Heartfelt – Heartfelt


Hailing out of Tennessee, melodic metalcore quintet Heartfelt punctuate their recent signing with Imminence Records by releasing a self-titled single this month. Whether the release should be actually described as an EP, with neither of its tracks bearing the name of band or single, can be debated, but as a rousing introduction, the encounter is a potent slice of melodic metalcore persuasion.

Formed in 2013, the band emerged as vocalist Brian Medley moved on from previous band Woe Is Me. The life of Heartfelt to date has been eventful; numerous line-ups changes and being the victims of a burglary which cost them thousands of dollars in stolen musical equipment and related items, amongst the band shaping experiences. Now though stability has hit the band in personnel, with Dyllan Puckett, Billy Roberts, Brett Boatman, and Brandon Cain alongside Medley, and through the link up with Imminence Records. Heartfelt’s previous singles, in Crossroads and Slip Away, certainly awoke ears to the band but the lead track on the new release, Be Strong, alone has the qualities and power to really spark strong attention, especially alongside its accompanying Ben Greene filmed video.

Heartfelt Single Cover_RingMasterReviewProduced by former A Day To Remember member Tom Denney, Be Strong rises on a wave of harmonies and evocative melodies whilst being steered by robustly tenacious rhythms. Almost as quickly, Medley’s impressing vocals step forward to provide their own warm yet feisty coaxing, to which, a collusion of rawer roars and those alluring harmonies add further magnetic drama to the growing sound. Bass and drums make no show of hiding their aggressively boisterous incitement , getting straight to the point alongside matching riffs and harsher vocal trespasses to provide a formidable confrontation, but one superbly tempered by the soaring clean deliveries and flaming melodies that similarly ensnare ears and appetite.

The song’s companion is an even more hostile affair, certainly initially, but soon White Eyes reveals its own recipe of sonic seduction whilst increasing in belligerence soaked tone and anger fuelled aggressiveness. The extremes of textures within it are even more pronounced than in its predecessor and undoubtedly it blossoms all the more for it.

Between the songs, Heartfelt reveal signs of potent depth to songwriting and sound as well as the potential of a uniqueness which it is hard to say is really there within the single. Nevertheless, both songs carry a freshness and vitality to their creativity which grabs ears as much as the force of their tempest of sound. It is fair to say therefore, that Heartfelt is worth keeping a close ear upon with no doubt more enjoyment being the reward as they progress.

The Heartfelt release is available now digitally through Imminence Records @ https://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/heartfelt and includes exclusive Bandcamp bonus tracks of the 2013 demo versions of Crossroads and Slip Away.

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Pete RingMaster 28/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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One Morning Left – Metalcore Superstars

OML promo_RingMaster Review

Metalcore Superstars is the new album from Finnish melodic metalcore band One Morning Left, and our introduction to a sound which quickly you get the marmite factor feeling about in, it breeding love or eager dislike with little in between. As the eleven rousing tracks of the encounter run riot through ears with their bedlamic burst of styles and flavours, we quickly fell into the former opinion and keenly embraced its ferocious mayhem.

It has been three years since the quintet released their seemingly well-received second album Our Sceneration; it’s uncaging in 2013 quickly followed by the band increasing their live presence and hitting stages alongside the likes of like Adept, F*ckface Unstoppable (Bam Margera), Protest The Hero, and We Butter The Bread With Butter and more across Europe. 2014 saw the band begin working on Metalcore Superstars, its creation an extensive affair as the band honed their new ideas into its slightly psychotic character until arriving at the seriously eventful confrontation grabbing ears today.

Maybe the best way to generalise the One Morning Left sound is ravenous metalcore with the punk contagion of Billy Talent, the techno adventure of Silent Descent, and the mischievous prowess of Hollywood Undead; it coming with a hardcore/avant-garde surge of attitude. The result is a full-on and enjoyably unpredictable protagonist, even if one that flirts with a loss of control at times.

art_RingMaster ReviewOpener OML_KVLT sees the band announcing themselves in anthemic style, the vocals of Mika Lahti a busy and tenacious mix backed by those of guitarist Leevi Luoto. Checking out tracks from previous releases, there seems a lighter tone to the creative devilment of One Morning Left this time around with Metalcore Superstars but equally a more rabid snarl to their sonic and lyrical warfare amidst bolder drama to their imagination. The first track continues to stir ears and appetite with its fiery nature and pungent tapestry of flavours, subsequently creating a virulently infectious incitement that chews on the senses.

