Tides of change: Talking Currents with In Vain

Photo by Jørn Veberg

There have already been some truly striking releases in 2018 and maybe no more so than the new album from Norwegian metallers In Vain. Currents is a progressive metal adventure which surprises at every twist and enthrals at every turn. With big thanks to him, we recently had the pleasure to explore the album closely with guitarist/songwriter Johnar Håland and the band, getting to its heart, its journey to release and much more….

Hi Guys, many thanks for sparring your time to talk with us.

It is fair to say that it is a busy time for the band with the recent release of your new album, Currents. Have you had time to sit back and reflect on its initial success and plaudits yet?

Hi! Thanks for your review and for taking the time to do this interview. Things are quieting down a bit now and as you say, the feedback has been really good. However, I am not really a person who looks back. My thoughts are more focused on the next album.

It seems that you have spent a long time in its creation, that time certainly reflected and heard in all its honed intricacies and bold adventures. What is the time scale for its creation?

Our previous album, Ænigma, was released in 2013 and there seems to be people who think we spent five years writing this album. That is not the case. There are several reasons for why this album was delayed. Personal issues forced me to put composing on halt for almost a year, and with me being the only songwriter in the band that forced the whole process to a standstill. In addition, I was working on the debut album of my other band, From Strength to Strength, which is a hardcore band that will release its debut album some time during 2018. On top of that I spent the majority of my spare time reading for the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which is a self-study in finance I have been doing the last three years besides my full-time job. The album was actually finished in June 2017, but we could not set a release date until we had a proper tour booked to support the release. So there are many reasons for this long delay. Hopefully it will not take five years until the next album!

I am sure you will not disagree with us when we say it is your biggest, boldest, and most imaginative release. Did you have any specific aims when writing and creating Currents or it just organically evolved into what we hear?

I am not really sure to be honest. Our debut album The Latter Rain (2007) was also quite bold. Back then we were a totally new and unknown band who released an album of one hour with grandiose and complex music supported by 20 guest musicians. So that was definitely a brave musical undertaking.

In all aspects, we feel Currents eclipses its acclaimed and also richly enjoyable predecessor, Ænigma. Where do you see the biggest evolution?

To be honest, I am not a fan of comparing music. In my opinion, Currents is another strong album in our catalogue. It is a very diverse album full of contrasts and has high-quality music with longevity. I take it as a sign of quality that there are different opinions with regards to which of our albums people enjoy the most. I do not believe Currents is that much different from our previous work, but there are some changes. The production is more organic, there are some shorter songs and it is less black metal compared with our previous releases.

Currents embraces the widest array of flavours and styles in your sound yet, a truly expansive landscape weaved around bold yet often delicate contrasts but it still has that signature In Vain breath. Did you have to concentrate on keeping that character or it again just naturally evolved as indeed that broad tapestry of sound?

I think it is just a natural evolution to be honest. I do not really think that the music is that much different from our previous releases, however there are some new elements. For instance we have one song, Soul Adventurer, with mainly clean vocals. We also have a song with acapella choirs, Blood We Shed, and that is something we have not done before.

You linked up, as for the previous album, with producer Jens Bogren. It is fair to say he gets your sound and imagination but what does he especially bring to the mix which you feel adds to the realisation of your ideas?

We were very pleased with Jens’ work on Ænigma. We did not really have any other alternatives at hand and decided to go back to him. We wanted a much more organic sound this time around though, and I think we achieved that. Jens usually knows what we want and I think we have the same views on what sounds good and not.

Give us some insight into the recording of the album.

All the guitars and bass were recorded in my home studio, except for some lead guitar solos that Kjetil recorded at his home. Vocals and other instruments were recorded in Strand Studio in Oslo. Everything was re-amped by Jens Bogren and he also did the whole mixing and mastering of the album. However, we were never present in his studio and only communicated with him via email and phone.

We have had the real pleasure of having an insight into the lyrical side of the album ahead of its emergence. Can you share some of the themes and inspirations to the songs?

Currents is not a concept album in the traditional sense, however there is a topic and a red line in the music, lyrics and artwork. Currents, reflects on the colossal shifts and changes of our time. The present world is characterized by continental flows of people, traditions and cultures. Migration of people across continents and borders…Cultures merging. Dramatic shifts in lifestyle from one generation to the next. This topic exists in both the lyrics and the music however we only touch upon it in an abstract way with a top-down view. It is important for me to clarify that we do not have any direct political views on this matter reflected in our lyrics.  Besides that, the lyrical themes are varied, ranging from personal experiences and struggles, to contemplations on nature, philosophy and the historical and political development of this twisted world we´re living in.

