense flavoursome rock’ n’ roll, how would you describe your massive sounds?

The whole name game that is involved with underground music is getting pretty silly now days. None of it really matters it should be just for fun and a way to describe and communicate what bands sound like to friends. Our goal was if we play a metal show we are the rock band. If we play a rock show we are the metal band. A chameleon if you will.

I have to ask the about the seeds to the great band name, which alone raises images personally of an insidious dark unknown with

gladiatorial strength and purpose.

You have given the best description of the name. When I hear it that’s what I think of… A titan or god from the ancient world. It basically comes from a tattoo design from the 60s and 70s of a solider that has been away from home a little too long.

Lyrically your songs also approach and investigate the unknown and unspoken shadows. Is this an interest which goes beyond just writing songs?

Yes of course. All of the material comes from experiences or situations I have found myself in over the years. I am not signing about graphic novels or movies or religions. This shit is real man!

Your excellent originally self –released debut album Beg Upon The Light has just been given a re-release through Napalm Records, did they come to you with the offer or were you searching for a wider outlet for the release?

We have always had the attitude whatever happens… happens and Napalm was very interested immediately. Some other labels hit us up but we didn’t wanna get lost in the mix so we decided to go with our gut.

So they were not alone in showing interest over past months or so?

Yea I guess I don’t know what your idea of interested is. We can be pretty picky and choosy about dealings with our band. But most of the buzz has started again in the last couple months. The material on the record is getting old to us and time for some new tunes.

942460_10151622495054738_934875440_nBeg Upon The Light was very well received on its first unleashing, were you more confident with this world wide release or in some way more nervous than before?

Truthfully this band began with a spark and I have always known that we would grow into a flame. It’s kinda like when you meet a woman. Something is a little bit different about it…things just seems to work and flow naturally even when problems arise they seem to take care of themselves, almost guided if you will. When things seem to naturally work in life you shouldn’t question them. ..that’s arrogance to me.

The album follows your first EP The Mission of 2011, and though you are still young in terms of the time the band has been in existence how do you feel your music and songwriting has developed between releases and also what you are presumably coming up with as either new material or ideas now?

Yea I feel the material has grown light years. We spent a good two years just me and the drummer working on a set to finally scratch it when the band actually started playing. We spent damn near the 1st two years playing every week, there has been more time spent on stage than in a practice room now. When your material is written in a practice room compared to being written on the road and in a fully functioning band you really see what you’re made of. Right now we are in the process of writing the next record. I truly feel that it is a true interpretation of what we have wanted to sound like. Much more mature song writing with more of a classic approach to rock n roll than just metal or doom or fucking yea. Hopefully there will be a group of people that don’t like it because it’s not our old material… hahahaha…but they can live in the past and do nothing

How does the song writing process work within the band and are songs as good as completed before entering a studio or do you prefer evolving ideas within that environment more?

Its 3 parts me in my bedroom. Then brought to the practice room and then worked out for the stage. Once the kinks are worked out for performing the song, then the studio. All of the salt and pepper is put on in the studio through intense examination and then its dead to me.

Are you quite strict with yourselves over ideas and things that do or do not work when writing? Do you have a mound of elements discarded or shelved for another opportunity?

We treat the band as if it was a being. As if it’s a ghost. He has his own personality and own opinions and knows what he likes and if he wants to change or stay the same we have to respect his decision. We are just here for his voice to come through. He does half the work we do the other half, so not all the decisions are up to us.

Is it riffs or melodies which generally come first for songs, or do are more often triggered from the lyrical side of your invention?

Actually goes back and forth. A lot of times its lyrics and thoughts that really drive me to write a song, or it could be as simple as me jamming Fleetwood mac and going to the guys with we have to write a song like this our way. Which is normally slightly faster with a little bit of chuggy and a blues lick laid on top. If you got a sharp year you could relate every one of our songs to The Cure, Madonna, David Bowie, all the everyday music that elitist underground’s lie about how much they love. We don’t give a shit about any of that. One of my favorite bands is Enya and she ain’t even a band. hahahaha

Beg Upon The Light is an inventive and intensive ravishing which does not really allow any breaths to be taken within its leviathan like confrontation of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms as well as enthralling of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy, well how we see and feel it anyway. Is it a deliberate intent to have the listener use every part of body, senses, and emotions within its encounter or just something which naturally evolves?

