Ignea — The Realms of Fire and Death

An encounter provoking thought and the imagination as voraciously as it did ears and body, The Realms of Fire and Death is the new album from Ukraine melodic metallers Ignea. It provides a full-blooded emprise of sound and storytelling which from start to finish took attention and pleasure under its visceral and viscera stained embrace.

Kiev hailing, Ignea first emerged in 2013 under the name of Parallax. The Sputnik EP was released a year later before in 2015 the band rebranded as Ignea and began a new chapter in their evolving sound and creative character. Debut album The Sign of Faith found a praise carrying welcome in 2017, success leading to tours across Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands with bands such as Nordic death metallers Illdisposed, Butcher Babies and Kobra and the Lotus and shows within the likes of Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as prominent festivals in France, Lithuania, and Ukraine over the next couple of years. It was a time also seeing the band writing and crafting the concept tale behind The Realms of Fire and Death.

Divided into three major parts and accompanied by a book of short tales incorporating the lyrics of each song, it is fair to say that The Realms of Fire and Death incited ears and the imagination equally from its first captivating symbol and metaphor intimating moments. It soon proved impossible not to be as entangled in the stories breeding its themes of fire and death as the sounds shaping their individual and distinct adventures. Musically the band’s melodic metal is a tapestry of flavours and styles, an undercurrent of the symphonic metal which the band first arose with embracing richer electronic enterprise whilst the multiplicity of their metal bred sound is often as brutal and predacious as it is melodically seductive and progressively scented.

The album opens with Queen Dies and a rhythmic intimation luring ancient and middle-eastern seeded conjuring. As guitar and keys spin their own suggestiveness, vocalist Helle Bogdanova rises up with melodic beauty dripping from every syllable of the tale told. Playing the lead protagonist she effortlessly captivated within the similarly alluring enterprise of guitarist Dmitriy Vinnichenko and keyboardist Evgeny Zhytnyuk. Yet darkness, emotional betrayal, and demons await; a portentous edge and subsequent snarl erupting through the rhythmic trespass of drummer Ivan Kholmogorov and the carnivorously throated bass of Xander Kamyshin. As her lyrics reveal the darkness to unfurl, so Bogdanova’s tones portray hellish threat amid physical contrast, her fusion of clean and gut bruising dexterity irresistible.

It is an outstanding start to the release which evolves into the following Чорне Полум’я  (Chorne Polumia), a track which even sung in the singer’s mother tongue cannot not hide the continuing battle of emotions and paranoia fuelling the story it continues. Again Bogdanova is a magnet with her vocal diversity, her clean presence especially enthralling whilst equally the feral and melodic craft of the band shares a tapestry of suggestion and exhortation commanding skill and attention as again a web of styles are woven into Ignea’s striking sound.

Out of My Head chews on the senses from its first breath, rhythms boldly dancing on the surface as the textural enterprise of guitars, keys and bass again bring a host of flavours woven together for one contagious and fascinating involvement. This too has us swiftly and greedily devouring its physical drama and lyrical awakening; defiance and realisation shaping its heart before the band tantalised with a cover of Í Tokuni, a song by Faroese singer-songwriter Eivør and fair to say it beguiled as effortlessly and richly as those before it.

The electronic template of Too Late to Be Born was enticement enough to keep the album’s grip on ears tight, the quickly following corruption of hellish endeavour addictive and continually challenged by melodic temptation while What For flirts with folk nurture radiance and a rhythmic shuffle which was under the skin before its first melodic tempting had finished caressing ears. Bogdanova is a harmonic sun within its mix, the whole thing a melodic summer warming the instinctive need of the body to join its encouraging swing and forgiving voice.

So many major moments are shared by the album, this quickly followed by another in the thickly contrasting climate and threat of Gods of Fire. Once more though Ignea prove skilled in fusing beauty and raw menace, music and voice uniting both just as the emotional shifts within the pages of the tale it reveals before Jinnslammer roars in defiance and rebellion upon a landscape still fertile with melodic invention and inspiration. From Bogdanova’s bewitching vocal presence to the individual prowess of her comrades, song and indeed album are cauldrons of pure temptation and enthralment; so often irresistible and always spellbinding as proven as ably by Disenchantment and its riveting web of sonic wiring and melodic enticement woven into another tale ears and thoughts devoured.

With an English version of Чорне Полум’я translated as Black Flame completing its mighty presence, The Realms of Fire and Death only proved increasingly addictive and impressive; its creators a band all metallers should be checking out sooner rather than later.

