Centuries – The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding

It has been four and a half years since hardcore fury Centuries scorched this earth with their debut album Taedium Vitae, time we can say thanks to its successor which has not seen the band mellow a degree. In fact The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding reveals the band’s sound has become even more sonically and emotionally irritable yet honed into a tempest of noise and intent as precise in its aim and impact as it is rousing in its nagging causticity.

The years between releases has also seen the 2008 formed band’s line-up evolve to now include members based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee, and Manchester in the UK. Similarly the Centuries sound has grown and matured; its dark hardcore breeding embracing even richer crust and metal hues amidst bolder adventure. It is imposing, invasive, and persistently tormented; a harrowing and severely intense mix which also manages to be violently infectious and increasingly cathartic. Carrying a theme of constant self-doubt, “It follows how we choose to accept our loses and the reaction to life, as well as the journey we take to make peace with the demons we’ve made”, the air is a searing soundscape once more within their creative tempest just one more grievous, blacker, and inescapably compelling.

Recorded with by Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business (Catharsis, Torch Runner, The Body) last year and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Black Breath, Halshug), The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding first scores the senses with its title track. Initial silence soon brews an electronic lure, its impending incursion quickly joined by vocal irritancy and a raw scarring of guitar. Just as swiftly it all unites in an insatiable charge, rhythms wildly yet precisely flung as acidic grooves tempt and abrase but an inhospitable surge as catchy and irresistible as it is punishing, and quite superb.

The outstanding start continues with Wooden Hands; it’s first coaxing an intimate acoustic melody, its second down an inviting line offering a furious expulsion of senses crippling beats, scavenging riffs, and vocal discontent. As the first, it has an instinctive infectiousness, an organic swing to a sonic chastisement which grips the imagination and manages to enhance rather than defuse the song’s vehemence.

Bygones is next up with barely two minutes of infernal confrontation. It is barbarous and unforgiving yet too has that contagious ability to tease and manipulate with virulent traits before Soil unleashes its own ruinous tirade. With a sludge thick weight but no less boisterous in its creative and physical mauling, the track prowls the listener, stalking their psyche before giving it a hellacious clubbing. As in all tracks though, the mayhem is finely sculpted and skilfully woven, every twist a fresh coercion into the heart of turbulence.

The following Bow Across A String sends a cascade of corrosion across the senses, every rhythm and riff putting them under duress but equally exciting them while each unpredictable turn in its caustic exploration has ears hooked and imagination challenged and aroused. Closing on the most excruciatingly intrusive yet addictive repetitious sonic yawn, the track leads into the meandering arms of The Climb. Its grooved vining wraps around the senses with ease as vocals scour their lining, muggy smog emerging to envelope the inviting bait and subsequently collude with equal potency with them as the track worms its nefarious way under the skin.

A delicious causticity of bass opens up The Endless Descent, its insidious grumble soon met by the raw throated assault of vocals and together triggering another highly addictive scourge of deliciously grooved bullying which only gets more captivating and debilitating by the second. That majestic ability to entangle extremes continues through the portentously shadowed May Love Be With You Always, its relentless rhythmic shuffle alone sheer captivation matched by the tapestry of guitar and groan of the menace brooding bass. The track is a maelstrom of sound and intent, a vortex of intensity which ebbs and flows but persistently pressures and pleasures as a host of flavours infuse its incursion.

A sepia toned clean vocal beckoning opens up Fury next, its dusty air shared by another mesmeric acoustic melody. It is an enthralling request for attention which boils up its emotions and air into a melancholically hazed wind and a proposition which bewitches before evolving into the rapacious climate of Nul Orietur. The outrage is a cyclone of suggestion and provocation, from the rolling enterprise of its rhythms and the inescapable snaring of its hooks and grooves to the scalding touch of its riffs and vocals, the album’s closer is another compelling assault to lead the album out on another major high.

With their debut Centuries made a major introduction to themselves, with The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding they have uncaged one of the essential hardcore furies of this or any year.