Was there a particular process to the writing of songs for Currents?

The process was the same as previously. I write the songs alone and present complete compositions to the rest of the band. Later on I involve Sindre in the preproduction, as he also lives in Oslo. All members are free to add their personal touch to the songs and to give suggestions, but as the songwriter I have the final word.

It also sees a few guests such as drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar), vocalist and former band member Kristian Wikstøl (From Strength to Strength), and vocalist Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium). Were these happy happenings or thought of early on in the album’s creation?

This was something we decided on during the preproduction process. All the guests added their personal touch to the album and we are very pleased with their performance.

I know as for so many bands finances make a major part in decisions and possibilities in keeping going let alone forging ahead with releases, tours etc. for In Vain. How did this put restraints on Currents and do you see crowd funding as a feasible way forward?

We are fortunate to be able to record albums of the quality we prefer. The total budget for this album is around 50 000 EUR I guess, so hopefully people understand that they need to support us financially if they want to hear more In Vain albums in the future. We have not paid anything out of our own pockets. The label pays and we are also fortunate to get some financial support from various grants in Norway. However, the label obviously needs to get in break-even before we will get any part of the potential profit. Touring is more challenging and a tour costs a lot of money. Financing definitely puts a limit on how many tours we are able to do.

As with your previous albums, Currents is available through Indie Recordings. How have they helped, apart from the obvious, in bringing the album to our ears?

We have been with Indie Recordings since 2005 and we are actually the first band they ever signed. We have a good relationship with them. Obviously there are things that could be better, but that is always the case.

For those new to In Vain can you tell them about the beginnings of the band…the early days?

In Vain is a Norwegian band that plays progressive extreme metal and was formed in 2003. Andreas (vocals), Sindre (vocals) and myself (guitar) are the founding members, while Kjetil (guitar) joined the band in 2009 during the recording of our second album Mantra. Our bassist Alex has been around since 2013 and our drummer Tobias joined us recently. So far we have released four albums and two EPs, and we signed with Indie Recordings after releasing our second EP Wounds in 2005. Our latest album Currents was released on 26 January 2018 and we just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum.

What is next for In Vain, shows etc. and once the dust of its triumph settles ahead?

We just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum. We covered London, France, Spain, Arnhem and Essen. Our hope is to do another tour later in the year where we cover the countries we did not have the chance to go to on this tour. Besides that we will play some shows in Norway and some festivals.

Once again big thanks for giving us your time. Any last words you would like to share?

Thank you very much for your support, we appreciate it! To the readers; keep supporting great music, have a go at our new album Currents, and stop by our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/ for news, music, tour dates and other stuff.

Check out the review of Currents @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/in-vain-currents/

http://www.invain.org/     https://twitter.com/invainofficial

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 07/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

In Vain – Currents

Just a handful of weeks short of five years back, Norwegian metallers In Vain released the ear gripping Ænigma. It was a release which brought and honed all the potential and impressive attributes of its two predecessors to one seriously striking head. That triumphant encounter has now been swept away in the creative eddy of the band’s fourth album Currents, a proposal which lustily roars In Vain as being one of metal’s finest and most exciting propositions.

Since emerging in 2003, In Vain has grown within and persistently ascended the European metal scene with their adventurously imaginative progressive extreme metal. Their 2007 debut album, The Latter Rain, swiftly stirred keen attention and critical praise, and a reputation for craft and sound which the more variable Mantra nevertheless only reinforced.  The Jens Bogren (Opeth, Dimmu Borgir, Katatonia, Devin Townsend, Kreator) produced Ænigma simply sparked the imagination as it built upon and pushed the traits of those before. It all pales though before the majesty of Currents, a release which surprises at every twist and enthrals at every turn. Intricately woven yet as organic as the passion which drives it, Ænigma not only takes the In Vain sound to a whole new level, it brings progressive metal a fresh landscape shaping breath.

Seeing Bogren united with the band once again, Currents contemplates “the colossal shifts and changes of our time” looking at the currents behind major events and changes across the modern world from “Migration of people across continents and borders, cultures merging and the dramatic shifts in lifestyle from one generation to the next.” It also features guest appearances from the likes of drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar), vocalist and former band member Kristian Wikstøl (From Strength to Strength), and vocalist Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium) among various more.

