Chasing Sanity – Anathema

Chasing Sanity is the new solo project from Erik Martin, formerly of Erik Dismembered and one half of Skin Drone; a new creative adventure born from the ashes of the first of those two when Martin decided to “start over and rebrand” himself and his music having felt “uninspired to write anything under the Erik D moniker”. In many ways, Chasing Sanity is closer in style to his work with Otto Kinzel as Skin Drone but as swiftly revealed within debut album Anathema, creating its own unique and fascinating world of imagination and sound.

Though you might primarily tag Anathema as Avant Industrial Metal, it is equally a kaleidoscope of atmospheric and cinematic textures drawn from the darkest corners and depths of the imagination. Every track is a challenge and canvas for the imagination to conjure upon and a place where intimate horrors collude with broader nightmares. Themed by “anxious depression and anger” bred in Martin’s own experienced emotional turmoil, the album opens with You Fiend. Primarily an instrumental release, the first track features the vocal prowess of Nate Exx Gradowski from Isolated Antagonist, AutomatoN, and Quo. Straight away the raw snarl of guitar stalks the senses, inserting their toxic magnetism as Gradowski adds his multi-textured presence within a similarly diverse lure of synths. Every second of the song leads to a fresh turn and unpredictable twist, Gradowski’s switches between harsh and clean vocals matched very second of the way by invasive yet captivating sound.

In many ways, the opener is a straight forward proposal to embrace compared to its successors where the imagination is as active as ears.  Cursed is next up, gliding in on the infectious throb of bass as an increasing web of sound and noise insert their suggestive glimpses into the track’s brewing landscape. Drama fuels every second, metal nurtured riffs and trespasses gripping bait but persistently interrupted by haunting atmospherics and sombre shadows to catch ears and thoughts off guard time and time again. As with all pieces, interpretation will be unique to the individual but unavoidable as the track provokes and inspires before Depths Of Euphoria immerses ears in its own disarming quiet suggestiveness. Even more cinematic than its predecessor, the song is like a flight through night clad scenery with sinister shadows and dark traps waiting to spring.

The industrial intimidation of Haunted Walls quickly has thoughts and emotions involved next; danger and innocence entangling within its guitar veined gothic body. It is a dark place though with the invasive intent of a Hostel found cell, every step within its fascination wrought with tension and ill-intent before Dismembered Thoughts brings some light to the release with its infectious waltz. Yet it too is a tenebrous dance with treachery and menacing asides, keeping ears and thoughts again wary and busy throughout its passage through to the steely net of sonic intimation cast by Orange Bottle. A blend of textures and styles unite for its metal nurtured shuffle, the track prowling the senses as it commandingly ignites physical and mental involvement.

Pills, Pain And An Autopsy creates its own travelogue through the dark tunnels and layers of psyche and suggestion where caliginous beauty and thought infesting angst breed their own unique connection. The track continues to grow and blossom, never escaping its haunting shadows but nurturing a myriad of melodic hues and evocative textures within its atmospheric immersion.

The final pair of tracks upon the EP sees Martin linking up with firstly Rockwater Pictures for Red Death and its percussive and inhuman infestation of the psyche and lastly with Chris Bollinger of Kill Point Protocol and Varicella in Salem, 1666. The final track only needs Vincent Price’s distinctive growl to be the complete cinematic nightmare, one offering extreme and industrial metal surges seemingly glimpsed through a damaged canvas slashed by the claws of the horned one. As the album, it needs numerous plays to settle on a final interpretation, if you ever can, with thick enjoyment flowing through every attempt.

There is no doubt that Anathema is a challenge, one only venturing within its dark realms will reveal whether you  will embrace or flee from it,  but as is the theme with Erik Martin’s work, it is a testing which leaves you mentally and physically alive and indeed welcomingly exhausted. Chasing Sanity pretty much sums up the sound and experience of Anathema, something we all do in varying ways through life.

Anathema is out now across most stores and @

Pete RingMaster 26/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Isolated Antagonist – Affirmation of Entropy

Isolated Antagonist - cover bluntforce_RingMaster Review

Our ears were first stirred up by Massachusetts duo Isolated Antagonist, through their offering to the excellent compilation album 27 Tons of Metal New England, which came out last year on Bluntface Records. Their song was undoubtedly a standout proposal in, to be fair, nothing but attention grabbing artists and offerings. Now the band unleashes their new album Affirmation of Entropy; a striking proposition showing that their track on the earlier release was just an impressive scratch on the surface of the band and their sound’s depth and imagination.