The following Heavy Metal Finland flirts with nintendocore like bait initially, it’s tempting aligned to vicious growling and broody dynamics which erupt further within the emergence of the tempestuous proposition. Without the constant spark of its predecessor, the track pleases as it toys vocally with heavy and death metal spices as well as similarly varied textures musically; enjoyably backing up the strong start without quite making the same impact.

The guitars of Luoto and Ari Levola aggressively dance with sonic attitude within ¡Derailed! next, but also they are unafraid to unleash some funk seeded flirtation whilst keys engage in a kaleidoscope of electro flavours and atmospheric suggestiveness. All the time moving towards a bruising confrontation, the track provides a galvanic finale within a formidable rhythmic web cast by drummer Niko Hyttinen before the outstanding You’re Dead! Let’s Disco! has body and energies fully involved in thumping aural devilry. Like Hadouken! meets The Browning, the track is a chest beating slab of sonic and vocal defiance again lit by the off-kilter imagination of keys and programming from Veli-Matti Kananen and bracingly driven by his bass lines and the swinging scythes of Hyttinen. Careering on the precipice of psychotic chaos, the track leaves body and emotions bursting with lust, a success matched by The Recipe, it a more controlled but no less forcibly resourceful and deranged web of concussive textures and fascinating theatre.

Kings and Queens throbs and pulsates straight after, its opening a haunted cascade of electronic splatters leading to a warmer toned but more punk bred aggressor as melodically engaging as it is infectiously cantankerous. That Billy Talent air is at its strongest here in a song with an inventive weave maybe less exploratory than others on the album but is still sculpted from a heftily flavoursome torrent of ideas. Its lean take on that thick diversity elsewhere works a treat, providing one more major highlight.

A muggy collage of metal and punk ‘n’ roll colours Fast and Furious 6.66 next, its electronic calms only bringing more intrigue loaded variety to ultimately an enraged bluster of the song whilst Devil’s Nest rumbles and grumbles from a sinister melodic entrance into an exotically hued adventure with duelling contrasts against aligning radiances and hostilities. A dogged but invitingly invigorating swamp of noise and flavour, the track grips attention and eager involvement with its theatre of enterprise leaving the album’s title track to bully and harry senses next, though it too is unafraid to seduce with the beckoning fingers of melodies and harmonies.

A great carnival-esque air comes with the riveting Eternity; the penultimate treat playing with a My Chemical Romance meets AFI hand within its just as potent murderous traits to ingeniously nag and thrill ears before making way for the closing turbulence of Sticks and Stones. Like being rabidly assaulted by a seductive temptress bound with irritable intent and wrapped in orchestral grandeur, the track is one enthralling end to an inescapably magnetic release.

For some, the creative turmoil and bordering on insatiable imagination of Metalcore Superstars may not hit the spot for ears or desires, but it only left us exhaustively wanting more. So be brave and take on the adventure One Morning Left offers with their latest proposal we suggest; it just might ignite your day.

Metalcore Superstars is out now in Finland via Inverse Records with full release from February 22nd in central Europe through Bleeding Nose Records, and across America and Oceania on Imminence Records.

http://www.onemorningleft.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Onemorningleft   https://twitter.com/onemorningleft

Pete RingMaster 25/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Infidel – Self Titled EP

Infidel_RingMaster Review

Providing a fresh snarl and roar to the hardcore scene, US punks Infidel introduce themselves with an impressive attention grabber, their self-titled EP. Hailing from the perpetually stirring hardcore scene in Detroit, the quartet recently signed with Imminence Records and has taken little time in slamming their potency and anthemic credentials down on the table with their first provocation. It is also an encounter rich in contagious resourcefulness which whilst the songs are bellowing with confrontation lyrically and musically, they are also flirting away with striking invention. Excitement certainly brewed listening to Infidel with a strength which few bands in the genre have stirred so tenaciously over recent times.

The band’s sound is a skilled mix of old school strains of hardcore with fresh hostility and imagination whilst lyrically they set their sights on anything from animal rights and patriotism under fire to police injustices, the two political party system, and positive incitement promoting “never giving up on life when the road gets tough.” Both aspects of their songs make an immediate and strong impression as the EP opens up with Patriotism Under Fire, the song starting with a sample of the opening scene from Jarhead, its unifying bellow quickly overrun with rhythmic artillery and a torrent of raw riffery equipped with swift infectiousness. In full stride soon after, the song relaxes a slither as vocalist Andrew Thomas uncages its lyrical and impassions intensity, almost immediately raising its ire and aggression again to match and raging like a mix of Stuck Mojo and Minor Threat, the track getting heavier and more voracious with every passing minute.

infidelcoverRingMaster Review     The attention grabbing and appetite igniting start is soon surpassed by What We’re Made Of, a rigorous stomp fuelled by melodic contagion and antagonistic defiance driven by inventive hooks and violent rhythms respectively. There is a touch of Shelter to the catchier side of the song, its tempering infection the perfect contrast to the eager bruising wilfulness and energy, and their union a swift anthemic enlistment of body and emotions.