I believe that all artists that have suffered and given their lives up so that they could interpret their experiences to art hope that other people will pick up on what you’re putting down. What you’re explaining is pure projection. It’s the same as someone is lying to you. You can sense they are full of shit, but when people are truly disturbed and upset to their core you can literally feel. Their emotions are so strong and being amplified so much that they literately travel from your body to yours…that’s one of the 12 super powers humans are naturally born with. It’s a shame that people in this modern technology world of information don’t even know the 12 special powers that only human beings possess…or I could be lying about all this. All that really matters is what rings true to you.

You hail from Houston, how would you say the city and surroundings have impacted on you as musicians and band either positively or negatively, if at all?

Houston is my home and I have many friends here but Texas is where I am from. Houston itself is a hell hole of grime and multi cultures. It’s like the New York of the south. One thing that it has provided for us is all the many flavors of culture. So it’s helped us be a little more diverse and not seem like hippie grass eaters from Austin or Pantera rednecks from Dallas. We love all the cities here we just love to talk shit too. It’s a Texas thing. Fun loving shit talking.

Is it a supportive metal scene there for new and emerging bands?vm

Texas can be the easiest and the roughest crowd anywhere you go. People don’t care about the bullshit politics of what kind of band you are. All the crowd wants is for you to play your hardest and get off stage and have a beer and talk to them like a real person. Everybody in Texas thinks about themselves as a rock star on or off stage. So the crowd doesn’t give a shit who you think you are. They wanna drink a beer with you.

You have a great reputation for your live performances and have played with the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC, the list goes on. Apart from great experience and recognition, what has playing with bands of this calibre brought to your own headlining shows now and in the future, again in a good or negative way?

From day one the bar has been set super high. More than 1/2 of the bands we have played with the members have been playing longer than I have been alive. The intimidation and self-consciousness got to a point of almost conquering me but I am not really one to fail. I will bite my own leg off to get out of a trap. So we had to really bear down and focus and stay out of the bar to figure out if we were gonna do this it’s gotta be all or nothing. But it was just a trial period. When things are forced to live up to a certain expectation after a while that’s just the level it becomes and then you get bored and you take it up a notch and up a notch and up a notch. It’s truly up to you if you ever want to stop progressing because the second you do. You can clearly hear it.

I sense you guys love the live side of the band intensely, more than the time and creative process involved in writing and recording new songs?

Our band is more than a band to us. It’s more like a cult. It’s taken over all of our lives and the wives of the band, but in a good way. It’s became something that brings us all together as people for birthdays, weddings, movie nights and just straight up weekend partying. Not everyone in the world still has the family they had when they were children but everyone needs a family whether they are blood or not. A band or anytime humans group together creativity and happiness should arise. so to answer your question yes this is way more than a band.

What has Venomous Maximus in store for the rest of the year and are we able to talk about a successor to Beg Upon The Light yet?

For the rest of year we are working on writing and recording the new record which will have videos, new line of merch, and a short film. We have a few shows sprinkled in the next couple months but we have worn ourselves thin so right now we are juggling our personal lives, writing and recording and planning most of next year.

Once again a big thanks for sparing time for us, anything you would like to say to the readers?

I wanna thank all the people that have taken their time to take a second glance at something and follow their gut when they feel that there’s a deeper meaning in things. If you ask the question is it going to happen to me that means it is and that’s the truth.

And finally what have been the five most potent inspirations on you musically or personally?

Music I would have to say Beethoven, Pink Floyd The Wall from 5th grade, The Crow and the Doors from 6th grade and for films that helped me get a visual for music. The lists can go on and on. I am the kinda of guy that’s good with lists. For some reason music from people who are sad or disturbed has always just made me happy. It’s the people who relish in superficial joys that make me angry and Kenneth Anger is the shit. Read books so you don’t have to wait

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

Read the Beg Upon The Light review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/venomous-maximus-beg-upon-the-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Venomous Maximus: Beg Upon The Light

VM Composite - Large

Released in North America last year, Beg Upon The Light the debut album of Texan Dark Occult Metal band Venomous Maximus gets its worldwide unleashing via Napalm Records, and a powerful deep mark it is sure to make. Ten tracks of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms alongside a web of potent irresistible grooves and an intensity which sweeps you off your feet, the album is an enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy wrapped in a classic metal inspired embrace. It and the band stand as a major stoner/doom clad player, their presence sure to be an inspiration to many.