The Realms of Fire and Death is out now; available @ https://ignea.band/products/the-realms-of-fire-and-death-cd

https://ignea.band/   https://www.facebook.com/ignea.band/

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Verdict – The Meaning Of Isolation

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A virulent scourge you will want to be ravaged by, especially if your blood boils for thrash metal, The Meaning Of Isolation from German metallers Verdict is an uncompromising slab of riveting extreme destructiveness and mouth-watering savagery. The nine track torrent of aggression and enterprise takes no prisoners and has little time in gentle persuasion, instead it simply and voraciously pillages the senses whilst rewarding with an underbelly of exhaustive yet captivating invention. The release definitely needs time and work to explore but rewards long-term with some addiction sparking technical viciousness and passionate ferociousness.

Verdict began in 1991 with a technical and melodic death metal intent and rage to its sound. Numerous line-up changes followed during subsequent years from which the band’s sound evolved and developed a deeper wealth of thrash hunger to its attack. Debut album Reflections Of Pain of 2002 brought strong attention upon the band and their emerging sound whilst the following full-lengths, Generation : Genocide of 2005 and Assassin: Nation four years later, only empowered their presence which in  turn has led to eager anticipation for the Verdict’s fourth and new album from a great many. Live the band has not left any physical or emotional stone unturned within either as they shared stages over time with the likes of Destruction, Disbelief, Illdisposed, Dew-Scented, Legion Of The Damned, Entombed, Death Angel, Gorefest, Obituary, Nile and many more. Mastered by Dan Swanö, The Meaning of Isolation thrusts the band forward to the frontline of thrash and extreme metal with a masterful display of malevolence and enterprise. The release may be just misses out on threatening best of lists this year, mainly through an arguably too similar a surface storm across many of the tracks and the lack of diversity in the vocals of Daniel “Ratte” Baptista to match the unpredictability and surprise of the music, but nevertheless The Meaning Of Isolation is a thrilling and captivating devastation which leaves the listener exhausted and deeply contented.

Leader Of The Soulless opens up the absorbing punishment with a haunting entrance; a sinister ambience brewing up a VERDICT_Coverswiftly imposing sonic menace which around an inspiring classical stringed melody, intimidates to temper the simultaneously dark seduction. It is not too long though before an artillery of crippling beats from drummer Florian Bauer corrupts the air closely skirted by melodic flames from the guitars of Marius Pack and Dave Hadarik which scorch the air whilst riffs batter its peace with carnivorous urgency. From here the barbarous persuasion is in full flight, the vocals of Baptista as vindictive and merciless as the sinews driving the sounds. It is an intensive start to the album, one unafraid to delve into dark doomier places within its persistent predation.

Manifest Of Hate and Killing Fantasies both keep the malevolence spewing from every antagonistic note and vocal squall, the first charging over the senses with a violent rabidity whilst grooves and sonic invention entwine their venomous craft around the song’s core whilst the second from a delicious dark and brooding introduction with the bass of Dave Helmstetter a pulsating evocative lure, goes on a creative rampage which bleeds intensity and wastes the welcoming senses. It does not match up to the first two tracks overall but still makes a sturdy encounter leading into the similarly impressive if not jaw dropping Layer Of Lies, a track which has a very close related aggressive and melodic cover to its predecessor and needing deeper focus to reveal its individual bait.

Lack Of Insight marks a new upturn in originality and invention within the album, the guitar twisting with bedlamic adventure to cast the first web over the ears before fusing into a resourceful and magnetic weave of intrusive and spellbinding antagonism. The track is certainly no less hellacious than previous songs but unveils a greater exploration and imagination of textures and invention which prevails through the likes of the blistering First To Fight and the creatively pungent Through The Eyes Of A Dead Man, both tracks with grooves and progressive intrigue to light fires within the imagination. The first half of The Meaning Of Isolation is an intense and formidable offering but is definitely exceeded by the second half and it’s more potent daring.

The Meaning Of Isolation returns the senses and dull peace back to its recipient but only after the barbarous Nemesis Of God, the song an exceptional beast which stalks and gnaws the listener from the inside, and its title track which provides another prowling intimidation prone to inventive sonic lashing outs and ruinous brutality, takes their pound of flesh. They complete an excellent album which from an impressive opening stretch emerges as a sadistically pleasing treat. For all thrash fans especially with those holding darker preferences in their hearts, Verdict has given the year an inventive pestilence which leaves no one disappointed or in one piece.

www.verdict.de

www.facebook.com/verdictthrashmetal

8.5/10

RingMaster 12/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Panzerchrist – The 7th Offensive

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Bludgeoning the senses and once again stomping them into dust with their sonic war machine, Danish death metallers Panzerchrist return with new album The 7th Offensive, a release which sets up a new frontline of violence and aural animosity whilst revitalising existing weaponry within the band’s accomplished arsenal. The Listenable Records released seventh album from the quartet is an unrelenting intensive assault on senses and thoughts, an extreme provocation with every intent and ultimate success of ripping any sense of safety from its recipients. Achieved just as potently by a sinister serpentine melodic temptation as by the expected uncompromising brutal intimidation, band and album without tearing down new boundaries is a formidable, very satisfying act of war.