Call Of The Wild follows and from its first breath it is sonic and emotional rebellion stirring up air and thick satisfaction. Featuring Keith Allen of GhostxShip, the track is as militant as it is inviting, the drums casting a rousing incitement matched by the increasingly spicy invention and antagonism of guitars and bass. Loaded with magnetically uncompromising vocals, the track roars incitement and contumacy quickly matched by similar confrontation in Protect And Serve straight after. As the EP opener, there is a metal seeded ferocity to the encounter which seamlessly slips into a melodically coloured but no less aggressive turn of imagination. With guest DJ Bean of For All Who Fail involved, the song stands toe to toe with the listener, eye balling them with rigorously anthemic sounds whilst challenging the seeds spawning its narrative and emotion.

Next up is Politics, a track built from the same kind of template and core sound but quickly establishing its own adversarial identity with scything rhythms and spearing riffs. Their union provides the frame for swarms of sonic incitement and almost psychotic grooves to strike and if that was not enough to draw keen submission, a burst of melodic vocals and enterprise only lights song and ears further before parting with a final fierce growl for a superb cover of the H2O track What Happened? .

Bringing the outstanding release to a thoroughly enjoyable close with their stirring cover, we can only suspect that Infidel is a band destined to be soaked in attention and acclaim as more engage and become thrilled by this and their subsequent and evolving exploits. Fair to say, hardcore has a new spark to its fire in the belly.

The Infidel EP is available now via Imminence Records.


Ringmaster 26/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Backslashes And Bad Ideas – Sad Is The New Black

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Recently signing with Imminence Records, US quintet Backslashes and Bad Ideas have just released a limited edition 7” single Sad Is The New Black via MKT Records to spark fresh attention. Containing the songs Mid Twenty Something and its title track, the release gives a potent example of why the Staten Island hailing band has been grabbing attention since forming in 2010 whilst setting the scene of their pungent sound for newcomers.

The band’s music is a blend of indie invention, emo angst, and aggressive pop punk contagion, and in full roar on the new release. Consisting of vocalists/guitarists Nick DePalo and Josh Cronopulos, guitarist Ricky Abolt, bassist Rob Castiglione, and drummer Ed Mone, Backslashes And Bad Ideas self-released their debut EP Nothing Left To Give in October 2012 to strong responses. The following year its successor There’s No Place Like Home came out to even greater reactions and now with the linking up with Imminence Records, the time looks right for the band to break into broader and wider spotlights.

Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   The single opens with Mid Twenty Something and straight away the band are awakening ears with a guitar caress and stronger vocal persuasion. In no time the track saunters along with striking rhythms and expressive sonic enterprise but really hits its true persuasive and appealing stride once it unleashes its full energy and passion. From start to finish the song has ears gripped but it is the rich weave of rhythmic tenacity and melodic flames when in full swing that turns a good if underwhelming song into something with a real punch.

The following Sad Is The New Black similarly makes a low key entrance but is quicker in finding its hearty creative resourcefulness and adventure. Hooks and melodic lures quickly spin a web of intrigue and enterprise whilst the dual attack of vocals has an even more defined and fluid union on the second song to also immediately impress. The sonic interplay between guitars around a tempestuous spine of riffs equally shines whilst the drama of the track emotionally and musically just builds a richer compelling success.

The first of the two tracks is highly enjoyable but simply overshadowed by its companion, though both only spark an interest and anticipation for the band’s next offerings with their new label. If new to Backslashes And Bad Ideas now is the time to introduce yourself to their lively and powerful sound, with the potential of bigger, greater things to come included.

Sad Is The New Black is available now via MKT Records on 7” vinyl @ https://backslashesandbadideas.bandcamp.com/ in a choice of Black Vinyl (ltd to300 copies), Orange, Green and Black Half Splatter Vinyl (100), and Teal and Black Half Splatter Vinyl (100)


RingMaster 16/06/2015

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Under Paris – Transitions

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A release does not always have to totally blow you away to make a compelling and perpetually appetising proposition, but it needs something at its core and invention which through any uncertainties and ‘issues’ acts like an alluring beacon. That is exactly what Transitions, the debut album from US metalcore band Under Paris has. There are elements which do not whip up the imagination and passions as pungently as others within it but consistently the release has ears and imagination seriously engaged, and though it might not take metalcore into something approaching new pastures the Iowa quintet’s ferocious incitement definitely has plenty about it to stir up serious attention.

