Scaling reasoning: talking Abiotic and Casuistry with John Matos

 

abiotic2_RingMaster Review

   Gripping eras and attention with its first touch, it is fair to say that Casuistry, the new album from progressive death metallers Abiotic, has grown into one fiercely fascinating and increasingly compelling proposition. The Miami quintet’s debut album Symbiosis three years back marked the band out as ones to seriously watch but it only hinted at the evolution and corruptive majesty now enthralling from within its successor. Casuistry had us hooked at go, only tightening its grip over every listen, so with big thanks to guitarist John Matos we had to delve deeper into the album; the less than settled times leading to its birth and the whole creative adventure involved.

Hello John and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It has been a short while since your new album Casuistry was unleashed, a release which has come after an ‘eventful ‘time for the band in personnel changes alone. Has its release come with a flush of relief as well as excitement in some ways?

An album release is always full of excitement and nerves. On this one, we had to overcome some particularly difficult hurdles, but it’s made us stronger than ever before. Stoked to finally be able to show Casuistry to the world!

As a listener it is clear the impact both Brent (Phillips) and Travis (Bartosek) have made on not only the album but your sound too. Where did their contribution to Casuistry begin? Were songs already written before their arrival or were they heavily involved in that area too?

The music for Casuistry was just about done being written and in skeleton form when both Brent and Travis joined. Brent had some great ideas and really brought some power and creativity behind the kit. Travis had complete freedom on both lyrics and phrasing. Really blew us away with how catchy his phrasing was and how comfortable he looked. First time together in the studio and it felt like he’d been with us since the beginning.

How did you meet the pair and what inspired the (right) choice to bring them into the line-up?

We met Brent and at a show in south Florida where his band opened up for us. When that transition period began, he was my first choice in finding someone who’d be up to par with playing these tunes, but also with a lot of potential and drive. Brent was an easy decision for us and finding a good drummer is always hard, so we were very lucky! Travis came highly recommended from a friend in the Bay Area death metal scene in California. He auditioned, along with some others, and we decided his sound, tonality, and phrasing was what the new sound needed.

abiotic cover_RingMaster ReviewI am assuming the album took a fair amount of time to get from writing to release, from the disruptions alone. What is the time period to its creation?

We started working on new songs right before our run with The Faceless in 2013, so it had been a little over two years in the works. The disruptions actually worked out in our favor, because we had more time to make the songs the best they could be. We were able to give each song the time it deserved and I’m really glad it ended up that way.

Where would you say the changes in members have affected the album most, in the positive and the negative where you had to reassess ideas and intentions maybe?

Musically, we’ve always been on the same page as far as what our intentions were. We’d been talking about what we were wanting to do with the next record even during the Symbiosis album cycle. I feel like the member changes brought out even more so what we were trying to accomplish. We were able to explain our goals and find those key parts to the puzzle that wanted to accomplish the same things. The negative aspects were merely in the momentum. Because we were in a transitional period, we took a couple of steps back to make some necessary steps forward.

Our first taste of your sound was with debut album Symbiosis, which blew us away. In hindsight though, as we mentioned in our review it is now for us overshadowed by the maturity and sheer creative strength of Casuistry. Where do you see the differences and the strongest leaps between the two?

Thanks so much for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed Symbiosis. Strongest differences were definitely in the song writing. We really tried to focus on putting what gets fans enjoying Abiotic into catchy songs that aren’t overly technical or sounding forced. We also took the approach of this album being pummelling from beginning to end…No filler tracks or anything half assed. Every song has a focus and a goal on its own and in its place on the record as a whole.

Did you approach the new album, apart from the enforced issues, any differently to its predecessor in writing and in the studio?

We did it very differently than the first one, actually. On this one we were able to record pre-production for all the songs and really get a listeners point of view before going into the studio and finalizing. Our first album was written completely in a warehouse and we just practiced for hours. The new approach gave us a different perspective and allowed us to hone in our sound.

The album was recorded with producer Jamie King, a name which needs no introduction. What inspired the link-up and was there anything specifically you discovered in your sound and ideas through his input which brought something unexpected to the album?