Currents opens with Seekers of the Truth and immediately entwines ears in steely vines of guitar as beats bite. Andreas Frigstad’s raw throated vocals soon prowl the engaging lure, rhythms and melodies colluding in a web of threat and intrigue around him with the song’s climate imposingly bracing but equally infectious  as the guitars of Johnar Håland and Kjetil Domaas Petersen almost dance on the ear. The progressive nature of the band’s sound subsequently infuses the track’s aggressive intent, varied strains of extreme metal merging with melodic enterprise for a captivating trespass.

Even so it’s potent and ear grabbing entrance into the album is soon eclipsed by next up Soul Adventurer. Within its first breath as keys rise, grooves are writhing around the imagination, their earnest exploits matched by the superb clean vocals of keyboardist Sindre Nedland. It is instantly compelling, increasingly so as the song gets right under the skin with resourceful harmonies and rolling rhythms only adding to the richness as the guitars spin a web of creative temptation. It is the superb vocal blend across the band though which brings it all together for easily one of the best tracks ever spawned by the imagination of In Vain.

That is a height though regularly equalled from hereon in staring with Blood We Shed, the track a wall of predacious intent and tone led by Frigstad’s vocal threat. Riffs and grooves soon collude in their own menacing enterprise, the bass of Alexander Bøe a thick grumbling incitement but from within their dark nature a ripple of melodic suggestion becomes a heated, harmonic serenade. There is plenty more going on too as keys and voices take the stage before falling under the incoming rumble of those earlier imposing textures, an array of imaginative moments which seem to reveal more with every listen.

Currents comes in two editions, the Special Edition offering two additional tracks with And Quiet Flows the Scheldt the first. Like a developing landscape, the song grows by the second as vocals and guitars shape an atmospheric flight through suggestive sonic scenery. The track does not have the snap of its predecessor but infuses a drama which draws the imagination right into its heart, vocals again as stirring as the music with the flames of sax a captivating heat in its evocative climate.

The funkier tapestry of Origin and the inviting mystery of En Forgangen Tid (Times of Yore Pt. II) bring their own enthralling reflections to ears and thoughts next, the first a robust yet considerate confrontation masterfully blending contrasts in power, aggression, and tone not forgetting flavours. This is an ability In Vain have never been lacking but as so many other things it has breached a new pinnacle within Currents as the second of the two confirms. Sung in the band’s native tongue, the song is glorious. In no time melodies vein a portentous air, dark and light wrapping round each other as a kaleidoscope of vocal and atmospheric intimation entices from within the magnetically tempestuous vortex.

Ghost Path is the second song found only on the larger edition of the album, the track sharing its own mysterious shadow haunted realm. The imagination is taking on a stroll through an underworld of fear, despair, and increasing creative ill-intent which comes to a head in a rhythmically driven, rapaciously fuelled predation of sound and intensity. The song is pure creative theatre, and reason alone to go grab the bigger version of the album as you really do not want to miss out.

The album concludes with firstly the similarly enthralling infestation of As the Black Horde Storms. Its blackened assault has a folkish tinge to its melodic undercurrent, death bred traits soon as prevalent as the track consumes the senses and begins spinning another web of striking imagination and sound where, as throughout the release, every moment brings surprise and invention to absorb and impress. Its successor, Standing on the Ground of Mammoths, smothers ears with its dark air and slightly corrosive texture whilst again gripping attention with is aural enticement and vocal dexterity. More a song with its creative tenacity and enterprise understated compared with other tracks within Currents; every dive into it brings them closer to the surface though its slip in a thoughtful melodic seduction mid-way is a beguiling caress from the first moment.

It provides an end to an album which simply excites from start to finish. Setting a new marker for not only the band but extreme progressive metal, In Vain has become one of the most fascinating and enjoyable propositions within world metal.

Currents is available now through Indie Recordings digitally and as a normal and special edition on CD and Vinyl.

http://www.invain.org/    https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/    https://twitter.com/invainofficial

Pete RingMaster 04/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tardive Dyskinesia – Harmonic Confusion

td_2_RingMasterReview

With the suggestion that it and its sound sits “somewhere between Meshuggah and The Ocean”, Harmonic Confusion the new album from Greek tech/prog metallers Tardive Dyskinesia instantly has a reputation to live up to. It is a tall order which band and release certainly live up to. The successor to critically acclaimed predecessor Static Apathy in Fast Forward, the fiercely fascinating and creatively imposing Harmonic Confusion has to be considered as Tardive Dyskinesia’s finest moment to date.