Formed in 1994 by ex-Illdisposed drummer Michael “Panzergeneral” Enevoldsen, Panzerchrist took little time in drawing string responses and acclaim with their early albums but it was with the release of Soul Collector in 2000 that things took on a new might and earned an additional strength of acclaim and recognition as the band unleashed its war themed formula and matching intensive sound. Through the following likes of Room Service in 2003, Battalion Beast three years later, and Regiment Ragnarok of 2011, as the sound and attack became more brutal and intense the responses and acclaim rose in tandem which with The 7th Offensive standing before us is sure to continue, even if arguably the new album misses out on emulating the heights of its predecessor whilst equally stretching its strengths further and to different places. With new members in the shape of drummer Simon Schiling (ex-Fleshcrawl) and vocalist Søren Tintin Lønholdt (ex-Exmorten) alongside bassist Enevoldsen and guitarist Nils Petersen, Panzerchrist offers a bleak, unforgiving onslaught which leaves the breath exhausted and pleasure high.

The sonic tirade starts with Panzer the 7th Offensive, an immediate battalion of rhythms and guttural expulsions under the premise ofcover_l vocals accosting the ear with deliberate intent whilst the guitar of Petersen creates a mesh of melodic antagonism. It is an instantly enthralling lure soon drenched in heavier shadows and energy which storms through the ear with incessant purpose whilst a flag of melodic colour marks the predacious tempest below.

The following Foreign Fields takes over the mission with the sonic flare of the guitar immediately into its narrative, so much so that it feels like you are dropping in on an already in motion escapade. Once in full muscular flight the track is a heavy and ravenous bestial force, drums and bass caging the ear for vocals and the continuing to impress guitar of Petersen to carve out their distinct but mutually in league toxic calls. It is a strong continuation of the start matched by both In the Name of Massacration and Stronghold of Hill 666; two more lethally constructed and delivered hostile engagements that capture the imagination with a venomous sonic and melodic web as imposing and riveting as the voracious malevolent hunger driving them on. The chaos fuelled maelstrom making up the finale of the first of the two is a standout moment of the first half of the album whilst its successor has a niggling repetitive nature to its stalking that only magnetises the senses.

Certainly to this point The 7th Offensive holds attention, thoughts, and eagerness in its sinew powered hands if without lighting the strongest fires inside the passions. It is an impressive first half to the album though but soon left in the shade of the remaining tracks, well after the primal raw Dogger Dead has savaged the ear, the track a thick slab of venom and unbridled vitriol which leaves thoughts unsure even after numerous plays on how to take and view its presence. There are no doubts about the next up Mass Attack of the Lychantrope Legion, the song a melodically honed call of triumph and glory within the battlefield, but  a piece with jaws and sonic swords ready to defend and attack any encroaching incitement and shadows. It is a scintillating song with riffs and solos as bright flames across the ever intense and thrilling bass and drum incitement, a shifting and primed adventure which just steals the passions the longer it is allowed to explore.

      Kill for Revenge and Drone Killing step up next to also enslave senses and emotions with inventive twists and turns to their barbed weaves of riffs, blood hued sonics, and rhythmic condemnation. The first is a rapacious steel booted dance of menace and temptation whilst the second is a ferocious unyielding devouring of ear and mind, a torrential sonic blistering which lays down a constant caustic rub of destructive nagging. Backed up by the equally corrosive rant of Napalm Alarm and the departing yet lingering march of Pig Parade, the tracks bring the album to a towering conclusion which out flanks its former part with ease.

     The 7th Offensive is a great album which ticks all the boxes for an extreme metal release and more, but falls at the hurdle of originality and debatable innovation. It is still a thoroughly enjoyable and enterprising release from Panzerchrist though showing that there is still no stopping the war machine.

http://www.panzerchrist.org

8/10

RingMaster 13/10/2013

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September Murder: He Who Invokes Decadence

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Though new album He Who Invokes Decadence is the third release from German metallers September Murder, a band which was founded in 2005, it is fair to say for most outside of their homeland underground scene the band is one which is still an unknown proposition. That might soon change though as their excellent eight track release is like a storm, a sonic encounter which is violent and extreme in its presence and touch but veined and stretched by hues of melodic imagination and colour filled invention which sparks the richest captivation. It is an album which still sparks thoughts that the Thale quartet is not the finished article, that things still have scope for evolution and improvement, but on the evidence of He Who Invokes Decadence the band is on the right incendiary path to being one potent and important force.