We always had Jamie’s name in the mix when it came to recording. He’s recorded some of our favorite records and has a great relationship with Metal Blade. The opportunity presented itself and I could not be more satisfied with the product. Jamie really killed it! Jamie let us be us in the studio and creatively, kind of dick around. We were extremely prepared going in, so we had time to explore and Jamie created the exact kind of vibe and environment we needed to do that.

Any ideas inspired which you are looking to explore further in the next release?abiotic photo Vince Edwards_RingMaster Review

We definitely want to explore some more progressive elements on the next one. We’re already working on some new stuff and it’s going in a cool direction already!

Two tracks on the album also feature guests in vocalist John Gallagher of Dying Fetus (Cast Into the Depths) and guitarist Paul Waggoner from Between the Buried and Me (Absence of Purity). What sparked their potent contributions to Casuistry?

We toured with Dying Fetus in 2013 and kept in touch. Those dudes are amazing and absolutely legendary. I still jam Fetus every day and having John on was an absolute honor. Jamie actually reached out to Paul for us in regards to the guest solo and I could not be more honored to get to play such an awesome solo live. Paul absolutely rips it on Absence of Purity and we’re very grateful for his contribution as well!

We obviously have our favourite moments on the album, is there any particular song or moment in a track which gives you that extra tingle of satisfaction?

I feel like the ending of Absence of Purity is the embodiment of everything we’ve had to go through as a band. Every obstacle we’ve overcome and all the uphill battles to come. I get that purely from the music and it gets me every time. Even on stage. I hope that other people get that same vibe.

You have blasted the album out live since May; did you expose the whole album to the stage in one go or choose particular tracks?

We’ll choose particular tracks for this one, but we’ll be playing about 5 or so new ones, so nearly half the album. It’s going to be a fun one, for sure!

When writing and creating tracks some bands have the live setting in mind to, how songs will translate to studio and gigs, and others of course worry about that after. How about with you guys?

Though we would not sacrifice creativity for it, we definitely keep the live setting in mind. We’re all fans first and really want to make sure everything translates well in the setting where we have everything to prove. We always want to keep our live show on par with what you hear on record.

What comes next for Abiotic after the tour?

Our goal is to stay as busy as we can during this cycle and see as many faces in as many cities as we can!

Once more thank you for chatting with us, any last thoughts you would like to add?

We can’t thank you all enough for the support and hope to see you at a show soon! Thank you for keeping metal alive!

Read our review of Casuistry @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/abiotic-casuistry/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic

Pic by Justin Reich

Pic by Justin Reich

 

It is tempting to call the Between the Buried and Me music a kaleidoscope of sonic and inventive hues yet that suggests a randomness which certainly does not apply to their persistently compelling and dramatic explorations. In saying that though, there is an organic unpredictability which seemingly evolves on its own so that at times you wonder if the band knows what is to emerge any more than the listener. And so it is with their seventh album Coma Ecliptic, a series of gloriously imaginative plains of roaming sounds and immersive textures which whether a BTBAM fan or not is seriously compelling, that together create an epic emprise of aural fascination which is either creative ingenuity or insanity.

It is easy to see Coma Ecliptic splitting opinions though hard to imagine many dismissing its technically immense, musically explosive, and rivetingly captivating journey out of hand. Equally the reference to it being like a rock opera does it no favours, certainly with those like us instantly cringing at the thought and term, but assumptions should be cast aside as, even though there are indeed moments of indulgences and flamboyant enterprise, the concept album is bred from the same template of musical and lyrical probing that made previous release The Parallax II: Future Sequence so bewitching and thrilling. It is a whole new beast of course bred from the similar seeding which unites all the band’s releases, but BTBAM doing what they do best, tearing up their own rulebook with zeal and tenacity.

Lyrically Coma Ecliptic follows a single protagonist who stuck in a coma travels through his past lives, each track an individual episode set in “a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque” world. In each place he can choose to stay or move on to search for a better place, ultimately being met with the ultimate question life or death. The rest is for you to find out but in true BTBAM fashion, the lyrical side of the album is as involved and time consuming to reap its full rewards as the music. There are a few things to pull Coma Ecliptic up on, if you wish to be over analytical and demanding, but like the best sci-fi/fantasy movie, run with its liberties and proposition rounding flaws, and unbridled pleasure through full-blooded adventure are the rich prize.