The album follows their EP, The Mission of 2011, a release which set thoughts and appetite in strong motion with its promising start for a band which formed in 2010 and has since risen to be one of the most successful and important metal bands from Houston in recent years. Equally live the quartet has earned an enormous reputation  as they have lit up stages alongside the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC and many more. Now thrust into the faces of the full expanse of the globe Beg Upon The Light will take little time in persuading, one suspects, that it is one of those classic moments which defines a band and their presence in the ears of the world.

The ominous emotive keys opening up Funeral Queen instantly engage the imagination, the brewing darkly exotic atmosphere a 485 Venomous Maximusspark to devil spawned thoughts and challenging sonic caresses. As it closes the distant but distinct vocals of Gregg Higgins add their corruptive presence though his tones truly stand eye to eye with the listener at the beginning of the next up Path of Doom. His part spoken resonating tones provides here and across every song a glorious unique narrative which invites irresistibly the listener into the heart of the dark realms explored. From its opening crescendo of energy and potent sound the song prowls the senses with scorching flames from the guitars of Higgins and Christian Larson licking at the ear whilst Trevi Biles brings further menace with his bass lures. The track continues to roar and growl through to its thick and provocative conclusion, the band providing a sonic fire to eat at and ignite the senses.

From the immense start things only reach to another depth and plateau with firstly Give Up the Witch and then Father Time, the first of the pair a fresher version of a song from their first EP. Stroking the ear with sinew driven riffs and firm rhythms from drummer Bongo from its opening breath, the track is a primal contagion which incites the imagination and toys with the passions through spires of sonic wind and tumbling cascades of addiction causing rhythms whilst vocally again Higgins pulls us through an invocation of devilish mystique. It is a slice of compelling excellence soon matched by its atmospheric successor. With keys crafting the intriguing ambience a lone guitar colours thoughts with its emotive description whilst Higgins again paints the scene in his unique style. It is only a brief song but quite delicious as its sets up the climate for what is to follow.

Complete with bulbous beats and stalking rhythms the outstanding Dream Again (Hellenbach) is next to inflame the passions, its thick stoner fragrance a sizzling temptation within the uncompromising intensity and power of the track. Another major highlight of the release with grooves and sonic colours wrapping greedily around the listener, the song encapsulates every rich aspect of the individuals within Venomous Maximus, their absorbing songwriting and its invigorating burning realisation, and the union of everything into what surely is a major breakthrough into the echelons of metal for the band.

All through the exhausting Moonchild, the predacious Battle for the Cross, and the dramatic and antagonistic triumph that is Venomous Maximus, the album reinforces its riveting authority over the passions with inventive ease whilst Mother Milk is simply another emotionally conjured delight with strings providing a mesmeric melancholic cradling of the ear whilst quaint keys paint their equally suggestive hues. Quite stunning it is a masterful fascination leading into the final blaze of inventive ravishing, Hell’s Heroes, a lasting confrontation which sears and chews on the senses with rapacious riffs and rhythms veined by sonic radiance and vocal intimidation. Complete with more ridiculously contagious grooves it is a mighty end to a magnificent album.

Though lyrically you can question some of the ‘comic book’ like tales and the band does not break into many new arenas of invention with Beg Upon The Light, you will not have heard it before in the individual and thickly persuasive style as brought by Venomous Maximus. The album is an insatiable treat and one setting the band as a true force in world metal.

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

9/10

RingMaster 07/07/2013

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Lightning Swords of Death: Baphometic Chaosium

    byAdamMurray_bandpic2012

    Primal and bleak, Baphometic Chaosium the new album from occult black metal band Lightning Swords Of Death, is an unforgiving and unrelenting torrent of evocative and menacing irreverence. It is uncompromising and challenging to the core, a release which will ignite distrust and fear in some and instinctive rapture in others, but for all it will be a lingering, uncomfortable, and unforgettable experience.

