Straight On Target: Pharmakos

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A seething thunderous brute of an album with raptorial tendencies and deep malicious intensity, Pharmakos the debut album from Italian deathcore metallers Straight On Target is an immense and heavily imposing release. It is also a contagious pleasure which leaves one exhausted from and basking in extreme metal at its best. Using established weaponry for the main, the album stays within already set walls but pushes their limits with compelling and irresistible sounds. It is venomous, violent, and wholly irresistible.

The quintet from Piacenza made their mark with their first EP Mediocritas in 2011, the release earning strong acclaim from fans and media alike. Creating a furnace of sound and energy recalling the likes of Aborted, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel, and Impending Doom, the line-up of vocalist Andrea Scaglia, guitarists Giulio Castruccio and Daniele Molinari, bassist Nicolò Rossi, and drummer Federico Buzzetti, have let loose a ravenous monster of an album which surely will place the band into the awareness of a wider extreme metal audience. Released via Bakerteam Records, Pharmakos is a thrilling antagonistic confrontation which quite simply is impossible not to be sucked into and thrilled by.

Straight On Target seduces the ear first with Theta, a brief sonic abrasion with a startling ambience and menacing breath. It rubs CoverHDthe senses enough to set them on end before evolving into the rabid intensity of Ostrakon. Beginning with deeply resonating rhythms and cranky riffs the song slowly spreads its muscular arms to surround and immerse the ear intently. Once the colossal synapse chewing vocals of Scaglia enter into the midst of the brewing storm, the guitars, bass, and drums raise the temperature further and the impending assault to greater heights. The track never quite takes off in to an all-out assault though and is all the better for that, but instead leaves on a sonic acid of sound which is equally painful and inviting.

The monstrous Demonized next torments and ravishes the ear with a ferocity to scorch the hair from the skin with barbaric blast beats and debilitating rhythmic brutality at the core of its fire. There is nowhere to hide as the track scars and violates every inch of thoughts and senses whilst the body itself is treated to a furnace of aggression. Within the tempest though the band unleashes grooves and addictive melodic teasing which are quite delicious. Arguably this is the template for most of the songs on the album but it is a contagion which rewards as much as it eagerly destroys and one you just do not want to end.

The likes of the brilliant Wake the Apathetic and equally impressive Dreadful Eyes incite an insatiable need and desire for more of the unforgiving corrosion. The first of the pair has an insidious groove which emerges from time to time from within a brawling storm of riff borne intensity and rhythmic turbulence. It is again irresistible and lights up a track which already is perpetually shifting and energising the heart. The second squeals and rampages like a stampede of hellish boars, its brute force and satanic air a captivation which feeds the primal needs of all whilst igniting destructive propensity. If the release had finished right here the recommendation to check out the album would have topped the scale but with the continuing might and excellence within each and every track to come complimenting those mentioned Pharmakos is easily the first essential extreme metal album of the year.

The tribalistic Initiation which unexpectedly brings thoughts of Lord Of The Flies to the fore, the bone crushing and breath sapping He Spreads Hypocrisy, and the carnally coloured Synesthesia all continue the staggering strength and quality of the album whilst closing track Palms Leaves Readers is a final creative fit of rage and violent belligerence. It is an epic end to an epic album, a release which leaves you gleefully shell shocked.

To be over fussy there is a similarity across the release which is noticeable but to be honest unimportant within the striking impressive throat of the release and only adds to the depth of the density and intensity of Pharmakos. It is an outstanding album and marks Straight On Target as a band you should know about.

https://www.facebook.com/StraightOnTarget

RingMaster 14/01/2013

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Allegaeon: Formshifter

Formshifter the new album from Colorado melodic death metallers Allegaeon is just one of those beasts that you can only be impressed by no matter which metallic flavour lines your heart most. It is quite simply a masterpiece of defence splitting aggression, mesmeric technical prowess, and blistering scorched melodies, that is not to mention the deeply manipulative grooves and tumultuous numbing riffage which drives each and every track. The album is immense, a ruthless incursion of ear and heart which leaves one in no doubt they have just experienced the mightiest and most invigorating storm.