Cover_RingMaster Review     Opener Node cups ears in a gentle yet emotive touch of keys, Tommy Rogers’ fingers and voice swiftly stroking ears and imagination even before melodies broaden and their elegance mesmerises. The melancholic air of the song has its own ethereal light and hope, album and band immersing the listener into the realm of album and story with sublime ease, even adding Queen-esque flames of epic tones and sonic grandeur to striking effect. It is a potently enticing start which slips into the theatrical and magnetic embrace of The Coma Machine. Many have compared the album and some of its textures and flavours to bands like Dream Theater yet aside from the unavoidable uniqueness of BTBAM, here and often across the album Australian progressive metallers Voyager nudge thoughts. The track ebbs and flow in energy and rousing intensity as it explores its and the story’s depths, and is just as enthralling as it writhes with majestic imagination, whether in a gentle hug of a croon or roaring with aggression and passion.

Dim Ignition emerges from an electro bubble next, synths a lively and nagging simmer within drummer Blake Richardson’s increasingly intimidating rhythms. The song flows into the immediately darker hued Famine Wolf, portentous and ever gripping bass tempting from Dan Briggs alongside just as shadowed keys, their haunting smothering consuming the senses for the ever spellbinding craft and invention of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring to exploit and shape further. The track’s early predator like union grows from one relatively inviting premise to a volatile incitement, with Rogers vocally entwining his superb clean and just as impacting raw metalcore seeded deliveries to match the sounds. The track is thoroughly absorbing, even making its less than seamless slip into a jazzy, psych rock like twist work perfectly and never relenting in making every minute unique from another.

As outstanding as it is though, King Redeem / Queen Serene steals the show, growing from the departing breath of its predecessor into a tempest of pop, funk, melodic revelry, and ravenous metal ferocity; every aspect fuelled by a contagiousness which simply intensifies with every elevation of aggression and invention. Imagine spilling the essences of Periphery, Society 1, and Cardiacs into the BTBAM mix and you get something close to this exhilarating encounter.

Both the imposing Turn on the Darkness and fascinating The Ectopic Stroll keep the fires of serious enjoyment burning, the first at times bordering on the bestial as its landscape savages as siren like seduction joins in equal creative measure. Its successor explores a dance seeded gait and scenery, piano keys a punchy spark to the tenaciously evolving avant-garde landscape, and both songs, but especially the second, tempestuous weaves of expansive flavours, styles, and bold intent sculpted by musicians openly at the top of their game and imagination.

     Rapid Calm brings a spatial yet melodically and emotionally intimate proposal forward next with mellow vocals, harmonies, and keys the warm serenade to the carnivorous walls and depths soaked in challenging intensity lurking and eventually exploding from deep within. Bewitching hardly does the song justice but that is what it is as it wraps its mesmeric and often rabid charms around ears and thoughts. Coma Ecliptic is undoubtedly an album which challenges and involves both aspects with every second, it shown again with Memory Palace and after that Option Oblivion. The first of the pair is soaked in blues and funk rock resourcefulness, a folkish festivity also getting in on the persuasion as the song traverses through ten minutes of instinctive and virulent creative alchemy whilst the second is like looking into a fire, every flame of sound distinct to another yet perfectly aligned in one senses sizzling incitement.

Coma Ecliptic is completed by the emotionally rousing Life in Velvet, another fusing intimacy with grander winds to fine effect. The intoxicating Jamie King produced album leaves the richest hunger to hear and learn more, which is lucky as like their other encounters, it is a proposition which needs numerous plays to really get into its constantly revolving corners and levels, our words above barely scratching its surface let alone depths to be truthful.

The best album from Between the Buried and Me to date?…Well it has to be seriously considered and argued over but there is no denying this is another major success and thrill from the band which their fans will get lustful over and others will at least offer a thick complimentary smile or nod.