Around six years ago the LA band grabbed attention with their debut album The Golden Plague, the release taking the provocative fusion of occult sciences and the exacting sounds of the bands put in motion two years earlier, into an open intrusive reality. The release alongside the devastating live performances of the band demanded and received impressive acclaim and attention with the band surrounding and following the album with stunning displays of insidious performances alongside the likes of Nachtmystium and High On Fire, and as openers on the Danzig Blackest Of The Black Tour. The band gave 2008 their second release in the shape of a split CD with Valdur which though limited to only availability at their live shows drew further unbridled praise. Signing with Metal Blade Records in 2010, the band with new drummer Mike Vega on board, unleashed their second album The Extra Dimensional Wound to again rich responses. A US tour with Kreator and a place on the Evangelia Amerika Tour headlined by Behemoth followed as did being hand -picked to support Immortal during their only Los Angeles appearance and a performance at the 2010 Scion Music Festival.

Now the band has returned as a quintet with lead guitarist Chris Velez joining vocalist Autarch, bassist Menno, guitarist Roskva, and039841515121 Vega, and an album in Baphometic Chaosium which leaves one feeling violated and enriched in equal measure. Described as a ‘devotional work, dedicated to their patron god – A mind altering experience compelled by the embodiment of chaos, death and ecstasy entitled’, the album is a black web of ravenous and spiralling intensity and vicious spiteful hunger.

The title track lays a haunting atmospheric scurry upon the senses before opening up thumping rhythms and grasping guitar caresses. The guttural pit-borne scowls of Autarch express the shadows with malevolence and venom whilst the song expands into a breath sucking weave of raptorial rhythms and oppressive riffs. The bass of Menno is a charnel soaked host of black intensity amongst the merciless riffing and corrosive vocals bringing additional magnetic depth to what is a relatively straight forward gait to the track yet one openly incendiary in inventive intent.

The strong start becomes a furnace of high tempo annihilation as Acid Gate next rampages through the ear to assault and condemn the senses to an exhausting and compelling violation. It holds no inkling of mercy or light, the dense blackened malice of the track an overwhelming seizure of emotions and thoughts. It as do all of the tracks,  erodes and permeates until the listener is infused with and enclosed in the black, light extinguishing intensity.

The swamp of hornet intense vehemence which drives Psychic Waters is a delicious and sensational demonic saturation of the senses whilst R’Lyeh Wuurm is the darkest fury of unforgiving riffs, destructive rhythms, and vocal threatening. It is an outstanding malefaction with a heart blacker than any devouring chasm and the sonic armoury to bring instant submission to its towering primal ravishment but the album reaches its most compelling malignant depths with Epicyclarium. Dispersing a mixed variation to the vocal encroachment let alone the inspired expanse of the music, the track is a sonic incantation for the darkest passions with a snarl and rumble to riffs and energy which awakens essences of early Killing Joke to the black metal satanic distillery. The nasty endeavour is with ease the best track on the album which considering the strength of all shows the height of its sensational confrontation.

Closing with Oaken Chrysalis and another striking and contagious emotional brawl, Lightning Swords of Death has created in Baphometic Chaosium, a release which impacts on all aspects of the body, emotions, and thoughts. Whether the album has enough to make it one which will head thoughts when best of lists are formed come December time will tell but it will certainly be in the considered pile.

https://www.facebook.com/lightningswordsofdeath

RingMaster 23/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Obelyskkh: White Lightnin’

Creating slabs of majestic and impactful thunderous doom/sludge metal with the riches of stoner and classic metal oozing from every breath, White Lightnin’ from German metalers Obelyskkh is a mighty and formidable release which ignites primal and deep pleasures within. It is an oppressive weighty avalanche of sonic manipulation with a leaden presence firing up satisfaction and increased adrenaline.