Formed by guitarist Emanuel Brauer and bassist Guntar Elsaßer, and with a line-up completed by vocalist Oliver Schacke and drummer Stefan Voigtländer, September Murder started making impressions in the local scene and nationally from their live debut in 2007, the year seeing the band play over thirty shows across Germany alone. It also witnessed their self-released EP After Every Setting Sun which aided the band coming to the attention to the media and numerous labels. The signing with Berlin-based Maintain Records, with whom first album Agony in Flesh was unleashed in the February of 2009, came next. In between releases a line-up change was enforced when Voigtländer left the band but September Murder was soon back to full strength though the recruitment of Clemens Frank (ex- Hidden in the Fog). Followed by acclaim for the release, the band played numerous headline, support, and festival performances including appearing with the likes of Entombed, Origin, Illdisposed, Merauder, Hail of Bullets, Disharmonic Orchestra and many more. All the time the members continued to explore and stretch their potent extreme metal sound, experimenting and employing numerous essences like progressive metal which is a vibrant spice to the new album. Work on He Who Invokes Decadence was given the obstacle of the departure of Elsaßer but once Marcus Kühne of Metzgore stepped into the breach, band and album were on full throttle. Self-released the eight track beast of a record is now rampaging across the ears and senses and if you are yet to welcome its brutal but charming delights hopefully we can add some persuasion as to why it is a release which deserves to be heard.

To give an idea of the sound which rages and tempts within the album imagine a loose mix of Cryptopsy and Between the Buried a3678947257_2and Me without than brewing expectations, as from the opening song, September Murder defy any assumptions and predicted thoughts of what is to come. Like the whole of the release, the first track demands full attention and a numerous encounters to reap all of its sonic depth, but the rewards for doing so come thick. The emotive beginning of Under Severed Skies is shaped by a lone guitar but soon expanded by the elevation of intensity brought by the drums and the temperature increase of riffs and chords. It is an intriguing opening narrative which takes a breath before exploding into an inferno of raging riffs, combative rhythms, and guttural grown vocal squalls. It is soon evident that the band does not take it easy on themselves or the listener and each element from the crippling drums and voracious bass to the scorching guitar sonics and fiery imagination come with twists and perpetually shifting presences. It makes for a breathless and continually enthralling onslaught which leaves you dazed and basking in creative ingenuity. Arguably the band does not take it far enough at times here and across the release with more simply approached aspects of songs standing out as pale against the tremendous maelstrom of invention around the, though it is a small discrepancy overall.

Both Two Culprits, One Oath and Among Vultures devour with carnally bred intensity and predacious hunger, the first a savage and merciless turmoil upon the senses and its successor a swooping raptor that grips and chews with sinew driven teeth and unrelenting rabidity. The two also lay a web of sonic adventure and unannounced technical flair and inventiveness which ensures, especially in the second of the pair, that every minute of their encounter is inspiring and magnetic. Though possibly over long, the last of the two leads atmospherically into the outstanding instrumental From Adoration, a glorious weave of melodic paint and sonic testimony which ignites thoughts and imagery with its enriched embrace. Whether an interlude or piece of the story it works and allows a breath to be welcomed before the marching aggressive yet emotionally exploratory …to Deterrence and the carnivorously propelled May Conviction Force Reckoning return the listener in to a torrential field of provocation and virulently violence enterprise.

Both tick all the right boxes before the second steps aside for another melody honed piece of classically pressed instrumental to act as the eye of the storm, a peace that is soon ripped asunder by the barbaric In Celebration of Mankind’s Wretchedness, an excellent vitriolic slice of avenging antagonism and flesh stinging beauty. It also blends in some of the most absorbing and invigorating ideas on the album, teasing and taking the listener down various deceptive musical impasses where the jaws of the band and intensity wait to toss and tear them apart. The best track on the album it is soon challenged by the immense shape of the title track, a song massive in length and depth, and one which ebbs and flows in imagination and sound like a multi-seasoned driven sea.

It is a powerful conclusion to a mighty album. Not quite as perfect as it could have been He Who Invokes Decadence is a masterful challenge which ignites the senses and emotions in every way possible. It is also a grower which just adds vintage and reward to each and every destructive and empowering play. September Murder is a band with the promise to make a big name for itself across world metal and their new album the next potent step.

http://www.septembermurder.de/

9/10

RingMaster 25/07/2013

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