Coma Ecliptic is available now on Metal Blade Records @ http://www.metalblade.com/btbam/

http://www.betweentheburiedandme.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial

RingMaster 14/07/2015

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://www.reputationradio.net

 

Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

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://www.reputationradio.net

Native Construct – Quiet World

Photo 3_Cinematic

If Quiet World is the kind of thing the members of Native Construct come up with whilst heavily involved with their college studies, then their future not only looks rosy but the music scene is destined to some real greatness ahead. The band’s debut album is a fascinating end enthralling adventure entwined in more styles and flavours than London Fashion Week and an imagination which simply bewitches that of the listener. It is not without a few flaws yet for an introduction to the band and their creativity, a ‘wow’ is in order.

Native Construct consists of vocalist Robert Edens, bassist Max Harchik, and guitarist Myles Yang, three music students who came together creatively in 2011 whilst at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Using the composition and arranging skills learnt in their studies, as well as the technical craft and inbred inventive talent of the band members, the trio began drawing on a torrent of genres from progressive and classical rock to heavier technical incitements, as well as musical theatre, jazz and plenty more. Between 2011 and 2013, Native Construct set to work writing and recording what was to become Quiet World, predominantly self-producing the concept release, whilst continuing their studies. It came to the attention of Brian Slagel at Metal Blade Records at some subsequent point, and as their press releases says “What began as jam sessions simply for fun eventually turned into a full-fledged musical endeavor.” The band was signed to the label and the album, with its vocals being recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in North Carolina, is now out there to surely stir up a worldwide appetite for this potential drenched band.

Cover   Quiet World brings a tale, to simplify it, of a mute and slightly unstable man who has an unreciprocated love for a girl which leads to obsession and eventual resentment. He also creates for himself a new, fantastic world where there are no oddballs or outcasts, which is where the album comes in. It is an eventful lyrical exploration more than matched by the musical adventure around it, and started with Mute. From an isolated climate with random sonic textures flying round the senses, the song bursts into theatrical and orchestral life. Strings and melodies spin an immediately potent and cinematic landscape of sound and emotion whilst the ravenous drum work is an uncompromising tempering of the fiery beauty. It is an invigorating start coated in elegance and menace, keys and guitars duelling with rhythms for voice whilst equally sharing the spotlight, whilst the vocals of Edens roar and serenade across the magnetic proposal. Relaxing into an avant-garde/jazz lit calm coloured by a seducing of piano and infectious harmonies, thoughts of bands like 6:33 and Pryapisme come to mind, and even more so as volatile and tenacious elements add their erratic and compelling presence to the mix. There are moments which for personal tastes do not quite hit the same sweet spots as others, but constantly evolving and unpredictable with that cinematic orchestral temptation returning in full persuasion, the song is intoxicating drama.

Following song, The Spark of the Archon, opens with an eighties bred synth pop shuffle, keys and percussion a smiling lure before riffs and grooves bring a rawer edge to the entrance. Once in full pop rock flow though, the song has a strong coincidental whiff of UK band 12 Stone Toddler to it with a Mike Patton/Mr Bungle touch too. Music and vocals again bring fluid scenery of unexpected detours and wrong-footing escapades whilst crafting an immersive and easy to greedily devour proposition. Lyrically at this point the protagonist’s new world sees the rise of Archon who leads an uprising in this new land against opposing character Sinister Silence.

The proceeding tracks bring for the main, different episodes in their enduring struggle, Passage next stealing attention and imagination with its stroking embrace of shadowed kissed strings around equally evocative guitars. Sultry and exotic, intimidating and melancholic, the track as those before has a perpetual shifting in its tone and sound, though it is more stable in its progressive flight and controlled in the additional additives of textures and styles seducing the imagination. In saying that the pent up creative bedlam which marked the previous tracks has to go somewhere, and like an itch which has to be scratched it bursts out through gypsy folk breezes and technical metal roars, to name just two of the delicious strains of the almost psychotic enterprise released.