The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding is out now via Southern Lord Recordings and available @ https://centuriessl.bandcamp.com/album/the-lights-of-this-earth-are-blinding

https://www.facebook.com/centuriesfl

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A Life of Torment – Fracture/Conscious

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Imposing in nature, sound, and emotional intensity, Fracture/Conscious is an impressive introduction to hardcore band A Life of Torment. It takes no prisoners as it challenges ears and psyche yet has an anthemic essence to it which grips without reserve. It is a sound and debut which already implies that the Virginia quartet is going to be a proposition to set genre tongues wagging with acclaim ahead, a prospect hard to avoid getting excited over.

There is not a great deal we can enlighten you about the band, their emergence shrouded, whether intentionally or not, in mystery and a lack of revelations They do draw on inspirations such as Disembodied, Chapter, Integrity, May Day, and seemingly the heart of hardcore in its beginnings to their sound, that we know, but there the information stops and the music takes over.

Fracture is the first track and instantly provides an addictive web of marching rhythms and riffs bound in an alluring acidic and tempting groove. It is the makings of an addictive nature, one just as hungry in accepting the caustic ire of the vocals and riffery which take over once the rich sonic toxicity steps aside. Vocalist Dominic roars with venom, every syllable coming with a scathing of spite as the pungent beats of Caleb collude with the throaty bass bait of Isaac to continue the rhythmic enslaving which set the song off. It is only part of the picture though, great unpredictability bringing in shifts of energy and gait including a slip into a slow crawl which briefly induces clean vocals and another raw embrace of tangy sonic enterprise. The track is hostile and uncomfortably uncompromising but also infectiously gripping as it digs its virulent hooks deep into the psyche.

Its companion Conscious is no different, its unique nature and presence crafted on magnetic rhythmic tempting crowded over by tempestuous intensity and vocals; all aligned to similarly abrasing riffs. Guitarist Jonah spins a riveting mix of vicious riffery and sonic temptation, every hook and groove draped in angst and poison whilst simultaneously providing irresistible temptation. Again a varied vocal attack catches the imagination whilst a post punk sombreness only adds to the drama and success of the excellent encounter.

Expect to hear plenty more of A Life of Torment and in increasingly potent light as Fracture/Conscious infests the psyche of hardcore and raw punk fans alike. For a first assault, this EP is just fascination.

Fracture/Conscious is available now digitally as a name your price download @ http://alifeoftorment.bandcamp.com/releases and on limited edition red or white cassette via Blasphemour Records @ http://blasphemourrecords.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=89&product_id=248

RingMaster 03/02/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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New furies and raw bruises: Talking Riwen with band founder and Cult of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson

Riwen Johannes Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

 

There is little to compare the sound of Cult of Luna and hardcore band Riwen but they are both soaked in the craft and passion of vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson. His new project prowls a whole new landscape of sound and invention, creating an intensive and brutally imposing provocation unique from but no less gripping and impressive than those cast by he and his Cult of Luna band mates. Having the chance to look into the heart of Riwen thanks to Johannes himself, we asked him about his new exploit’s seeds, approach to writing and recording compared to his ‘day job’, and much more…

Hello Johannes and thank you for sharing time to talk with us.

Can we start with the spark which brought Riwen into existence and what inspired the exploration of the hardcore bred sound of the band?

I love what we do with Cult of Luna and that we have spent a lot of effort to make our live show what it is but it can be frustrating with all the hours of preparations each day on tour. I felt like I needed something less complicated than the Cult of Luna Juggernaut. I just wanted a band where I could show up with a guitar, crank up the volume and just play. So last fall I wrote 14 songs in 14 days, inspired by bands that I listened to during my teenage years such as Judge, Integrity, Battery, Chain of Strength and so forth. When I had the music I started to call a bunch of friends. The end result is Riwen.

Hardcore is a style which has gripped personally over the years?

I wouldn’t say that. I listen to all kinds of music and I haven’t kept any track on what is going on in the hardcore scene after the 90’s. Everything I hear that I think is what hardcore is today sounds like over produced pro tools cut and paste start/stop metal and does not appeal to me. But the punk/hardcore bands that I got into when I was a teenager still sticks with me and I still love that kind of music.

riwen1

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

What have been the inspirations which fired up your taste for hardcore and which maybe tipped some influence into Riwen and a sound which is more than simply hardcore in many ways we feel?