Since forming in 2003, the Athens hailing quintet has honed and evolved their sound across three previous albums with Static Apathy in Fast Forward a pinnacle in their rise when released in 2012. The years have also seen the band open for the likes of Mastodon and Meshuggah and play prog-metal festival Euroblast, it all leading to now and the release of Harmonic Confusion. Mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, The Ocean, Leprous) and produced by Tardive Dyskinesia themselves, the album is the band’s sound at its most rounded, accomplished, and adventurous; often a raw roar to numb and disorientate the senses but equally a melodic and technical maze of craft and imagination to enthral and excite.

The album opens with the instrumental Insertion, a piece as welcoming as it is technically eventful. It shows a potent restraint though, the band holding its boldest exploits for subsequent tracks while setting the scene and tempestuous atmosphere for the album to come beginning with Fire Red Glass Heart which leaps from its predecessor’s sonic lure. Immediately the winding tendrils of sonic enterprise springs from guitarists Petros Nikiforakis, Steve Lado, and Manthos Stergiou, the latter soon unveiling his clean and alluring vocals too backed by the harmonic tones of Lado. As the song slightly intensifies, a rawer gruffness appears in Stergiou’s delivery, the contrast of his vocals merging perfectly as the song twists and turns through its theatre of enterprise and melody fuelled expression.

The track captivates from its first note to last, a tempest like climate brewing without quite erupting saving itself for the outstanding turbulence of The Electric Sun. Wiry strands of guitar soon collude with ravenous riffs and the heftily swung beats of drummer Nick Argiropoulos; again contrasting textures and extremes of energy aligning in a fluid and clarity graced challenge to captivate ears and imagination alike. That rawness is there again to enhance sound and vocals as well as the song’s eventful atmosphere, offering a dirtier trespass to the technical prowess which intensifies alongside the nagging riffery and scything rhythmic persistence on offer.

coverresize_RingMasterReviewThrough the turbulent and at times almost spatial landscape of Self Destructive Haze and the mazy multi-textured Thread Of Life attention is tightly gripped, the second of the two a real seduction of ears with its invasive storm cored by melodic beauty, and latterly, dark stringed seducing while the exceptional Concentric Waves, with the ever compelling bass exploits of Kornelius Kiriakidis especially magnetic, mesmerises as it aggressively and technically swings to and fro.

As impressive as its first touch and listens are, Harmonic Confusion simply grows in strength and stature over time, tracks like Triangulation Through Impasse and Savior Complex laying highly persuasive seeds straight away which seem to blossom over time. The first of the pair twists and turns with increasing relish and grievance across its length whilst still bringing a variety of tones to vocals and intensity to its body. Another favourite and major highlight of the album it is matched and over shadowed by the mellower yet no less dramatic and dynamic exploits of its successor. As across the album, there are elements which maybe are less than unique than others but Tardive Dyskinesia embrace it in their own imaginative and technically riveting designs to fine and here mouth-watering effect with the noir lit call of the sax icing on the dramatic cake of the album’s greatest moment.

The album is completed by the infectious and hungrily resourceful Εchoes 213, its hooks and melodies alone as biting as they are romancing, and lastly the instrumental journey of Chronicity, a captivating epilogue to all before.

Harmonic Confusion is without doubt one of the year’s tech/prog metal treats and yet there is still a feeling that there is more to come from and creatively discover within Tardive Dyskinesia; a thought to add extra spice to one fine release.

Harmonic Confusion is out now on Playfalse Records and @ http://tardivedyskinesia.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/tardivedyskinesiaband

Pete RingMaster 22/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Arbitrator – Indoctrination of Sacrilege