Your Familiar Face also has a calmer interior within its walls, emerging as the most restrained of all songs upon Quiet World but unafraid to throw an unexpected twist and wink of creative mischief into its theatre of sound. It is a captivating caress on the senses but it has to be said by its end ears were hankering for that warped ingenuity, which is swiftly fed again by Come Hell or High Water. Sombre strings play with and incite body and mind right away, though behind their sombre face there is a twinkle which is taken up by rhythms and the swiftly joining vocals. Like a stage show song, it grows in stature and emotional drama, becoming a hearty bellow and in turn a snarling vociferous provocation, especially vocally. Of course by now expectations are redundant, the song ebbing and flowing in all aspects and extremes whilst conjuring new unpredictable and riveting antics.

The album is completed by firstly Chromatic Lights, a short instrumental detour within a raw ambience, which leads into the closing Chromatic Aberration, an epic twelve minute plus psychotic tapestry of emotion and unbridled creative mayhem. It is a chaos which is as perfectly shaped as it is emotionally deranged; every groove, melody, and rhythmic trespass a coherent and engrossing incitement in a cinematic flight across tempestuous and constantly changing emotional climates. The track is a dynamic and scintillating adventure all on its own, a mouth-watering musical emprise which combined with the rest of Quiet World simply leaves ears and emotions smiling.

We mentioned the album is not without issues but to be honest the more you listen and delve into Quiet World they are hardly of relevance, except to ensure that the band’s next offering when they have no other distractions, is an already highly anticipated proposition.

Quiet World is available now on Metal Blade Records via http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct

RingMaster 23/04/2015

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://www.reputationradio.net

Abiotic – Casuistry

byVinceEdwards

byVinceEdwards

As much as it is swiftly fascinating, Casuistry from US progressive death metallers Abiotic is a challenging proposition, testing in its ferociously busy landscape with a technical prowess to match, and at times approaching overwhelming ears with that same creative tirade so ears and imagination cannot settle and appreciate what is going in the moment. For all its formidable elements though, the second album from the Miami quintet is one striking and compelling proposal which just gets more impressive and enjoyable with every listen.

Emerging in 2010, Abiotic quickly made their mark on ears with debut EP A Universal Plague the following year, a release laying down a template of ravenous riffs, blistering solos, and technical breakdowns. Grabbing the attention of Metal Blade Records, the band subsequently signed with the label and unleashed debut album Symbiosis in 2012, a proposition pushing sound and skills, as well as invention, on in leaps and bounds. In hindsight though it too was a mere step towards the immense adventure in sound and craft now flooding Casuistry. The band’s voracious live presence has similarly lured acclaim and glowing support across the years, shows with the likes of Dying Fetus and Exhumed reinforcing their growing stature. Last year saw Abiotic link up with producer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Wretched, and The Contortionist) as they set about creating their follow-up album, and a change in line-up which saw new vocalist Travis Bartosek and drummer Brent Phillips join the band, a change which has really added to the impact of the new album and the continuing evolution of Abiotic sound.

Abiotic-Casuistry     Casuistry has growth in every aspect from its striking predecessor, a new maturity and exploration fuelling songwriting to sound, lyrical endeavour to technical resourcefulness. This also applies to the rigorous challenge on the senses and psyche of the listener which will be too much for some, but the rewards as evidenced straight away in opener Believe the Unseen, border on intoxicating at times. From its first breath, the song offers a bestial roar on ears, the throat ripping bellow of Bartosek alone a fierce and gripping incitement matched by hellacious riffs and rhythms. It is a brief savagery though as mere seconds later spiralling melodic enterprise flows from the guitars of Johnathan Matos and Matt Mendez, entangling the predacious bassline of Alex Vazquez and the rugged beats of Phillips in their midst. Within thirty seconds the song is a creative tempest, an unpredictable maelstrom which allows thoughts a glimpse on getting a handle of things before stirring its body and threat up all over again. Thoughts of Trepalium hint away across the track but also as everything turns in on itself and dives into new ideation, the likes of The Faceless and The Contortionist spring up.