Isolated Antagonist is the creative union of vocalist/lyricist Glen Mitchell and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Nate Exx Gradowski. Its seeds began with Mitchell in the blazing heat of Middle East deserts with his unit where at the urging of Gradowski, who began creating the musical landscape soon after back in the US, he began writing the background story to what would become the band’s debut album. Officially formed in 2014, Isolated Antagonist released their first EP, Engineered Audi Hallucinations the following year and also debut album, The Isolated and The Antagonist. Now pushed further in their new incitement on ears and imagination, the band’s sound is a provocative fusion of industrial metal and death metal with progressive/electronic suggestiveness; it further invigorated by the evocative entangling of raw and clean vocals.

Affirmation of Entropy continues the tale of the first album and its story concerning the last man on Earth, the lead up to that situation, and the battle for survival “on a planet that has turned against him so thoroughly that the dirt beneath his feet was even a danger.” A creative emprise from Mitchell’s own imagination rich Sci-Fi universe, it is further blossomed and broadened, as the band’s creativity and music, within the new encounter and fair to say that from the stunning artwork through to the clarity of note and emotion, the album grips ears and attention.

The scene is set with the muggy and intimidating ambience of Into the Dark. It casts the image of a hostile place with the lost ghosts of the past nagging from the background, yet it has a raw beauty bred in the sonic invention of Gradowski. A compelling and unsettling start, the instrumental piece seeps away for Void to engulf ears with its equally restraint yet portentous air. Swiftly though, it is a smothering trespass of sound around the potent growls of Mitchell but raw intensity that blossoms celestial keys and zealously prowling riffs and rhythms within its storm. Carrying a death metal like animus in sound and voice, the track menaces the senses but also opens up an oasis of shadowy elegance as clean vocals from Gradowski are cradled by charming melodies and ear warming keys. At times Numan-esque and in others Godflesh like, there is no escaping the dark majesty posing as a song working on body and psyche.

The following Trapped similarly merges predatory animosity and invasive atmospheric grace whilst again the already impressive craft and imagination of Gradowski’s sound is enhanced by the entwining extremes of the pair’s respective vocal styles. Again Gary Numan is a spice that springs out, but a scent which as all across the album, is transformed into something individual to Isolated Antagonist, and repeated swiftly in Receptor and its thrilling Cryptopsy meets Nine Inch Nails like antagonism. As in previous songs, destructive textures begets sonic calm, melodic and atmospheric tempting begets industrial volatility; it all to enthralling effect.

New Light Now Made is a sinister treat, its Fear Factory inspired stalking of ears coming with a Die Krupps like infection. It is a predator; a primal yet virulently catchy offering which grows in strength and persuasion minute by minute with exotic hues and tempestuous energies as exciting company before making way for The Archetype Defined. If its predecessor hunted the senses, this song instantly tears into the listener, infesting body and thoughts straight away with its fierce drama and volcanic sound. Of course, as shown by those before it, the song is a maelstrom of contrasting energies and sonic colours that is gloriously unpredictable and increasingly fascinating.

The spatial aired yet simultaneously intimately invasive Dark Nomad surrounds ears next, its magnetic presence soon outshone though by The Infernos Son and its emotionally gothic and sonically vampiric proposal. The song sucks adventures out of the imagination, its Type O Negative meets Sister of Mercy breath feeding on the dark emotions at its and the listener’s heart to leave the senses exhausted and emotions blissful.

The following Words Beyond Time just fails to match up to the ingenuity of its predecessor but with its rapacious character and persistent nagging of metal cultured riffs and rhythms, it only leaves thick pleasure in its wake before The Protagonist Denied hits another pinnacle for the album. Bordering on carnal in its first assault, seductive in its Celtic bagpiped exploits next, the track is irresistible, especially when merging both for progressive/industrial metal at its most instinctive and suggestive best.

The album’s title track is like a momentary summing up next. It is an atmospheric oasis giving thoughts the moment to recap in the arms of calm vocals and the acoustic prowess of guitar as a storm wells up in the background, a tempest which hungrily brews further within The Last Death. The song’s haunting ambience is the vessel for the poaching of the senses by carnivorous riffs and hooks as vocals trap ears and imagination in their suggestive cage. As compelling as it is though, the track only becomes stronger and more engrossing as synth breezes bring immersive melodies to wrap and entice ears.

Synth pop meets industrial insidiousness is the best way to describe Gather The Past, the track gnawing on the senses at one moment and flirting with them through a contagion of irresistible hooks and infection soaked melodies next. As mentioned earlier, there is a great unpredictability and bold uniting of extremes across the songs of Affirmation of Entropy, and arguably nowhere better than on this exceptional incitement, though the closing pair of Prototype for Babylon and Celestial gives a fair showing with almost matching success. The first is thrash/death metal meets eighties electro/industrial psychosis in a venomous but again often fiercely catchy intrusion whilst the closing song explores a soundscape echoing its title, if one also equipped with rabid rhythmic traps and vicious sonic hostility.