Clinton hailing Under Paris began in 2012 and swiftly went to work enticing appetites with their first single If the Drugs Don’t Work, Can You Drive Me Home?, a track featuring Rene Lopez of Scarlett O’Hara. An acoustic EP called Clean Lungs and shows with the likes of Beartooth and The Ghost Inside only enhanced their emergence before the beginning of 2014 saw the release of debut full band EP Our Stories, recorded with Derek Moffat of 608 Studios. The encounter and the two singles unveiled from it before hand in the shapes of You’re Going Nowhere and Hold On Pain Ends sparked yet another influx of attention and interest. From there and later that year Under Paris ventured into the studio to record Transitions, releasing its first single Midwest Winters as a flavoursome teaser soon after. It lured in another dose of keen interest, which the band having signed with Imminence Records this past February, hope to exploit with the worldwide release of their new album.

IR032     Release and band prey on the senses immediately through opener Shallow Graves as irritant riffs and venomous vocal growls collude with vicious beats and bestial bass tone from the off. It is an imposing and gripping start which relaxes a touch as melodic toxicity and rampant rhythms erupt and smother ears in familiar yet fresh metalcore hostility. The guitars of Jayden Serrano and Evan Morrow spin a web of sonic enterprise within their barbarous riffery, enticing and holding the imagination whilst rhythms and vocals create a hellacious trespass of the senses. It is a strong and consuming beginning to the album but a nagging doubt arises in thoughts during it too. The excellent caustic vocals of Michael “Thorr” Alexander unleash an impressive and enjoyable ferocious fury yet with a singularly inhospitable delivery which admittedly personal tastes wondered if they might fail to provide the diversity the album potentially would need. Hopes that there will be something to temper and contrast his imposing are swiftly realised by Under Paris with At War with Myself. Once again Alexander and the vicious side of the sound is a merciless single minded tempest but in no time finds itself bound in a spicy enterprise of guitar aligned to the excellent clean vocals of bassist Rylie Phillips. He has a warmth and catchiness in his tones which works perfectly with the expressive brutality of Alexander, the song musically matching their ferocious and melodic union in creative kind. The sinew swung beats of drummer Lucas Richards create a rugged yet understanding companion to both sides too as the band merges light and dark impressively, calm and violent textures bonding with captivating ease.

The album’s title track crawls with the senses next, Transitions an instant wall of bruising provocation but also soon veined by the magnetic voice of Phillips. The track grows into an ever twisting tempestuous exploit of emotion and sound, the guitars managing to flirt and scar ears with their invention whilst rhythmically the encounter reveals sheer brutal rapacity. Its hellacious but enthralling presence is matched by What’s the Big Deal About Alaska though the song lacks the incendiary spark of its predecessors. It does come dramatically alive though around midway when the band slips into an evocative and thoughtful passage of relative peace and intrigue away from the fierce bluster, though that subsequently returns in a bellow of greater infectiousness.

The very swift rage of Yoloswag#420 provides an inescapable contagion next, the viciousness coming with a virulent swing before descending into a corrosive bedlam of spite. Its brief assault is followed by the heavily engaging Midwest Winters. The song’s landscape is a turbulent terrain of heavily delivered rolling rhythms and sonic acidity, again under a murderous atmosphere cast by riffs, predatory basslines, and vocal fury. Across it though, fiery melodies and the clean tempting of Phillips, provide the light in the dark, for a union of extremes which need each other to work and in turn flourish impressively together.

Both Devil’s Trap and Too Far Gone hold ears and attention tightly, the first a web of jagged riffs, bass imagination, and tremendous crippling beats from Richards. As in all tracks unpredictability is given plenty of exposure but often elsewhere comes shadowed by the storm around and above it. Here though it is allowed the strongest clarity enhancing the drama and appeal of the experience. Its successor is simply a torrential ravaging of malevolence and emotive rancor aligned to a fascinating weave of sparkling melodies and harmonies, each an imposing magnificence whether presented alone or entwined.

A tantalising warm reprise of At War with Myself leads the listener into the explosively fearsome and seductive throes of closing track At Peace. Featuring The Color Morale vocalist Garret Rapp, the song brings all the impressive and flavoursome aspects of the album into one bewitching intrusive roar; contrasts and rigorous extremes embroiled in one emotionally fierce and sonically intensive fire. The best track on the album it ensures Under Paris end their confrontation with a gripping and lingering incitement.