It is a stunning start, a disorientating one occasionally even in the briefness of the song, but as mentioned earlier and applying to the whole album, with each listen becomes more coherent in thoughts and thrilling in ears. The same of course applies to the following Reanimated Destruction, which makes a much more merciful entrance, the guitars casting an atmospheric sonic mist as the bass flirts with jazz seeds for its instantly intriguing and exotic tempting. The two almost duelling vocal deliveries work a treat again; guttural and serpentine tones twin insidiousness within the technical and intensity driven raging.

One of the things which definitely add to the songs is the snappiness of their length, no track passing the five minute mark and most falling a lot shorter. This certainly intensifies the bustling character of the tracks inventively and physically, Abiotic wasting no second on repetitive thoughts but it also ensures the testing tracks never come close to be laborious propositions. Cast into the Depths epitomises this next; the song a melodic wine of a sound dripping over ears and soon spreading a weave of sonic imagination as rhythmic hostility intimidates the senses. Phillips is as brutal as he is contagious with his swings and beats whilst the song itself is a cauldron of fiercely bubbling and changing sonic and vocal enmity. Featuring John Gallagher of Dying Fetus, the encounter is a blissfully exhausting endeavour, a description fitting Casuistry perfectly also.

Violent Scriptures is a torrential onslaught of malevolence and craft again, Phillips a beast and Matos with Mendez, mesmeric with their melodies and sonic espionage on the psyche. Vocally too the band has hit another level with Bartosek which has spread to the rest of the album’s throat offered exploits, an aspect ravaging the listener mercilessly in Nightmares of Your Conception next. Grooves once more simply ooze from the sonic animus being uncaged, whilst rhythmically the track is the most vicious yet. The song does not quite match up to its predecessor though, that industrious tsunami proving almost too taxing if still enjoyable at times.

Through the ‘funky’ but rabid The Absence of Purity, which features guest Paul Waggoner of Between the Buried and Me, and Falling into Obscurity, band and album seduce with full steam again. The first is especially virulent with its toxic grooves and sparkling melodic flirtation, swiftly becoming a big favourite whilst its successor arrives drenched in a menacing theatre, noir bred hues colouring its opening torrent of riffs and grooves, proceeding to add rich hues throughout the wiry entanglement of sound and skills. Both tracks leave the imagination and ears ringing and enslaved before Molecular Rematerialization nags and worries their defences with its own flurry of concussive rhythms and citric grooves, all bred in the darkest most venomous corners of the band’s invention.

Casuistry is brought to a close by the transfixing and punishing Drain. Deface. Abolish., a final tempest to be seduced and violated by in equal measure. It is a fine end to a great album which only gets stronger and more enthralling with time. Abiotic make you work to explore and unravel their deeply entrenched and wonderfully turbulent imagination, but make the effort, brave their unrelenting creative hunger, and you might just find one of your favourite albums of the year.

Casuistry is out now on Metal Blade Records via http://metalblade.com/abiotic/

http://www.facebook.com/Abioticfl http://twitter.com/abioticfl

RingMaster 23/04/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Photos by Vince Edwards

 

Verse Vica – Endeavor

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It is safe to say that progressive metal has presented some of the most imaginatively inventive bands and compellingly immersive releases over recent years and to both lists you can add Verse Vica and their debut album Endeavor. One similarly imposing and seductive flight spread over eight movements in its continuous landscape, the release is a skilled and dramatic introduction to the US band, announcing them as an exciting prospect to pay eager attention to.

Hailing from North Carolina it is maybe no surprise that their inspirations include fellow statesmen Between the Buried and Me alongside the likes of Animals as Leaders, The Faceless, Periphery, and The Contortionist. There is no denying those essences across the Asheville quartet’s first offering though it is mere flavouring to something which primarily casts its own distinctive nature and character. Unafraid to bare its rawest depths sonically and emotionally, and a flaming beauty which is as transfixing as its contrasts are rugged, the album is an intensive and at times satisfyingly demanding proposition. Though first impressions leave a hungry appetite for its presence, the album needs an attentive investigation to reveal all its striking textures and superbly crafted layers. It rewards though with not a flawless offering but definitely one which ignites a greed for more in the imagination and emotions.