It is a magnificent end to what is quite simply an impressive and dramatically stimulating album from a band which feels as if it is still evolving; still realising their potential and not yet the band and sound they are surely destined to be. That is no bad thing as it means that Isolated Antagonist, already one exciting fresh presence within the industrial metal scene, will have plenty more major treats in store for us ahead.

Affirmation of Entropy is available from February 16th via Bluntface Records @ or

Pete RingMaster 14/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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27 Tons of Metal New England – Various

cover_RingMaster Review

And Bluntface Records do it again, thrusting the underground scene at the senses courtesy of another essential compilation of some of the most striking and potential drenched bands around. This time the US label is exploring the underground metal scene from New England, which on the evidence of 27 Tons of Metal New England, is simply writhing with great ravenous bands and sounds. The release is as diverse in styles as it is voracious in creativity and though with the amount of bands and metal subgenres involved personal tastes will obviously find a greater hunger for some over others, it is fair to say that the album from start to finish is a compelling treat with no weak spots, and all the more tastier for being completely free.

The encounter opens with Carnivora and a track taken from their outstanding EP, The Vision. Pessimist’s Tongue is the Danvers quintet at their full blistering best and weaving suggestive ambiences into subsequent tapestries of rabid vocals and rancorous intensity. Yet despite its almost cancerous intent and creative breath, there is anthemic energy and a web of searing adventure from the guitars involved, which in turn sparks addictively imaginative exploits from the band across the song’s corrosive landscape.

It is a scintillating start to the release pushed on by Alterius and their uncompromising melodic death metal trespass on the senses, A Citadel’s Demise. The song comes from the band’s latest EP Voyager, and merges classical overtones into its fluid brutal and seductive tempting. Like being serenaded whilst the beast tears your throat out, the track stalks ears and psyche setting in motion a keen appetite to know more, a success matched by Revere quartet Travel Amygdala and their aggressively smouldering Died by a Bullet. Entangling its inventive metal bred sound with progressive and grunge seeded imagination, the song aggressively crawls over the senses enticing and intimidating, especially as it builds in energy and tempestuous air. There is also a potent sludge feel to part of its character too, the thick prowls between forceful strides of creative and vocal drama carrying the strongest whiff, with ultimately everything uniting for one riveting proposition.

Bostonian black metal trio Ashen Wings comes next, the band’s raw and carnivorous sound a bracing magnetic scourge delivered to ears from Cancerous Bones. As insidious and ruinous as you can imagine, it also spawns a swing to its gait which only adds to the addictive proposal on offer before making way for the just as destructively virulent Scourge of the Hierophant from Sorrowseed. A blend of blackened death metal with a healthy vein of classic and melodic tenacity, the increasingly thrilling track smothers ears and appetite with pestilential persuasion whilst provoking the want to offer vocalist Lilith Astaroth some soothing for her surely shredded vocal chords.

band-contacts-page-127 Tons of Metal New England      Walk the Earth (No Longer) from sludge/doomers Conclave steps up next, the nine minute intrusion an accomplished and enthralling predation cast with rugged heavy riffs and heavily swiping rhythms, all lorded over by just as unpolished and alluring vocals. From their Breaking Ground EP, the song is as effective descending on ears in top gear or in crowding their walls with a lumbering and weighty provocation within a long but never less than thickly engaging incitement.

The same kind of hold is seized by Beneath The Burial next and their track In Memory, its fusion of hardcore ferocity and metal spawned sonic invention a fury of searing grooves, vocal animosity, and subsequently predatory imagination. As the album itself, there is a wealth of flavours emerging across the track musically and vocally, which only adds to the slow but fiercely burning persuasion of the song to inspire a want for more as it makes way for Skin Drone and God Complex. One of the few bands these ears had already come across and previously devoured, the duo of Bluntface Records founder Otto Kinzel and Erik Martin of Erik Dismembered and Critical Dismemberment unleash one of those examinations which you never know whether to fear or whole heartedly embrace, the latter always the chosen reaction of course. Like a sonic scavenger, the track vocally and musically spills its creative industrial/metal animus on to the senses within an evocative ambience which then inspires a melancholic exploration of emotive and creative expression. The song is a cauldron of inventive sound and emotional intensity, a rich picking for those with an avant-garde side to their preferred examinations.