Formed in 2008, Obelyskkh was initially just a vehicle for the ideas of guitarist Torsten (ex- The Walruz and Vs. The Stillborn-Minded), to be explored alongside his friend Adi. It was never the intention to make it a fully operational band but as the addition of Steffen of seminal German stoner rock band Desert Sun joined first on bass before moving to drums and then multi-instrumentalist David on bass, things took off especially in 2011 which saw the release of the well received debut album Mount Nysa which sold out within three weeks of its introduction to the world via now defunct German label Droehnhaus. Alongside this the band found interest in them go viral on the web as from the seed of a 2-minutes live footage cut on Youtube, the band was inundated with interest and offers  from promoters in Germany and other European countries leading the band to an exhaustive time of clubs and festivals appearances. Recorded with Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Eyehategod, High On Fire, Melvins) and released via Exile On Mainstream, the new album is now set to place the band to the fore of the thoughts and lips of all genre and metal fans, with its white hot sonic invention and intensive caustic beauty an impressive rub.

The album opens with the deeply mesmeric and senses burning instrumental The Enochian Keys, a piece of composing to scar and blister whilst igniting raptures. The track teases and provokes the ear with a restrained yet greedy groove and smoking guitar riffing as incendiary as the heated ambience wrapping each and every note.

From the deeply magnetic charms of the starter the following Elegy is a more methodical lumbering beast of a track, its intensity as weighty as its elements are raw and abrasive. The guitars scrape flesh with their sonic acidic tones throughout with additional flares of sharp melodic rock enterprise sparking at times whilst the bass and drums powerfully frame the thick tar like atmosphere which envelopes from the start. The vocals add further depth to the track with their guttural urging alongside muscular group harmonies making for another weapon to the malevolent dirge like assault.

The great start is built upon and furthered with the excellent title track and the likes of Mount Nysa and Amphetamine Animal. All in their varied ways a blistering upon the senses through incessant taunts of oppressive might and ear rupturing sounds. The vocal harmonies of the title track are a highlight of the song with their almost Pixies like discord whilst the other pair add a psychedelic progressive lined consumption and corruptive malevolence respectively to the album. The latter is a disturbed maelstrom of constricting intrusions and flailing sonic venom which steals the honours on the whole release, its nasty insidious presence a glorious destruction.

Completed by the ravenous crawl of Abysmal Desert Cavern and the unhinged Invocation To The Old Ones with its wonderful bedlam of textures, atmospheres and sounds, White Lightnin’ is one of the most impressive doom/sludge releases this year. It is a venomous feast which offers another poison and distressing companionship with each listen. Though probably not an album to rest easily within every ear it and Obelyskkh themselves, are one of the most satisfying experiences within the musical year to date.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObelyskkhRitual

RingMaster 09/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Demon Lung: Pareidolia

As the final plundering heavy note of the Pareidolia EP from Las Vegas doom metal band Demon Lung left the ear in silence there was a ringing, a stark feel of emptiness, and an overpowering need to feel the consumptive mass of the release again. That is the sign of something formidable and rather pleasing that has just violated the flesh, mind, and senses. It is fair to say that the four track EP is not throbbing with anything startlingly new or blatantly original but there is something deeply mesmeric and openly hypnotic about it that makes it one of the more satisfying debuts to emerge so far this year in any genre.

Formed in 2010 the female fronted outfit consisting of vocalist Shanda Fredrick, bassist Patrick Warren , drummer Jeremy Brenton and guitarist Phil Burns (both ex-Dunwich) took no time in making a mark and creating attention with their doom metal inspired by the likes of Candlemass, Black Sabbath, and Coven and infused with horror imagery and lyrics. Upon its formation the band immediately demoed over 20 songs four of which make up the EP, and from their debut gig in March 2011 set themselves as the top doom act in the Las Vegas scene. Their sharing of stages with doom heavyweights like High on Fire, Jucifer, and Pentagram has only gone to cement and raise their stock, something that Pareidolia can only further accelerate.

The release swarms all over the senses from its opening notes, its prowling lumbering mass veined with some ear catching melodic asides and acidic creativity which do not leap out of the oppressive swamp of sound but spark within the hefty mass. The vocals of Fredrick are very impressive, heavily influenced by her idol Jinx Dawson of Coven she has a captivation and siren like charm which pulls one eagerly into the sprawling sludge of riffs and sound. Her style actually brings thoughts and spicery of L7 and early Siouxsie & The Banshees to the songs to bring a distinct and intriguing element that is new and different to other same genre bands.