I have always had a leaning to band that took it seriously whether they were writing about political or personal stuff. So there are too many bands to mention (more than in my answer above) but the important thing is that I never got a vent for my love of fast and aggressive hardcore and that is why Riwen is what Riwen is. I know we are bringing something new, or at least, unconventional to the table and I am who I am and my personal writing has probably bleed over the classic hardcore that I wanted to write. For good or for Ill, that’s for the listener to decide.

You have just released your three-track self-titled EP; did you have any specific hopes for it?

No, we just wanted to get a few tracks out there so we could start playing shows.

You are joined in Riwen for the EP by Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. How did you all originally meet and was there much persuasion getting them on board for the band?

I have known both of them for many years since they were playing in a band from my area called Totalt jävla mörker. Christian has been playing live as a stand in drums for Cult of Luna for the last couple of years so we know each other very well. I actually didn’t plan to ask Fredrik since I knew he quit Totalt Jävla Mörker and I thought he didn’t wanted to do any more screaming vocals but Christian convinced me to ask and I am so glad I did.

I am right in thinking that the line-up is different now?

Since we recorded the EP we have been joined by Christoffer Röstlund on bass and Marita Jonsson Mätlik on guitar.

Your sound and release is obviously something very different to Cult of Luna, did this make or dictate a different approach to songwriting and the recording of the EP to that general with the ‘day job’?

It is totally different but it is hard to explain. This might sound strange but with Riwen I have much lower standard of what I let slip through the riff writing conveyer belt I have in my head. With Cult of Luna I keep 1 out of 100 riffs but with Riwen I just write and whatever comes out I keep. The music is no less important to me but it is a very different outlook on the writing and a very cleansing experience.

The EP is raw and aggressive, brutal at times with an energy and primal intensity which suggests it was recorded live in the studio. How were the songs recorded?

We recorded the songs in a small mouldy DIY studio in Umeå. We recorded it during 6 hours in a cold and dark winter night. I told Fredrik (that recorded the whole thing) that I was going to give him two takes on each instruments. If I screw up then that is what is going to end up on the record. A few of my favorite albums of all time are a few of the worst recorded and played records of all time. If you play with sincerity it will come out on the recording even if you do some mistakes. I also love the idea of catching a moment. If you do something wrong and keep it you have caught the moment in where you recorded the song. If you spend days on a song and make sure everything is perfect you have killed the emotional life of it. If everything is fixed so it sounds spotless there is no way you can tell if the recording is 10-20 years old but if you keep the mistakes you have recorded a ”now” moment.

riwen coverDid you go into that process with specific goals or rather it was letting something new for you evolve organically?

My only goal was to write music that interests me. Whatever happens here on is totally unknown for us as for anyone else.

The caustic sound which ignites the release has an honesty and personality which for all its raging also seems to fuel songs with an intimacy or personal connection to the band. What inspired the songs and their lyrical premises?

It’s a hard question to answer since I have only written the songs for myself and no one else. So of course they are very personal but that is the nature of song writing. When it comes to the lyrics it is Fredrik’s contribution so I don’t have much to say about that.

How has the EP’s release been received and looked at by especially Cult of Luna fans?

I honestly don’t know. It hasn’t been reviewed in any major magazine as I know but that is nothing strange since EP’s doesn’t usually get that much attention. Haven’t heard anything from any Cult of Luna fans yet…but this is very different music than CoL and I don’t expect that people will like Riwen just because they like another band I’m in.

Do you think it took them and the music world’s expectations by surprise, their assumptions coloured again by your Cult of Luna successes?

I don’t think it is a secret that we came from the Umeå hardcore scene but I have no idea of what people expect from us as musicians. I am a very diverse person and I want and need to do a whole lot of different things to satisfy my creative lust and this is one of them. Next time I might turn 180 degrees and do something completely different.

Being just a trio initially, is there a form of freedom and maybe even excitement live and creating music which is especially for the former of the two things more restrained by the bigger size of your other band?

We are not a trio anymore even though we were at the time when the EP was recorded and I must say that it was very tempting to keep it that way. Creatively it is much easier but in the long run I think that it is good for a band to have many members. Tension is always going to be created and I think it is better to have many people to be able turn to when you feel aggravated. If you only are three and somebody is getting on your nerves it might create an infected situation for the group. The more people the more diluted the conflicts are.

Tell us about the live side of the band, again it is a different beast being just the three/five making a vat full of compelling and furious noise?