Transitions is a thoroughly satisfying proposition. It does not always go as far in its imagination and boldness as it should and would be liked, meaning at times it fails to meet its potential but certainly the release shows Under Paris to be a band which should be locked into the radar and their album a regular proposal to embrace.

Transitions is available now via Imminence Records at most online stores and physically @ http://www.underparis.bigcartel.com


RingMaster 01/04/2015

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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/

Skeyes – Empty Mirrors


Like with post-hardcore, for any emerging band to stand out in metalcore, even in its more progressive state, is a bit of a tall order. US band Skeyes is another coming up against that challenge but with debut EP Empty Mirrors, the band certainly makes a potent introduction and offers plenty of potential that they can rise up from the pack. The four track offering is a very likeable slice of metal voracity with a melodic invention which wakes up the imagination. Whether it has enough to push the band above the crowd time will tell but right now the release sparks the feeling that the Pennsylvanian band can ascend to that spotlight pushing height at some point.

Skeyes was formed in 2013 by Jesse Cease and Tyler Williams, and originally was intended as a studio project. Their first year saw many changes in line-up which led to the becoming a fully functioning band with vocalist Dale Brosious and guitarist Ryan Macaluso alongside guitarist/vocalist Cease. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Erra, Mureau, Northlane, and For the Fallen Dreams, Skeyes have now arrived at the point of unleashing their presence on a broader landscape. Featuring guest vocals from Garret Rapp of The Color Morale and Jesse Cash of Erra, and released on Imminence Records to whom the band signed last October, Empty Mirrors is a more than solid and pleasing base for the band spring forth from.

Ethereal sets the ball rolling and instantly is a flame of clean vocals amidst a web of sonic enterprise, a coaxing punctuated by thumping rhythms which shows restraint in their attack but not their weight. With Garret Rapp bringing his strong guest tones to the song, it is soon a turbulent storm of an encounter, the caustic roars of Brosious an increasingly enjoyable squall against the warmer colours and harmonies of the song. The guitars also grab attention swiftly, tendrils of sonic imagination aligning with ragged riffs equipped with a djent seeded agitation. It is a strong song which satisfies with ease especially through the ever growing voracity of the rhythms, but elevates its stature with an excellent twist of melodic calm coloured by excellent vocals of Rapp.IR030

The following Myriad also needs a breath before unleashing its maelstrom of imagination and sonic tenacity. In some ways it is a less imposing and intrusive track yet still stirs up an intimidation and creative agitation which keeps expectations at bay. Even so there are plenty of recognisable things about the song, as the EP, but it would be amiss to not say it comes over as fresh and with a hungry passion as it roughs up and seduces the listener’s ears and thoughts. Strangely another thing in its favour and success is the briefness of its presence, at under three minutes the track is a dazzling quick jab to the senses with certainly as the old adage says, ‘leaves them wanting more’, just as the similarly swift offering of the EP’s title track which steps up next.

With Jesse Cash involved, Empty Mirrors is virtually a bedlamic swirl of venomous raw growls and melodic suggestiveness within a cage of aggressive riffery and belligerent rhythms. Holding magnetic calm at moments and unbridled energetic hostility in others, the song seduces with dramatic keys and impressive clean blazes of vocal expression. Easily the best thing on the release, the inventive bellow is as fascinating as it is exhausting and with more songs like this, Skeyes will definitely rise to join the cream of melodic metalcore.

The closing Ars Amatoria revels in the mellower side of the band’s sound and songwriting, initially at least anyway. The voice of we assume Cease shows its strongest and most impressive moments on the EP as the song brews up a tempest of sound and angst round him. It does not take long for Brosious to unleash his thick venom too as guitars paint a reflective sonic picture in the rabid frame of rhythms and riffs. The song is also brief, though this time it feels like an unfinished proposition once it departs, as if there was more to say but instead just walks away.

Empty Mirrors as suggested is a strong way to open up their entrance into the ears of the world. It is not going to shake the tree but certainly will do enough to ensure Skeyes and what comes next is given stronger attention, and if the band can really build on songs like the EPs title track, with equally potent rewards in return.

The Empty Mirrors EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/empty-mirrors


RingMaster 26/02/2015

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/


Vital Signs – Smoke And Mirrors



A new band but with a potent pedigree and experience bred in the Pennsylvania music scene amongst its members, Vital Signs make an immediate strong and attention grabbing impression with debut EP Smoke And Mirrors. Consisting of five tracks which skilfully croon and roar with a passion and adventure you can only form a healthy appetite for, the release shows there is some vibrant fresh blood stirring within the melodic metalcore scene. It is does not exactly breach the existing boundaries of the genre or startle with something imposingly new yet has an enterprise and tenacity to its songs which demands enjoyment and keen interest in their growth.