      Lament Code opens up the EP and immediately catches the ear with acute and winding grooves that can only inspire closer attention. The riffs chug with an honest directness and craft which leads one further into the black depths of the song and to the waiting mesmeric vocals of Fredrick. She is like the alluring witch of old horror films, her vocals swaying, teasing, and casting a spell on the ear, her sirenesque charms masking the evil within. The song is a strong introduction to the EP and an instant indicator that Demon Lung is a band to watch very closely ahead.

Second song Sour Ground is a more reserved song which explores a melodic and slightly progressive path with elements of the likes of Blood Ceremony tinting the creative twists within the song. The track though not as infectious as the first engages with a different imaginative feel that shows the band are already thoughtful in their songwriting whilst offering immense promise for far greater things in the future.

The release is completed by Death Mask and the title track. The first is another that crawls and lurches with a hungry and persistent menace without ever going for the throat. The riffs gnaw and scrape emotions whilst the vocals taunt with a confidence and knowledge of the power they hold over the crumbling senses before them. Again there is nothing openly new being brought forward but it is thoroughly fascinating and near irresistible. The closing Pareidolia finishes up as the opener started by numbing responses and emotions with deliberate and venomous plodding violation. The song is the best on the release a consumption that one openly welcomes. The track brought thoughts of 80’s German band X-Mal Deutschland, another non metal band which shows the flavoursome feel to the music.

The production on the EP is not the most complimentary to the sound, the power of the drums has been distilled to being just there and no more whilst there is also an overall mugginess which blurs the naturally thick texture of the music, but nothing a better production cannot remedy. The fact is Pareidolia is a great release, a very strong debut, and Demon Lung a definite emerging force.

http://demonlung.bandcamp.com

RingMaster 26/04/2012

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Interview with Mem V. Stein of Exumer

This year has seen the very welcome return of German thrashers Exumer with a brand new album in Fire & Damnation. Their first release since reforming fully in 2008 and a gap of 25 years to its predecessor Exumer show they are not just another band simply reforming but return as a band fuelled up with energy, intensity, great songs, and most of all bone crushing rock n roll. We had the chance and pleasure to ask one of the band founders, vocalist and bassist Mem V. Stein about the album, the band, and their return.

Welcome Mem and thank you for taking time to talk with us here at The RingMaster Review.

Firstly how does it feel being back with a new album in Fire & Damnation?

Feels most awesome! It feels right to have a working band AGAIN and to be active since 2008. We have been through a lot in our career and people who follow the band know that. However, we are grateful always to include our fans in our decision making, meaning that it is all geared toward making them happy, whether with killer live shows or great records. The idea was not to have a reunion type of format but a working band. That means going on tour, writing new material, recording new albums and getting signed to a label. The main objective was to come back and record the best third album a band can possibly record after putting out their last album 25 years ago. The same goes with the live shows, we only want to play the most furious shows that you can imagine. There are so many fans who were either born in the 1980s or after, and who have never seen the band play live. Just go on you tube or some other medium and you will find a lot of people wondering if they could ever see EXUMER live.

It must feel a long time since you were in this position, well it has been haha.

25 years to be precise!

Is there an extra excitement and drive surrounding Fire & Damnation because it has been so long that maybe there was not with your first two albums back in the mid eighties?

Of course there is the thing that you have to live up to everyone’s expectations but we set a pretty high bar for ourselves and are aware that the fans want to hear a certain amount of energy so we kind of had to rise to the occasion. In a pretty serious and no BS fashion that is…

The new album is impressive, sheer unadulterated thrash rock n roll, how easy was it to write new songs with the Exumer sound but bring them up to date.