ARB_COVER

If you speak to the right people there are always good, often great things said about any new and emerging band. The confirmation is always only in the music of course and just as often as words are proven, anticipation is left in unintended deceit. Arbitrator since the release of The Consummate Ascendancy EP in 2011 has been a band often talked up and recommended from certainly Canadian and North American sources. Their debut album Indoctrination of Sacrilege is our introduction to the quartet and all promise and suggestions of their growing might have been convincingly proven.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is a beast of a release, an intensively atmospherically soaked death metal bred proposition which from making an impressive first impression grows into one striking and fascinating theatre of imagination. Fusing in textures and essences from electro and industrial climates to progressive and ambient flavouring, the six track release engulfs and stirs ears and thoughts with skilled and increasingly rewarding adventure. The band itself is the brainchild of Robert Kuklaand, its emergence starting in 2010 and announced by the release of The Consummate Ascendancy the following year. It was an acclaimed proposal from the band but just a tester in many ways for the exploratory might of Indoctrination of Sacrilege. With a line-up of Myles Malloy (lead guitar), Connor ORT Linning (programming), and Soilwork drummer Dirk Verbeuren (ex-Devin Townsend Project, ex-Aborted) alongside Kuklaand (rhythm guitar, bass, vocals), Arbitrator put themselves forward now as one of the more intriguing and exciting progressive death metal prospects. They also still feel like they are still only just scratching the first few layers of their potential despite the weight and success of their album, a potential and prospect of even greater things ahead quite exciting.

The Sacha Laskow (ex-Divinity, Every Hour Kills) produced and Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy) mastered album, swiftly has the imagination engaged as the entrance of opener They Will Worship This Fire of Agony comes through scenery of portentous bells and death feasting flies as church seeded chants seemingly offering final guidance as a dark pestilential cloud looms nearer and nearer. That sonic threat is realised a muscular wall of riffs and punchy rhythms veined by enchanting keys. It is an immediately incendiary and compelling persuasion enhanced by the guttural growls of Kuklaand and spicy persistent grooves. Samples are soon briefly mingling with the cavernous presence and intimidation of the song too but it is the infectious hooks and melodic winery which most captivates against the evolving and enlarging drama of the keys. It is an imposing and enthralling encounter, and as the album subsequently shows itself to be, a pleasingly unpredictable one.

The potent start to the album is solidly continued by Stillborn Bastard of The Nazarene, it straight away binding the appetite with intensive riffs and rhythmic swings whilst thoughts are provoked by its atmospheric colouring. Kuklaand again impresses as he binds words and syllables with a gripping impassioned tenacity which provides additional potent focal points amidst many on release and track. Samples and keys again paint additional inciting scenes in the ferocious and threatening landscape of the song, though it is the superb melodic enterprise of Malloy which steals more of the glory.

Through each song the album just gets better and creatively bigger, the next up For That Which May Appease Lions unleashing black hearted rock ‘n’ roll in a hellacious offering of grooved and addictive contagion aligned to corrosive and oppressive malevolence. The track transfixes from its first moments, the predatory nature and sound of the bass a delicious stalking within the maelstrom of rancor whilst clean vocals add a different shade of temptation to the voracious soundscape. Keys and guitar endeavour similarly vein the tempest with their own unique and engrossing narratives, everything seamlessly flowing and combining together to enslave ears and imagination. Unpredictability is rife across the track, and reveals more twists and subtle ideation with every listen, an exciting trait just as potent in Serpent of The Styx. The song’s electronic opening is a melodic drift of keys and radiant melodies yet it all comes with a solemn and melancholic charm courted by a slowly brewing dark side. An eruption of that heavy menace is eventually unleashed yet the song still continues to radiate melodic expression within a web of carnivorous grooves and enjoyably volatile rhythms. There is also a cinematic ambience to the track, its ‘warmer’ and calmer moments apocalyptic in suggestion as the track’s muscular and rabid side trespasses and challenges the senses. As its predecessor, the track is a mouth-watering incitement which just gets more addictive and anthemic with every passing minute, hook, and barbarous swing from Verbeuren.

       Profaned and Perfected whilst not quite matching the heights of the previous two tracks, has its own persuasive agenda of spiny grooves and spiky beats to contemplate, and an anthemic swing to drool profusely over. It is an out and out death metal ravishment but also one unafraid to explore warmer climes through the often spellbinding invention of the industrial spiced keys and climactic guitar. The song is still a bruising and commanding predator keeping body and emotions invigorated and fearful before the ‘epilogue’ like instrumental adventure of The Burning Sands of His Kingdom brings the album to a fine close. The electronically driven piece draws a cold and stark wasteland yet equally suggests hope with its melodically epic and intimately expressive tones within rugged scenery.