Formed in 2014, Vital Signs consists of Alex Runk (ex-An Early Ending), guitarists Alex Bolton (ex-Ace Augustine/ I Am History) and Bryan Merriman, bassist Frankie Donaldson and drummer Patrick Sherman (ex-I Am History). As mentioned it is a line-up rich with experience and it shows in the songwriting and simply mature nature of their first EP and indeed opening song Sound of the End. Its initial melodic atmosphere comes with an immediate drama which builds as the intensity and weight of the song increases. It all leads to a seconds pause before an eruption of fiery riffs aligns to crusading rhythms and a great steely bass sound for a potent enclosing of ears and senses subsequently lit further by the instantly engaging clean vocals. These are courted by a raw growl behind them which steps forward more forcibly as hostile antagonism from the guitars begins standing toe to toe and united with acidic grooves and anthemic persuasion. It is a seriously rousing stomp which is as carnivorous in tone and intent as it is seductive, a tempest of ideation and craft swirling around the listener with viciousness and inventive charm.

The outstanding start is backed powerfully by the EP’s first single Dear Death. The technical qualities of sound and band take the lead as the song bustles with a busy energy before finding occasional relaxation in a just as spicy and intriguing scenery of melody coloured sound. Though for personal tastes it does not quite match up to its predecessor, the track shows all the attributes and imagination which invigorates every song on the release. It is catchy and belligerent in equal measure musically and vocally, offering a web of spite and warm tones from where the attention stealing clean vocals are as gripping as the constant twisting of the track’s musical landscape.

A short piano led instrumental simply called Interlude comes next, though its emotive and finely crafted presence feels as if it is in the wrong place and suffers from an already hungry appetite only wanting more of the ravaging already devoured. That comes with The Chosen which employs similar melodic coaxing from the previous piece within its tempestuous and again furiously magnetic proposal. Essences of bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Miss May I make suggestions but similarly there already feels like there is a twist in the tail of Vital Signs’ sound which promises greater variety pushed adventures ahead. The song continues to bloom with vocal and keys spawned beauty against a staggered tirade of Meshuggah seeded tempestuousness, a blend continuing into the furnace intensity of the EP’s closing title track. For every searing guitar driven intrusion of the senses and swipe of rhythmic malice, there is a radiant melodic licking or vocal harmony caressing the wounds. It embroils ears and thoughts in a final raging and masterful storm ensuring sound and release lingers well after its departure.

A slight lack of originality against the crowd shows there is room to hone and explore their sound more, as well as at times a similarity certainly on the surface between songs. Also at times there is less potency in the raw growls compared to the continually impressive clean delivery, but to be honest these are minor thoughts right now in a rather enjoyable and promising first roar from Vital Signs.

The Smoke and Mirrors EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/smoke-and-mirrors


RingMaster 28/01/2015

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Synodik – A Matter Of Perception


It may only be three tracks, but by the close of A Matter Of Perception, the transfixing new release from Italian quartet Synodik, you feel like you have undertaken a journey of epic and thought provoking proportions. Merging progressive and atmospheric death metal, band and release is a sonic contemplation which immerses the senses in a compelling exploration. The successor to Sequences for a New Matrix, the band’s 2012 debut album, A Matter Of Perception is a challenging and riveting flight of discovery.

Genoa bred Synodik formed around five years ago initially under the name Asylum, and soon released the Drown In Pain EP. Live shows with bands such as Neaera, Sadist, Illogicist, Cadaveric Crematorium, Ade, Lifend, and Sideblast followed before the acclaimed Sequences For A New Matrix set down a potent marker for the band. Last year saw them sign with Imminence Records and begin the creation of A Matter of Perception, a trio of tracks which provide a new chapter in the creativity of the band; something explained further by guitarist Leandro Scotto who commented “We are using the EP to mark a new era for the band after two years have passed since the release of out self-produced full length. The concept behind the music arises from the love and enthusiasm for the contemplation of the universe and its arcane structures and paradoxes, and this concept is a true passion that really inspired the music.