We just wanted to record the best possible album that we could, with the band’s traits that you and so many of our fans are familiar with. The mission was to create a worthwhile follow up to our records from the 1980s, incorporating the aggression and energy of our youth with the musicianship that we have acquired over the past decades. It is the most honest and passion filled effort of our career and we hope that the fans hear this approach in the music. The process of writing this album went in steps; we started getting ideas as early as 2008, continued to write through 2009/10, while we were touring and finally took off from playing live in 2011, to complete writing and rehearsing/recording in 2011. We scheduled a 3-week rehearsal session in spring of this year, prior to entering the studio for recording, in order to play and finish writing the new songs in the rehearsal room. This way we sounded like a cohesive unit when went on to record the tracks in the studio and the material got a total “band/rehearsal room” vibe. We then recorded the album in Germany, around the area of Dortmund. The tracking was fairly quick but mixing took 3 months and  in phases and with a lot of A/B the material. The end result is what counts and we were all in agreement that we will mix the record until all parties are happy with the end result. It just took a while to incorporate all the elements and everyone’s wishes.

You have been writing and making music between the first and second periods in the life of Exumer?

After leaving EXUMER in late 1986, I moved to the U.S. for the first time and played in a band in New York but we broke up the project, due to financial problems. Then I formed Phobic Instinct in 1988, which broke up in 1990. I formed Of Rytes and then played in Humungous Fungus with Ray and Bernie of EXUMER. I formed Sun Descends after my 2nd move to New York in 2000, and then finally reformed EXUMER with Ray and Paul. Bernie and Ray played in a rock band for a few years in the 2000s, which Ray left and Bernie is still involved in.

We loved the album but thought it was too short, what have you to say in your defence haha?

We wanted to record an album that is short, precise, focused and to the point. An album that we wanted to hear and knew the fans would enjoy as well. We recorded 10 songs for the new album and I would say that it is by far the best effort in regards to the level and quality of musicianship that this band has ever recorded. You have to remember that we were quite young when we our first two albums dropped and now all our experiences or technical gains have been poured into this record.

Having said that, I think we were able to maintain the spirit of our sound from the 80s with the force of our expertise of today.

You have reworked a couple of songs from your earlier albums on Fire & Damnation which we will ask about shortly, so were the other songs written since the band returned in 2008?

It’s all new material except two songs from our records from the 1980s. We thought it be a special surprise for all the old school EXUMER fans to hear me sing on a track from our second album (Rising From The Sea, 1987), and Paul Arkaki singing on a track from our first album (Possessed By Fire, 1986). So we switched vocals on those two cuts and I think all our old fans will appreciate these versions of: “Fallen Saint” and “I Dare You”. The rest of the songs are all brand new other than Waking the Fire, which we had put out in a demo version in 2009. So, people will have 8 new cuts and two old songs in brand new versions. We wanted to showcase our old material with today’s sound and prove to us that it still hold up and it doesn’t sound dated.

Why the choice of Fallen Saint and I Dare You over all of your other great older material?

Those two felt right and those were the ones that Paul and I picked to re-work

What was the major difference recording Fire & Damnation compared to its predecessor Rising From The Sea?

The main differences I would say can be found in the maturity of the live shows, new album material and the overall presentation. Meaning the proficiency of how everyone plays their instrument. The basic formula of energy and aggression is maintained and not much different than from our earlier work from the 1980s. We were all 17/18 years old when we recorded our first album, obviously we are not the same exact people mentally or physically but the passion for the music remained and that’s the most important thing of all.

From being  involved in music on the recording side since the band dissolved originally there were no surprises in the studio for you technology wise after the long gap for the band?

Yea, it was not a shock and we felt at home rather quickly.

How would you say your music has actually changed between the albums?

Like I mentioned above, it is the same in some regards like passion and energy or aggression but we definitely evolved as musicians and are a lot more focused than we were in the 1980s.

Was there any particular point on the album, or whilst recording it where you had that ‘yeah we are back with both barrels blazing’ feeling inside?

That was when we started putting together the songs in the rehearsal room and felt that the energy and brazenness of the new material was all there.

Can we touch on the early days of the band and ask what first inspired you to start the band?

I wanted to start a band that would incorporate the stuff I was listening to, bands like Slayer, Exodus and all the great other metal, punk/HC of the 1980s, to be quite honest.

You had a widespread appeal far beyond Germany which today with the internet is almost a given in some ways, but in the eighties that was a formidable accomplishment. How did the likes of Poland, other parts of Europe of course and countries like Brazil take to your music that maybe other places like the UK failed to grasp as much?