    Formshifter is the follow up to 2010 debut album Fragments of Form and Function, an album that put them on the metal map with force. Formed in 2008 by founding member and guitarist Ryan Glisan and soon completed with the addition of classically trained guitarist Greg Burgess, vocalist Ezra Haynes, and bassist Corey Archuleta, Allegaeon (pronounced: uh-lee-juhn) drew attention with their four tracked self-titled EP of the same year. 2009 saw them sign with Metal Blade Records and the eventual release of their critically acclaimed first album the year after. Following up such an impressive introduction to the wider world is always testing but they make it look easy as they return with an album that puts even that mighty debut in the shade.

Recorded at Lambesis Studios with Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying, Impending Doom, Carnifex, Winds of Plague), Formshifter splatters the senses against the cranium from the start with not only brutal intensity and insatiable grooves but also from the sheer class of their melodic invention. It never leaves one alone for a moment persistently barracking, provoking and captivating. It retains the core sound that made its predecessor so dominant but brings a fuller depth and uses a wider palate to create with. The band adds in multi sourced flavours to their melodic death metal spine without diminishing the tight powerful structure and strengths that make them Allegaeon; in fact they have simply just made them even more formidable.

The opening melodic beckoning of first song Behold (God I Am) sets one up majestically for the soon to follow wall of destructive intensity, and riffs that cripple the senses within seconds. It is a rampant muscular assault that leaves no avenue twisted and escape route blocked with its mountainous intensity. With solos which leave flesh as cinders the track is a stunning start to the album and yet not even close to be the best track on the album.

The following Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst explores inner corners you did not know existed as its grooves search out every shadow for the stunning guitar invention to glow within. Not one for over blown guitar play or constant solos it is still impossible not to be blown away from the imaginative and glorious creations from Glisan and Burgess, the latter one of the finest guitarists around and with the discipline and skill to stay well away from indulgence.  Throughout the vocals of Haynes growl and crawl all over the emotions with authority, emotion and venomous spite veining every track with a harsh intensity.

Every song on the album is a ravenous predator upon the ear mauling with titanic riffs and melodic ingenuity that lights every pore. The likes of the unrelenting bruising Iconic Images, the viciously clawed The Azrael Trigger a track which twists and torments the senses until you have no idea what day it is, and the infection spewing From The Stars Death Came, all leave one a breathless husk as they devour every synapse and feeling.  It is with Twelve – Vals For The Legions though that the band ignites the most ravenous fire within.  It immediately consumes with a groove which tantalises and excites whilst wrapping it in a fury of rhythms and riffs to bring any stiff kneed recipient to the floor. Contagious and intimidating the song prowls the ear as the guitars eagerly offer a mesmeric sonic intrusion with a final captivation coming from the brief Latin classical guitar insertions which invite nothing but the deepest affection. As the track drops its final colossal note it transforms into a wonderful guitar instrumental, the classical heart and skill of Burgess irresistible, and though the piece feels unrelated to the song it aligns itself to it is a deeply satisfying moment on the album to match the song itself.

Formshifter is immense and Allegaeon a metal giant, the album is the proof so now is the time to go and be impressed.

RingMaster 16/05/2012

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Interview with Tormentor of Desaster

For twenty four years German metalers Desaster have treated metal through shows and releases to thrash fuelled venomous aggression veined with black metal malevolence and spite. With a  formidable intensity the band has brought forth sounds with a distinct old school heart and intent. With the recent release of new album The Arts of Destruction they showed they had not lost any of their might or potency but increased it. To find out more about the band, album and Desaster we had the chance to send questions the way of drummer Tormentor who kindly revealed all.

Hi and welcome to The RingMaster Review. Many thanks for sparing time to talk to us.

Desaster is entering its 24th year as a band with your brand new album The Arts of Destruction. How do you keep going with the same if not greater intensity and quality as shown on the album over such a span of years?

Thank you for these flowers! Maybe it is the love for music and the love doing this. And of course we don’t life on Desaster, so we are free to do what we want. That really motivate if you can do it ONLY your way!

Let us talk about The Arts of Destruction first of all. It feels like an even more intense release than ever from you but comes with a more defined creative use of distinctly crafted melodies as one aspect, was this a conscious thing or just how your music emerged naturally?

This was not constructed or planed. We only write songs, and this time everything is a little more melodic. Do not know how to describe this happens naturally!