Mastered by Jamie King (BTBAM, The Contortionist, Scale The Summit), Endeavor opens with the engaging Airyth. It is a gentle and melodically elegant instrumental which carries darker shadows within its smouldering and resonating presence. It is not a dramatic track, certainly in hindsight against the subsequent twists in the album’s journey, but a captivating soar across the emerging climate of piece and release. Guitarists Paul Meisner and Greg Marcon create a sonic breeze which mesmerises with its beauty and skilful designs whilst the bass of Tyler Shehan incitingly strokes the darker element of the exploration. It is a tantalising entrance though it does straight away offer up the only real flaw with the album and that is the sampled drums and rhythms. The band is yet to find a live body to swing the sticks and this makes for one aspect which is lacking across the album, being more obvious in some tracks than others, but to be fair such the quality elsewhere it is never enough to derail songs and pleasure.

The opener flows straight into the rugged terrain of Cities I: Cerulean. Riffs and grooves respectively badger and entwine ears from the first breath whilst raging gut bred growls and subsequently clean harmonies from Spencer Album CoverBrunkhorst, bring further thick colour and spice to the already colourful design of the song. The technical ability of the band is just as striking and instant, the guitars spinning a web of infectious and intimidating enterprise whilst the rhythmic side of the song, along with the harsher side of the vocals, carries as much malevolence as the melodies and sonic endeavour brings flirtatious ingenuity. Equally the songwriting shines brightly, especially in the way the band blends and twists extremes around a fluid core of intent and imagination. It is a fine incitement though soon shaded by Verdugo and even more so the outstanding Ravenholm. The first of the two stands steely eyed with hooks and riffs a savage persuasion within a caustic and radiant melodic atmosphere. Again opposites attract within the song and combine for a tantalising and intimidating excursion for ears and thoughts which the second of the pair pushes to new scenic heights. Opening with a melodic death metal ferocity and invention, the track evolves before the ears as melodies provide a catalyst taking the voracious vocal driven emprise into a seductive waltz of Latin sultriness and acoustic Spanish guitar refinement. It is an enthralling and thrilling proposition which returns to its original caustic blaze before merging it into the sonic brilliance which binds the majestic encounter.

Marumari takes senses and thoughts through an engrossing soundscape of shimmering melodies and intrigue coated bass suasion, calming ears and emotions from the previous roars before diving headlong into flaming sonic and cavernous yet intimately suggestive beauty. The instrumental is a web to spark the imagination, in a way the eye of the storm between the previous adventure and the furious tempest of Djinn. It successor is a predator yet with the antagonistic vocals and rhythmic intensity striding through a sonic tapestry of inventive and skilled ideation, the track is just as infectiously compelling as it is barbarously challenging. Sharing best track honours with Ravenholm, it is a stunning slab of creative and unpredictable bewitching hostility with the bass of Shehan stealing the biggest plaudits.

The album is brought to a tremendous close by firstly another absorbing instrumental in the mentally inflaming shape of Koholint and lastly the tempestuous might and creative storm of Cities II: Saffron. Both songs show further sides and variation to album and the band’s inventiveness, the first simply with melodic eloquence and adventure and the second through the employment of melodic and pop rock infectiousness within the technically spellbinding lure of the track.

Endeavour is a glorious debut and one which just gets better as it reveals more with every flight taken. Anticipation for a live drummer and where that takes songs and the sound of Verse Vica is a strong feeling at the end of the album but more overwhelming is the total pleasure and excitement for what Endeavour offers and where the band has the potential to go. Bottom line though is that this is a must investigation for all progressive metal fans.

The self-released Endeavor is available worldwide now on October 6th.

https://www.facebook.com/versevica

RingMaster 06/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Contortionist – Language

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Formed in 2007, US progressive metallers The Contortionist have been no strangers to twisting the senses and psyche of fans with their unpredictable weaves and startling structures of sound and ideation. Previous albums in the shape of their startling 2010 debut Exoplanet and even more so the rigorously acclaimed Intrinsic two years later, took the metal scene by the scruff of the neck with their increasingly imposing and intricately technical tapestries. Now the Indianapolis sextet has unveiled their finest moment yet, the exhaustingly compelling Language.