Over a handful of listens in and there is still more revelations coming forward within songs as Indoctrination of Sacrilege continues to reward, that in itself a strong reason with the diversity of sound and invention to check the album out. Wrapped in the excellent artwork of Colin Marks (Exodus, Scar Symmetry, Jeff Loomis), the release has been suggested for fans of Bloodbath, Dismember, and The Project Hate but also it is easy to suggest that those with a taste for bands such as Opeth, Mercyful Fate, and Escapethecult could do far worse than taking a plunge into Arbitrator and their first album.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is available from February 13th @ http://arbitratorofficial.bandcamp.com/album/indoctrination-of-sacrilege

https://www.facebook.com/Arbitratorband

RingMaster 12/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

Nami – The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind

nami_prmo2

Having impressed critics and fans alike with their debut album Fragile Alignments two years ago, there was a strong anticipation for its successor from Andorrans Nami. The album was a fusion of brutality and melodic textures which impressively ignited the imagination and tested the senses whilst installing the band as one of the most inventive and challenging emerging forces. Now the quintet returns with its successor The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind, an album which builds potently upon the band’s introduction with a maturity and evolution of sound which leaves any hopes and assumptions for the release short changing the realised ingenuity and might.

Released via Year of the Sun Records, the album sees the band reuniting with producer Jens Bögren (Opeth, Soilwork, Amon Amarth) and featuring guest performances from Loïc Rossetti  of The Ocean as well as Carlos Lozano and Marc Martins of Persefone. The release explores further the progressive melodic side of its predecessor, though aggression and brutal energy is not left aside on The Eternal Light Of The Unconscious Mind. It is a ferociously imaginative and sculpted tempest of textures and ambiences, an intensive intrusive beauty crafted by blazes of diversely infused metal for an evocative provocation which cements and stretches Nami’s presence as an emerging force.

The Beholders opens things up with an absorbing synth created ambience, a elegant beckoning which even with the vocal angst lit nami_coversqualls of Roger Andreu making their presence known hold attention with a warm potent lure. The song soon uncages its deepest intensity and shadows though, scarring riffs and demanding rhythms ridden by harsh antagonistic vocals provoking the senses; simultaneously though the guitars of Iván Marín and Filipe Baldaia the track provides an enthralling melodic temptation alongside its rapacious intent and hunger. It is a blend which captures and inspires the imagination whilst senses and passion are taken on an ever shifting exploration of compelling structures and breath-taking textures. Thoughts of The Ocean and Gojira grace the encounter at times but it is something unique to Nami which sets the sound, song, and release distinctly apart.

The following Ariadna launches a full on predation from its first second, the drum and bass pressuring of Sergi Verdeguer and Ricard Tolosa respectively an immediate enslavement which ebbs and flows in intimidation to compliment and shadow the melodic grace and poetic air of the song. It is a glorious enticement with saxophone fire evoking greater appetite for its bewitching narrative within again a continually evolving expanse of progressive exploration.

Through the riveting Silent Mouth with its rolling rhythmic contagion and sonic sculpting aligned to immense vocal persuasion, and the intensively oppressive yet invitingly magnetic Hunter’s Dormancy, the album continues to hold thoughts and emotions in a tight inventive grip. The second of the two is a heavy prowl of the senses which like all tracks is willing to savage expectations with unpredictable detours and imaginative shifts of sound, whilst its successor The Animal and The Golden Throne merges a classical and caustic incitement into an evocation which pales against its predecessors but adds a thought pushing element to the album’s concept of looking at dreams and the unconscious.

Both Bless of Faintness and Hope in Faintness entice the listener deeper into their and the album’s seduction, the pair a linked fascination of sound and intent which continues the inventiveness and mouthwatering potency of album and band. Crimson Sky and The Dream Eater complete the album, the two tracks providing a strong lure of adventure and suasion though they fail to set the same heights as earlier songs, the first half of the album stronger than it’s second. The songs nevertheless are dramatically powerful and creatively intense and only slip because of the staggering excellence of those at the start of the journey.

     The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind is a thrilling emprise, one which not only provides incontestable evidence of the promise and quality of Nami but stands as one of the progressive metal treats this year.

http://namiofficial.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com

Walkways – Safe in Sound

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

There is no better pleasure than when a band and release you are only vaguely aware of, if at all, comes out of peripheral vision to slap the senses and passions into a state of lustful awareness. That is exactly what Safe in Sound, the debut album from Israeli metallers Walkways did. It is a glorious blend of alternative and nu metal plus more, addiction forming grooves and a hungry snarl setting it apart from most as it brings a refreshing inventive presence to eagerly feast upon.