The EP opens with Projections From the Edge, an imagination sparking instrumental lasting barely a minute but providing a soaring ascent of synths and melodies casting a celestial IR028grandeur. Its warmth and invitation is swiftly tossed into a maelstrom of vicious rhythmic incitement, vocal predation, and raw sonic aggression as When the Parallels Fall erupts upon the senses. Vocalist Matteo Campanini is an instant violation, an impressive scourge of vocal spite which antagonises as potently as it successfully lures thoughts and attention into the brewing tempest of invention and cosmic turbulence. With the drums of Edoardo Delucchi a persistent torrent of craft and aggression alongside the throaty bass enticing of  Jacopo Rossi (Antropofagus, Dark Lunacy) , the track accelerates into a bedlamic yet fluid and superbly sculpted storm. Scotto constantly evolves his creative narrative of keys and guitars across the ever shifting soundscape, stirring up a fury of sonic bluster as skilful as his melodic invention. The track is nothing less than unpredictable and rigorously testing, but with a multitude of excursions needed to explore all its depths and cavernous creative bodies, it is a constant reward just as the following and equally intensive The Perceived Wisdom.

The final track immediately sculpts its own cascade of inhospitable rhythms amidst a voracious climate as a tide of riff causticity roar alongside a radiant glow of clean vocals. Fury and beauty is again a raging and united front in ears, the charm and elegance of keys and voice a leading protagonist within the brawling tempest. As with its predecessor, the listener is flung and stretched from pillar to post, exhausted and violated with extreme currents of metal and intensity yet caressed by a celestial melodic balm and the increasingly gripping creative drama the song, and indeed EP conjures.

We can throw comparisons to band such as Opeth, Meshuggah, Abraham, and Black Crown Initiate to give an idea of the might and thickly flavoursome imagination of A Matter Of Perception, but it and Synodik have honed their cyclonic sound and enterprise into something uniquely in its own spotlight. This is a sonic ravaging that all extreme and progressive metal fans should embrace.

A Matter Of Perception is available via Imminence Records from January 13th @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-matter-of-perception


RingMaster 13/01/2015

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To Be A King – Fear Not


Hostile and seductive in one imposing slab of deathcore bred angst, the Fear Not EP is a challenging and ultimately rewarding debut from US metallers To Be A King. It is an encounter which takes time to persuade in parts and in other moments instantly takes a tight grip on the imagination. As mentioned the first release from the Virginian quintet is a testing proposition but a thoroughly fascinating and compelling protagonist for the senses which only leads to an appetite for more.

Forming barely four months ago, To Be A King has taken little time in making a mark and sparking keen attention at home. It is a band bursting with experience from its member’s previous endeavours, something audible in the technical craft and creative passion of To Be A King and their imaginative merger of symphonic and horror/metalcore essences with a deathcore seeded canvas of sound. Released on Imminence Records, Fear Not is a striking introduction to the band, an entrance soaked in uncompromising creative drama and ravenous aggression. It is an unbridled tempestuous onslaught but given time and intensive focus emerges as a rather impressive, potential fuelled encounter

Opening track is Plagued, an imagination igniting instrumental driven by keys and coloured by portentous emotions and sinister sounds. Building to an intensive climax, the piece sculpts a highly visual persuasion which has thoughts and emotions fully involved by the time it evolves into the EP’s title track. Within a breath of the second track, guitars are spinning a sonic web of intrigue and coarse melodic expression whilst rhythms badger and hunt the psyche alongside the raw guttural threat of vocals. Voices come in a varied spillage of venom to drive the track deep into ears and emotions, imaginatively assisted by the carnivorous skills and intent of the guitars. Beneath the turmoil though, clean vocals share their slight lures, the band’s calls almost smothered by the intensity around them but coming forward enough to be audible, especially when the elegant caress of keys reassert their presence towards the end of the song. It is a gripping assault on senses and thoughts, its short length ensuring every note and corrupted syllable comes with intensive drama.

The following Arkaik swiftly has its fingers into the heart of the imagination, the chilling touch of keys from the start a delicious coaxing before the brutal and bruising weight of the track 2pnlshows muscle and intensity. Riffs and beats take charge, along with the similarly hostile vocals, and with wiry grooves and a throaty bassline joining a blackened tirade of vocals, the song is soon weaving through a landscape of almost vitriolic invention and intrusive adventure. As the whole release, the song just grows and impresses with every listen, new elements and depths emerging as ears traverse and explore the unrelenting and imaginative emprise of sound.

The track is the pinnacle of the release, setting a benchmark not quite rivalled by the dark charms and ravenous presence of Desolation. Celestial, or should that be demonic, harmonies from the keys provide an initial haunting before the track expels its ruinous heart with raging vocals, vicious rhythms, and scorching sonic causticity. Jaggedness scars the riffing, bringing a familiar essence with little surprises, though that is left to the spatial elegance and drama of the keys to offer. The song again has ears and thoughts enticed but something is missing compared to its predecessors, the song ultimately lacking a spark to inflame and seriously excite even if it has no issue keeping satisfaction and enjoyment fully contented.