The band’s first studio album with new vocalist Michael Lessard (Last Chance to Reason), who replaced Jonathan Carpenter when he left the band last year, Language spins a startling web which swiftly immerses ears and imagination from its opening seconds. Produced by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, He Is Legend, The Human Abstract), the album seduces from the first breath of The Source, Lessard instantly caressing the senses with his mesmeric tones as keys emerge elegantly around him. As the song grows, so does its captivation as impassioned melodies simultaneously soar across and intimately shape the aural narrative. It is a gorgeous seducing with Lessard exceptional, and right away matched by the distinctly different Language I: Intuition.

Guitars tenderly coax the imagination from the very start, their thought binding enterprise soon aided by flowing harmonies and subsequently an alluring throaty bass tone amidst a soak of expressive keys cast by Eric Guenther. Grumbles of raw vocals taunt in the background at times but the track ultimately glides imperiously over ears framed by the inventive beats of Joey Baca and resourcefully shadowed bass prowess of Jordan Eberhardt. The snarl and agitation within the song rises closer to the surface as the track moves towards Language II: Conspire, the guitars of Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard at times as predatory as they are enchanting. Its successor seamless steps from its embrace with a jagged bait of riffs and an increasingly predatory voice to the bass, coarse vocal growls also stepping forward from within the brewing maelstrom. The track proceeds to prowl and size up its recipient with death metal malevolence and caustically coated progressive imagination twisted into something uniquely exploratory and individual to the band.

Integration opens with a jazzy wind of keys which is emulated by the creative sculpting of guitar intrigue and swinging rhythmic temptation. As the mellow tones of Lessard flow there is a conflicting yet perfectly harmonious merger of LANGUAGE COVERantagonistic and entrancing climates, opposites uniting for a provocative emprise of sound and intent. Thoughts of Karnivool and Between The Buried And Me offer hints as does Cynic as the song twists and evolves with every incendiary note and impacting syllable but again it is merely spice to an ingenuity owned solely by the Indiana six-piece.

Both the spellbinding grace and beauty of Thrive and the following Primordial Sound enslave ears and thoughts, the first a scintillating journey through an evocative scenery of tenacious rhythms and smouldering drama crafted by a tempest of guitar invention and sonic passion. Basking in a simmering keys drawn atmosphere veined by vibrantly melodic flames, the track also involves a technically explosive turbulence which is as flirtatious as it is intimidating. It is the pinnacle of the album, a peak matched straight away by the second of the two songs. Primordial Sound opens on another exceptional vocal caress from Lessard, guitar and bass courting his radiant tones with their own dazzling voice and expression, all wrapped in a magnetic wash of keys. The song is sensational, another innovative and remarkably imaginative binding of light and shadows.

It is fair to say that Lessard brings a Deftones like air to parts of the album, and no more so than in Arise, his dulcet tones a smooth glaze over the song’s presence and theme. This is enhanced by the equally luscious sounds around him; that is until a bestial expulsion drives vocals into a rapacious metalcore like roar and riffs and hooks into a heavily barbed torrent of addictive persuasion. The track continues the established high plateau which is maintained by the cinematic theatre and haunting colour of Ebb & Flow. The keys of Guenther alone paint an engrossing canvas for the imagination to explore, one given richer impacting depth by the cinematic hues and shadows of guitar which in turn create a tempestuous threat of intensity and a temptation of skilled enterprise.

Its success is equalled by the spellbinding majesty of The Parable. The final song on the album is a thick blaze of sonic and technical ingenuity hugged by the ever refreshing vocal brilliance of Lessard and band. It is a swirling eddy of beauty, skill, and exploration within a kinetic incitement of rhythms and rousing intensity, a sensational flurry of invention which almost bewilders as it seduces.

With so much going on and to be explored, Language is not as instant a triumph as other releases but with focus and time emerges explosively rewarding and intensively exhilarating. As much as their previous albums were impressive, you can almost say that The Contortionist has come of age with their new offering, suggesting a new template for progressive metal to contemplate with its masterful presence.

Language is available from 16th September via eOne Music / Good Fight Music.

https://www.facebook.com/thecontortionist

RingMaster 16/09/2014

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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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