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Again, we are five now and we have only done one show so far and to be honest I didn’t feel it any different from Cult of Luna. Even though a live situation is a collective effort en responsibility I always play for myself and hardly know that the other members are there, except for the drummer.

Can we expect Riwen to be an on-going presence when other commitments allow?

I don’t know. Cult of Luna is always going to be my first priority musically and I have many more things that I want to do. Apart from that I am a parent and my family comes first. But it feels great to have this vent and even though we will not keep this pace of writing 20 songs in a year we will be able to tour and do shows every now and then.

What is next for the band and yourself?

We are just about to go into the studio to record our album. Hopefully we’ll be able to record about 15 songs but we need to have some bar of quality so I don’t know how many that will end up on the album. We have a few shows coming up but nothing booked outside of Scandinavia yet but I hope that we can get out in Europe next summer for a couple of shows.

Thanks again Johannes for taking time out to chat with us.

Thank you for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

Read the review of Riven’s debut EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/riwen-self-titled/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 03/12 /2014

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Riwen – Self Titled

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Making their debut with a furious three track self-titled EP, Riwen is the new hardcore fuelled project of Cult Of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson. It is an encounter which prowls a whole new landscape for the musician but on the evidence of the band’s first release, one as passionately driven and explored as anything you would expect from his creative mind and craft. It is intensive and brutally imposing, and whilst the release is not breaking dramatic new ground for hardcore, its ferociously dark and heavy presence veined with sonic and melodic tenacity, makes it potently stand out.

Alongside Persson, Riwen’s line-up is completed by Totalt Jävla Mörker current and former members in respectively Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. The band emerged from songs which Persson wrote last year, a clutch of tracks inspired by in his words, “the vein of music that I grew up to and was the influence when I learned to write music about 20 years ago. Think early 90’s hardcore like Integrity, Judge, Damnation AD, Battery, Amce and onward in that fashion.” The result is a presence and sound to the band which takes no prisoners and is ill-tempered in breath and touch but also emotionally transfixing and melancholically hostile.

The EP opens with Nature Calls Us Back, a sonic resonance the spring board for a colossal avalanche of beats and grievous predatory riffs. That wall of sound is soon into a heavily imposing stride blistered with an intermittent sonic 10491081_247638098767358_6414857369916074870_nenterprise. It is an uncompromising and intensive examination yet deceptively contagious, raw grooves and barbed hooks littering the tsunami of passion and intensity guided by coarse vocal squalls. It may not blow the senses from their safety but the track permeates and grows in strength and corrosive rabidity over time to linger and mark an impressive first attack from the band.

The following Values similarly flies at ears though it gets down to business with a quicker and more voracious viciousness from its opening breath. An acidic groove even in its short intrusions makes compelling bait within the sonic and impassioned fury raging around it, before making a longer and spicier impact as the brawl of vocals and rhythms spread their venom with energy and spite to match the rage of guitars. It is a relentless torrent of noise and anger which again grips the imagination with ease before making way for the closing track, Karlsgrundet.

Initially a slower, more lumbering protagonist but with a keen canter to its hungry predation, the song builds up its intimidating climate and intensity until it breaks and careers into a furnace of fleet footed rhythmic animosity and sonic savagery. There is still some rein on it all though which allows an adventurous tempest of enterprise from drums and guitars as the bass prowls with bestial purpose. Though the release is not exactly a ground-breaking exercise within hardcore, the track explores a blackened and heavily unleashed violation which certainly adds new flavoursome twists and endeavour to anything from the genre in 2014.

Ending with a shadowed stringed coaxing which still holds a portentous threat, the song is a drama drenched investigation of ears and emotions which, added to the first pair, provides something as riveting as it is imposing. Riwen, band and EP, leaves appetite and anticipation healthy and eager for more from the project ahead, whilst expectations are now high and greedier thanks to this impressive first offering.

Riwen has now added bassist Christoffer Röstlund Jonsson and guitarist Marita Jonsson Mätlik to the line-up.

The Riwen EP is available on CD and 10″ vinyl from October 13th on Indie Recordings @ http://www.omerch.eu/shop/indierecordings/search.php?pg=1&stext=Riwen&scat=2302&nobox=true

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

RingMaster 13/10/2014

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

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