Formed in 2007, Walkways are relatively unknown outside of their homeland, though a trio of previous singles (including a cover of Adele’s Skyfall) certainly scratched the surface of attention wider afield. With Safe In Sound though you can only sense and hope that the previous state of affairs will be addressed for the quintet of vocalist Ran Yerushalmi, guitarists Bar Caspi and Yoni Menner, bassist Avihai Levy, and drummer Priel Horesh. It certainly has all the invention, imagination, and sheer infectiousness to brand the band on the map of modern metal. Mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Soilwork, Katatonia), the record is a masterful and unpredictable blend of potent flavours and styles which stir the imagination and heart; quite simply it is one of the best albums to grace the year.

From the sinister intro, band and album instantly entwine the listener in deliciously enticing grooves and sonic temptation with Blood 1044369_329815420485756_1779077289_nInto Water, Caspi and Menner simultaneously carving deep furrows in the senses with carnivorous craft or soothing them with melodic weaves. The striking start drops into drifting atmospheric warmth to welcome the excellent vocals of Yerushalmi, a man who across the album proves a fine and inventive vocalist, whilst the rhythms temper their initial provocation to drive this scintillating melodic turn deeper. As it continues to twist the song enslaves a needy hunger for its unpredictable and enthralling offering, seamlessly blending snarling intimidation and glowing smouldering seduction with ease. Sound wise the song comes over like a thrilling mix of Absolace with Coheed and Cambria with the richest bite and invention of Korn and unpredictability of fellow Israelis Onama, the latter pair more pronounced the further the album is explored.

For all of the comparison which will be inspired by the release there is a uniqueness and individuality about Walkways which leaves thoughts and ears excited, especially when tracks like the following All Lies bounds the emotions in a wrap of rapacious imagination and energy. Again a track which fidgets and sizzles with twists of thought and adventure, it takes on a more Korn like presence the further it teases, the vocals evolving into a strong Jonathan Davis resembling stance though again retaining a distinction of their own. It is a continuation of the impressive start strongly continued by Endless I with its slightly schizophrenic sonic dance and flowing wash of melodic grandeur. There is a Deftones whisper or maybe a more Palms like one to its immersive persuasion that only enhances the rich emotive call of the song and leaves a bright blush of pleasure in its wake.

The next two songs are arguably the pinnacle of the album, though favourites shift with each eager listen. Firstly Towards the Light charges up its batteries for an excitable rampage across the ear with a wholly contagious beckoning spawned by a dazzling mix of technical/progressive metal and heavy rock. There is a touch of Nonpoint to the encounter but also Meshuggah glimpses as well as in deceitful quirkiness Scars On Broadway. There is an instant friendship struck up by the track, a familiarity to its lure which without obvious comparisons makes the fun all the more intensive but it is still only an appetiser for its successor. The start of Thoughts is not comfortable, the electro effected vocals suggesting something…well cringe worthy…but to doubt this band is mad as the track soon erupts into a thumping predacious slab of rock ‘n’ roll driven with a Mishkin like creative rabidity and magnetic invention. The latest single from the band it encapsulates everything about Walkways in an irresistible and explosive suasion.

Through the enchanting yet menacing Luminary Kid with spoken vocals adding narrative to what is primarily an instrumental, and Sweet Medicine which is as wonderfully niggling as it is plaintively evocative, the album boils up further before the excellent Out stands with sinews loaded before the ear. It might be a relatively muscular excursion at times but the song takes no time in soothing its passage with some enticing heart bred reflection and colour rich melodic flame of varying degrees of heat through the creative guitars and concentrated expressive vocals, backed by pressing basslines and forceful rhythms. It is a fire of inventive resources which builds into a climatic and dramatic provocation. Korn meets Tricore/An Entire Legion, the song is another lofty highpoint of a towering release.