All the places you mentioned were hot spots for in the 80s and still are.  It’s all a matter of time, we think we can reach a U.K. audience now and it doesn’t matter if you have more people in some countries than others because it’s all about the fans. That means playing in front of a small or big audience, as long as the fans want to hear and see you we will try to come through for them.

After your two albums of Possessed by Fire and Rising from the Sea, which received strong acclaim and your live shows and tours taking you to stronger attention etc the band split, may we ask the main reason for that?

The band just ran out of ideas and it was just too much with the personnel changes, especially having had 3 different singers throughout the band’s lifespan.

Was this a moment you saw coming so you could look ahead or was it a sudden stop in your musical worlds?

No, that was in the making and the line-up changes didn’t help.

You returned for a gig in 2001 and then returned fully as a band in 2008, What was firstly the persuasion that worked for the first event and the inspiration and drive that led to a full comeback 7 years later?

The Wacken Open Air was like a “Thank you”, to all our fans who didn’t have the chance to see Exumer with Ray and myself in the line-up. We were getting so much mail over the years and it really did not stop after we played the reunion show at Wacken in 2001. I was playing with the idea of putting the band back together for a while but then in 2007, Paul Arakaki (2nd EXUMER singer/bassist), came to stay with me in NYC over Halloween. We connected in such a profound way that it brought back my initial thoughts about reforming the band. Ray got onboard almost immediately after I had introduced the idea but all this was only possible because the timing was right this around and the idea was not to have a reunion type of format but a working band. That means going on tour, writing new material, recording new albums and getting signed to a label.

As you have with the two covers of your older tunes on Fire & Damnation did you rework the older material for your live shows to bridge the eighteen years between them and the current sound and fan taste at the time of reforming?

Not really that much, it’s all pretty much in its original state. We trimmed the “fat” here and there but nothing crazy and kept it all to its original content.

There is the whole new generation of younger fans who know us as a cult band from the 1980s but we hope we can reach a whole lot more people with the new album who never heard of the band as well.

You brought in Waldemar Sorychta (Grip Inc., Therion, Sodom, Moonspell, etc.) to produce the album, why did you choose him?

We liked his work on the latest SODOM album, to be as honest as possible with you but of course we knew his previous work as well and knew that he would be able to bring out the best EXUMER out of us, without losing the band’s spirit/vibe. And he did, at least we think so. He definitely brought out good performances out of all of us and was very helpful in the tracking process overall. It’s just really reassuring to have someone with a lot of experience behind the board, who knows how important this next record in the band’s future really is. That was just a good feeling to know about the level of Waldemar’s commitment to the project and likewise his engineer’s commitment.

How do you feel about current thrash bands or more how the genre is compared to when you started out? 

I think the advent of the internet and the connectivity of fans and bands played a huge role in how Metal has evolved since the 1980s. A lot more people are involved in playing in bands, blogging or in any form one could imagine. I think that is a good thing, it resembles a little the DIY spirit of the 1980s tape trader and fanzine days. However, I also think a lot of the mystique is also gone. I didn’t know what kind of ordinary lives my heroes from back in the day were leading. Especially bands like Venom or Mercyful Fate. So, having said all of this, metal or thrash metal bands are still growing strong! Just listen to Fueled by Fire or Toxic Holocaust.

Are there any newer bands that light up your fires and give you food for thought?

I like all kind of bands, Ghost, High on Fire the list goes on. However, I light my own fire most of the time!

What has Exumer in mind for the rest of 2012?

There will be a lot of touring, starting with a few warm up shows in Mexico and Europe, followed by a South American tour and then hopefully a few dates in the U.S. in the fall. We will keep busy after taking an entire year off from touring last year.

Once more big thanks for talking with us and good luck with Fire & Damnation.

Thanks for having us and we sure will be back whenever you like us back!

Would you like to leave us with some final words Exumer style?

Thanks for your support over the past 27 years… SPREAD THE FUCKI’ FIRE!

Read the review of Fire & Damnation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/exumer-fire-damnation/

The RingMaster Review 13/04/2012

Copyright Pete RingMaster 13/04/2011 (My Free Copyright)

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