We  thought the album showed Desaster were eager not so much to venture and break into new directions from your own sound but to explore your own boundaries more, would that be fair to say?

Yes, that sounds fair! Hahaha! Yes, of course, the main course is set, and this is the way it has meant to be. And we love it this way, but we growing older (and fatter!) and maybe this is a little more melodic.

Which aspects of the album are you most proud of and what do you feel is the biggest evolution of your sound since previous release 666 – Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate?

I like SSS a little bit more than the new one, but the sound on The Arts Of Destruction is very good. We took the decision that we won’t do the mix on our own, and gave it to the hands of a good friend. (Mr. Angel of IMPENDING DOOM) That was a good decision, ’cause now the sound is very organic but still powerful. I also like the different types of songs on the new one; it won’t bore you, even when you listen to it very often.

Did you enter the studio with a defined idea and sound or was it a more organic emergence by the album whilst within those walls?

Not really, but with the years you know how to work to get the sound you want. You learn from your mistakes and do it better. But the songs where all written, everything was fixed.

How does the song writing process work within the band?

All the riffs (building the basics of the songs) came from Infernal, like every time. But we build the song together at the rehearsal room and record demos from the shit. So I can listen to the demos and write the lyrics, and choose the titles which fits to the songs spirit. I hope it fits?!?!

There have been a few line-ups changes over the years but has the approach to writing songs remained reasonably much the same despite the different people involved?

In the early days the line up changes a little bit, but since we had done records only one drummer and the singer changed, and since 2001 there was NO change. Infernal is the Riffmaster, and the last remaining member. This is not a surprise that Desaster sounds like Desaster throughout the years.

The power and intense might you produce with your music is formidable to say the least, how easy is it to keep that in check enough to avoid the melodic skill and ideas of the band from being smothered?

Puh, we do not think about these things, we only write songs and record them if we like them. Easy, very easy!

How have you as musicians and as a band changed in regard to recording music compared to previous albums such as Angelwhore or further back Hellfire’s Dominion?

I do not think that we are musicians at all. But of course you get better on your instrument throughout the years. We love to play live, and that brings you together, to have a tighter sound.

Over the expanse of the bands life you have picked up a constant flow of new fans whilst holding on to those who were there at the start. Do they look for the same thing in the band would you say though they caught onto your music at a different stage and sound in its evolution and if not is this something that you think about when composing songs?

We do not care and think about that. We want to write the songs we like, and do not look at everything around. But we stay truth to our roots, so most of the old fans respected that, even when we sound is a little different from album to album. But hey, we do not betray anything Desaster stands for since the beginning, even when some people say we move a little from BLACK to DEATH. The new one is more black, and it would be boring if every album sounds the same.

Excluding the impressive The Arts of Destruction, which moments have been the profound highlights for the band to date either recording wise or in another aspect of Desaster?

Mainly every concert is a highlight, we do not play many tours, mostly gigs at the weekend, so for me this is a kind of ritual, bringing the beast on stage. I won’t play a tour with 20 gigs in 21 days. It has to stay something special, so I can say, every concert is a little highlight. But I known want you mean, and the tours through South America I remember very often.

Are you touring or dropping some shows upon the world in support of the new album?

Of course, we will have three gigs in Columbia in April, and we will do one show every month at the coming weekends of 2012. That is enough promotion, and beware it had to stay a ritual hahahaha…

Do you still get the same buzz from all that goes into live shows or has it changed into a different emotion until hitting the stage after so many years?

No, for me nearly every gig is fantastic. I love the conversation between the band and the audience. We want to entertain and feel that the people like it and get wild.  If we reach this everything is fine.

What were your initial influences and over such a long time what others have come in to drive you further in recent years?

(OLD for all bands I will mention )SLAYER, VENOM, KREATOR, SODOM….
But I also listen to different types of music, but if it comes to metal I like at more extreme. Maybe this is a question for you. Which influences do YOU hear? Hahahaha

Any plans yet on how to celebrate the bands 25th year?

Yes, but I will not tell you yet. This should be a surprise.

Thanks again for talking with out and good luck with the album.

Would you like to leave with a message or comment for those about to feast upon The Arts of Destruction?

Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrsinn!

Read the The Arts of Destruction review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/desaster-the-arts-of-destruction/

Ringmaster Review 04/3/2012

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