After the decent enough melancholic instrumental Pause, agitation takes on another depth of imagination with the metallic bedlam of Actions, a track which sees Walkways turn Dog Fashion Disco on our asses with again a sturdy Korn spite to its rhythmic and sonic venom, whilst Skin Deep takes flight over the sores with a melodic wind of passion soaked resonance. To all extents the closure of the album with the brief instrumental Staring Through Closed Blinds adding its epilogue, the track finishes a stunning album. Safe in Sound is an inciting and infectious introduction of Walkways to the world but more than that it is a strikingly creative and thrilling take on modern metal; it has stolen our lust.

https://www.facebook.com/Walkways

9.5/10

RingMaster 26/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com

The Ocean – Pelagial

IMG_7505

Undoubtedly The Ocean has always been a band which demands a deeper concentrated focus to discover, understand, and reap the rewards of their creative leviathan like albums. They continually challenge the listener and themselves from album to album, investigating the complexities and simplicities of sound, emotion, and imagination. Their eagerly awaited new album Pelagial is no different, a release which offers a journey of beauty, intensity, rapacious shadows, and impacting depths which ignite the visual and emotional heart.

Pelagial as its title suggests, is a submersion through the open ocean, an intriguing and inciting dive through five pelagic depth zones: epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathyalpelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic. It is also simultaneously a provocative soundscape across the darker crevices and corners of the mind to which emotions and reflective shadows are ignited for an individual and personal concept; it is a unique travelogue of intensity and inner exploration unique to each listener. One continuous piece of music split into passages or episodes with interludes of underwater sounds and samples taken from old submarine movies to mark transitions, the album envelopes the senses and thoughts in a richly enterprising and invigorating expanse of sound and descriptive sonic narrative. It is challenging and at times claustrophobic, an overwhelming intrusively close wrap devoid of light the further down into its dangerous depths you go, and a piece of invention with a current which guides and forces listener and album into an emotional pressurised squall.

Mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Witchcraft), the Metal Blade Records released Pelagial is a progressive Covertour-de-force and an album which at the same time leaves questions in thoughts, not as to how impressive it is, that is undeniable, but how to interpret not only its expanse but the emotions it ignites within its enthralling company. It is without doubt an album which has to be devoured numerous times to appreciate and reveal all the scintillating adventure, pure invention, and furnace of multi-faceted emotions it unleashes, and that is possibly the only thing to lever against its towering presence for some, the intensive work needed to truly understand it and reap the deepest riches within. To counter that comment though it should be said that the album is one of their most accessible releases in recent years making for as mentioned an insatiably intriguing and evocative encounter which continues to make the band the most wonderfully unpredictable and forward thinking boundary pushing forces of within metal/rock.

From the opening light soaked piano crafted instrumental Epipelagic, its surface a light and warm dazzling beauty, the album breaks the surface to melodically swim through Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny. The guitars of Robin Staps and Jonathan Nido sculpt the coloured textured waters magnetically whilst additional strings add emotive whispers to elevate the lush coaxing. The rhythms and guitars raise the temperature as the urgent busy surroundings to the continuing submergence end the link between air and water with the vocals of Loic Rossetti, as ever irresistible whether scowling and growling or seductively expelling the lyrical revelation and its mutually descriptive and personal potency, lights up the atmosphere. Beside him the crisp guiding rhythms of drummer Luc Hess frame and vein the piece whilst the bass of Louis Jucker adds further menacing textures to the now imposing strength of the landscape.

The three part passage of Bathyalpelagic steps out from the already riveting drop, especially parts I: Impasses and II: The Wish in Dreams, both virulently persuading the passions with their continually shifting and swirling addictive and uncompromising declarations. The vocals of Rossetti on the first are aural manna, an irresistible temptation within the bruising and explosive enterprise persistently buffeting and thrilling the senses. The second part increases the intensity and exhausting toll with a ravenous and imperious tempest of sonic strokes and melodic sirenicity within an imposing provocation which refuses to take no or defiance for an answer.

The two sections of Abyssopelagic press harder with a predatory breath as the pressure and intensity darkens and increases further into the release you go through but also hold moments of acclimatised calm and resolve which temper the building ferocity of emotion and intensity whilst Hadopelagic I: Omen of the Deep and especially its companion II: Let Them Believe makes the listener feel at ease with the new depth, the seeming elevation away from the impending blackest depths a melodic and inspiring deep breath for the final push which the beckoning primal rhythms of Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance welcomes with contagious invention and initially startling mesmerism, like a lack of oxygen induced temptress,  and the closing Benthic: The Origin of Our Wishes devours, greedily accepting the offering with carnivorous hunger.

Pelagial is exceptional but as mentioned an album which has to be dived into numerous times preferably as one continuous movement, to truly feel its full triumph, each submergence unique and  consistently rewarding invigorating explorations from the distinct and innovative imagination of The Ocean.

http://theoceancollective.com/pelagial/

9.5/10

RingMaster 01/05/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com