Forgiven brings the release to a close, the track a beast of a proposal from its first moment, standing over and leering at the listener with predacious riffs and the band’s ever antagonistic rhythms. Raw and rabid at times whilst casting some of the most radiant sonic beauty on the EP, the final song is an engrossing adventure revealing more of the band’s songwriting and technical prowess, not forgetting imagination. Again it misses sparking the same levels of personal emotion as to that ignited by the first half of the release, but only adds to the promise and expectation of big things ahead for To Be A King.

May be one EP is too soon to expect the band to rise to major heights but it shows that all the weaponry in skill and potential is there, and going by tracks like Arkaik, the invention too.

The Fear Not EP is available on Imminence Records from December 9th @ http://tobeaking.bigcartel.com/ and http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/fear-not


RingMaster 09/12/2014

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Embracer – My Father’s Will


Three months ago Imminence Records announced the signing of US indie rock/post-hardcore band Embracer and this week sees the unveiling of their label debut, the rather flavoursome and captivating My Father’s Will EP. Consisting of five imaginative and passionately presented tracks, the release is a rigorously enticing proposition from a band with the potential to make big strides ahead.

The West Virginian band initially began in 2010 as a hardcore fuelled encounter and with the name World Famous, but a name change with the release of the Dreamers EP came in 2011 revealed an emerging shifting and growth in the band and sound. Line-up changes and evolution in ideas and invention, before and from that time, saw the band begin its development into the fiery melodic rock proposal before us with My Father’s Will. Inspired by the likes of Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Circa Survive, Polyneso, Balance and Composure, and This Will Destroy You, Embracer has been a determined force, battling the less than supportive Charleston music scene. They have continued though to brew up attention and a potent fan base which the Matt Malpass (Dance Gavin Dance, Hey Monday, Relient K, Manchester Orchestra) recorded My Father’s Will can only reinforce and accelerate.

It is always important to make a good first impression in any aspect of life, and it is fair to say that Embracer makes a striking one with opener A Man Without Country. A sultry twang of melodic guitar coaxes ears at first to be swiftly joined by the impressive tones of vocalist Jordan Bradley, his voice expressive and potent ensuring lyrics and emotions get a clear airing from within songs. Guitarists Karl Shaver and Ryan Pullin cast enticing chords and melodies around him whilst drummer Zakk Garcia and bassist Dylan Costinteen build an unimposing but sinew lined frame across and through it all. Essences of melodic and alternative rock also colour the post hardcore fuelled track, every moment a fascinating and unpredictable portrait of sound and emotion.

It is an outstanding start swiftly matched by the following Downtrodden. There is a similarity in the cavernous production of the vocals at certain times and the ebbing and flowing of the intensity across the powerful encounter, but polaroid 1500 suqare 300 dpisimilarly there is an individual presence and drama to the gripping adventure. The song reminds of now demised Dead Til Friday across its inventive temptation, never a bad comparison, and also in its smouldering infectiousness of Able Archer, the track even in is restrained gait discovering a persistent bounce.

My Sons My Brothers sidles gracefully up to ears next, again a single guitar stroking senses and thoughts with its evocative melodies before the track expands its expressive and creative breath. By the third song it is easy to see that there is a familiarity between songs if not quite a firm similarity, structures and textures never straying from a seemingly shared template. Despite that though, there is little to defuse the lure and potency of songs, this track a melancholic but vibrant and thickly emotive offering of predominantly instrumental skill and enterprise.

Band and release continue to impress with the emotionally full-blooded Anastasia and finally its punchy title track. The first of the two is a thrilling and pungent wash of raging melodies and vocal emotion. The most inventively colourful and flirtatious track on the release, it steals the passions like no other, almost alone making Embracer a prospect to nail to the radar. It’s mouth-watering quality and provocative beauty makes way for the rich passion and inflamed emotive hues of the last song, My Father’s Will a tender but rugged blaze of melodic fire and stirring expression across an equally intense skeleton of rhythms and bracing shadows. It is a fine end to an excellent first look for us at Embracer, an encounter which already has bred keen anticipation for their next endeavour.

There are no major negatives to conjure up about the release though certainly tracks are closely related in many ways to require closer focus to stop a few merging. There is also for personal tastes an overuse of the hollow effect on Bradley’s vocals across the album which niggles rather than lures, and he certainly does not need any assistance from technology to impress it should be noted, but these are small things which will iron out as the band grows. Right now Embracer is a highly promising and definitely enjoyable proposition, the evidence is all there in My Father’s Will.

The My Father’s Will EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/my-fathers-will


RingMaster 05/11/2014

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