The scorching designs and temperament of Dirty Birdy from metalcore furnace Don’t Cross the Streams is next; band and track a scarring addictiveness which without springing major surprises has ears and heavy enjoyment sealed from the first clutch of seconds. Their triumph is quickly backed by Stoughton power/progressive metallers Forevers Fallen Grace and Clarion of Regret, another song which needed warming to before its potent expanse of craft and enterprise became an inescapable hook, and after them Makavrah with the excellent Awakening The Ancients. The Peterborough hailing doomsters have a sound which is dangerously mesmeric, a senses meddling sonic bewitchment which as shown by its twelve minutes of evolving soundscape, is hex like in its ingeniously dramatic and creative exploration. With echoes of Show Of Bedlam to it, the track is one delicious incessant crawl.

The industrial endeavour of Isolated Antagonist more than lives up to its offering’s title next, Infection a contagious causticity of sound and emotion with vocals to match as it worms under the skin and into the psyche with lingering rewards, whilst the following Composted bring a carnal presence and hostility into the equation with their track OB/GYN O.G. The band’s death metal onslaught has the voracity of thrash and swagger of groove metal to it, and as hungry hues only help to create an immense and irresistible corruption.

Both Charlestown sextet Untombed and Mike Kerr Band keep the riveting roar of the album going, the first with their groove and antagonism loaded death metal antipathy, Criminal Inception. Savage and violently catchy, the track is another which is maybe not gripped by original exploits but is one spilling a fresh venom which leaves a great many of fellow emerging genre bands in the shade whilst its successor is the title track from its creators recently released new album The Truth of the Lion and features Texan vocalist Adrienne Cowan and Jim Oliveira in its classic/melodic metal lure.

Power groove metal is on the agenda next through Before the Judge and their track Bobby D. With a highly agreeable nag of riffs and grooves lining its erosive blaze, the song stirs the blood band-contacts-page-2_RingMaster Reviewwhilst pouring more diversity into the compilation, variety further expanded by The Aberration and their track Bologna Skins are the Next Big Thing. The band consists of Travis O’Connell (guitar) and Jim Cole (drums), an instrumental duo creating, on the evidence of their contribution, compelling proposals of snarling progressive metal loaded with uncompromising attitude.

Melodic death metal quartet My Missing Half scars air and ears next with The Lives I’ve Ruined, a song with essences of The Black Dahlia Murder and At the Gates to it whilst finding its own magnetically inventive nature. The track leaves emotions and senses breathless but hungry for more as so many on the release, including Seeds of Negligence and their maelstrom of varied and inhospitable metal posing as The Reaper. The song is a bruising and vicious temptation of death, groove, thrash, and progressive strains of extreme metal, an incendiary incitement sparking a lust for further confrontation.

Dover trio Cactus Hag drags the listener back into a rich immersion of sludge and doom invasiveness with Grand Lodge of the Mirage, the track an insidious erosion snuffing out light and hope whilst sparking just as strong enjoyment. Its smothering rancor is contrasted by the brighter and superbly volatile adventure of G.O.G. from Side Effects May Include, the song another entwining a mass of different styles into its individual tempest of heavy rock and creatively rabid metal, and another only leaving the urge to go explore in their wake. Which is something which also applies to Pelham’s Epicenter and the thrash fuelled insurgency of See Through. With strands of alternative and groove metal to its robust and tenacious exploits, the track is as anthemic as it is strikingly inventive, and amongst admittedly many, an instinctive favourite.

band-contacts-page-3_RingMaster Review     Fog Wizard get body and passions inflamed again with Fear the Kraken, a rapacious prowling built like Sabbath meets Motorhead with the attitude of Stuck Mojo and the combined snarl of Slayer and Black Flag. One slab of real pleasure is replaced by another and the abrasive kaleidoscope of sound unveiled by Sonic Pulse through Defenders of the Good Time. A brawling festival of power and thrash metal with a flurry of heavy and classic metal hues for greater captivation, the track is a ferocious blaze equipped with drama, familiarity, and inescapable bait.

The heavy weight slab of talent is brought to an impressive end by a trio of bands to also keep a close eye on, starting with the bestial sound of extreme metallers Graveborn. Their mercilessly hellacious and skilled Leviathan is sheer sonic and rhythmic savagery with just as brutishly varied vocals, and another big enticement before heavy/thrash metal Verscythe prove their classic seeds in the richly magnetic Land of Shells.

Completed finally by Vacant Eyes and the melody sculpted funereal death/doom exploration that is The Dim Light of Introversion, a track thick in atmosphere and haunting trespasses for a darkly compelling seducing, 27 Tons of Metal New England is an intensive journey through the depths and expanses of New England’s underground metal scene. It is one of the most extensive and rewarding compilations in a long time which from start to finish, enthrals and assaults, entices and transgresses. If any metal fan does not come away from the encounter with at least a handful of new lusts we would be amazed. So no dawdling, go and get one of the biggest and best free treats of the year,

27 Tons of Metal New England is available for free download @

RingMaster 06/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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