[STÖMB] – The Grey

Band

   “Can you hear the sound of the world? This ephemeral echo that slowly burns through the void…

Can you see beyond the veil? This overwhelming presence that enhances the truthfulness of any reality…

And then…When everything has faded away and the world is silent…

All there will be left is resonance…And the grey.”

 

Bred from the prose above, the epic, imposing landscape of The Grey, the debut album from French progressive metallers [STÖMB], is a ten track exploration of desolation and the nothingness consuming life before, during, and after its journey. Certainly that is where it took our imaginations, but the encounter will be the conjuring of diverse thoughts and emotions across all immersing within its potent and compelling adventure. As much as it is for ears, The Grey is an exploration for the imagination too, sculpting instrumental dramas and imposing soundscapes which easily ignite the senses and mind.

With a progressive metal sound entwining rich essences of diversely found flavours, the listing of the Paris quartet’s inspirations probably giving a clearer picture of their invention. Guitarists Tom B and Aurélien DF, bassist Alexandre G, and drummer Olivier R cite bands such as Meshuggah, Tesseract, Klone, Tool, and Animals As Leader as influences to their own striking compositions, and fair to say whatever your imagination is coming up with as you read that spicing is probably close to the mark in regard to album and sound yet a fraction of what The Grey provides as it leads ears and emotions into fresh adventures.

Digi    At around seventy minutes in length, the album is an epic journey and challenges from start to finish whilst rewarding with tracks which transport the listener into the realms they have been inspired to contemplate by its sonic narrative. Maybe combined it all makes for a proposal pushing limits of endurance, yet there is rarely a moment within songs and release where thoughts and attention wanders. From opener The Complex the album simply fascinates; every slither of melodic seduction and roar of primal antagonism a bewitching incitement. The first track alone has it all, its initial caress of beauty evolving into a volatile stroll of ravenous riffs and menacing rhythms within a caustic yet inviting ambience. The only voices across the album come in occasional suggestive samples, an early one helping shape or at least hint to the descriptive intensity and background of the first track.

The portentous feel of the song is replaced by the ferocious and hostile majesty of Rise from Nothing, a ravenous consumption of the senses but composed with a sonic and melodic beauty which ebbs and flows across the rugged rhythmic scenery. It’s consistently tempestuous air and theatre becomes even more volatile and inflammatory as the track proceeds, but like a travelogue it equally enthrals as it slips into new aural lands of mystique and creative colour before making way for Veins of Asphalt. The new detour to explore equally has a wealth of fearsome and endearing enterprise to offer and evolve; jagged riffs and scything beats entangled with a sonic web of mouth-watering craft and virulent temptation. With most tracks within The Grey ranging between six and nine minutes, only two courting slimmer lengths, there is a continually changeable aspect to the dark, immersive flights which is impossible to portray here but take as read very easy to get lost within in person.

Corrosion Juncture is a blend of savage intimidation and melodic ingenuity within a spatial atmosphere, the music a tenaciously magnetic flight through turbulence and calm within a shadowed drenched unknown. The senses are buffeted throughout and ears lit by the masterful endeavour of each aspect of sound as the track drives towards the lighter peace and beauty of The Crossing. It is a brief floatation of warm melodises and transfixing creative charm, a lull in the tempest which is soon consuming ears and thoughts again through the dystopian heat and intensity of Under the Grey. Its busy persuasion has thoughts lost in Orwellian theatre, again evidence of tracks and the band freeing the imagination to explore its own dark corners to their soundtrack. The song is a gripping proposal equalled by the just as potent Terminal City, a bustling rigorous prowl across an intensive, unrelenting daily provocation of life we can all feel akin to.

The track is glorious, the pinnacle of the album alongside its predecessor, though things continue to enthuse appetite and enjoyment as the broader terrain of The New Coming and the mercurial Genome Decline follow. The first of the pair embraces a calmer if still ferociously unstable climate with a smothering tapestry of unpredictable sound whilst its successor is an undulating, rabidly twisted spiral of enterprise and imagination embracing the listener in a thick sonic hug breeding fiery melodies and spicy textures.

The album closes with Only an Echo, a song with its melancholic air and reflective ambience which feels like an epilogue or more an epitaph to the dark premises explored before it. It is a fine and suggestive end to an increasingly gripping encounter. Admittedly at times The Grey is now taken in halves here, yet each time it leaves a lingering pleasure and incitement in emotions and thoughts…Fair to say that progressive metal has another impressive protagonist to contemplate.

The Grey is available now @ https://stomb.bandcamp.com/album/the-grey

http://www.facebook.com/stombofficial

RingMaster 28/05/2015

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Abysse – En(D)Grave

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Three years in the making, En(D)Grave the debut album from French instrumental metallers Abysse openly reveals all the passion, fire, and determination which went into its creation. The seven track release is an extensive exploration of bold adventurous lands and emotions; ventures fraught with warriors and bravery, shadows and danger but all brought forth with a potent sinew driven narrative that leaves no emotive intensive stone unturned and inventive imagination untapped.

Formed in 2004, the quartet from Cholet, Maine-et-Loire of bassist Jérémy Cas, drummer Sebastien Pineau, and guitarists Vincent Barbaud and Geoffrey Veron, unveiled their first demo Eight Hours Before Dawn two years later. Followed by the De Profondeur en Immersion EP of 2007 the band was already igniting thoughts and passions towards their experimental progressive metal composing and its accomplished realisation but it was the Le Vide est Forme EP the following year which really put a match under acclaim for their inventive offerings, a fuse which has been replaced by an explosive trigger with En(d)Grave. The previous release was also the key to seeing Abysse touring France and further afield, the band sharing stages with the likes of Kruger, Rosetta, Hacride, Impure Wihelmina, and Klone whilst also lighting up stages at festivals such as Hellfest and Motocultor. The new album has all the strength and invention to send the band into further passions and lands as the band brings world metal a real taste of French ingenuity.

From a sonic brewing ambience Eagle Of Haast makes a gentle Eastern breath toned entrance to start off the album, strong punchy rhythms making a welcoming frame to the already inviting melodic allure. With muscles flexing and the initial sonic mist turning into an evocative storm the track leads the imagination on an adventurous and darkened flight through intimidating shadows with barbarous atmospheres and incendiary colour rich melodic flames. It is a track which offers thoughts of bravery and savagery simultaneously but as a union rather than a battle or of destructive intent. Certainly with the rhythmic craft and intensity there is no doubting the menace and rapaciousness of the narrative yet with superb imagination and sculpted evocation of the guitars it is a journey of rewards and passion rather than unbridled danger.

The following Ten Thousand Changes discovers a voracious passion and energy to its charge through the ear but again it is a landscape of emotive persuasion which ebbs and flows in the energy and force of its attack whilst burning up thoughts and vision with its poetically charged sonic painting. The song suggests intensive climactic occurrences in large crescendos whilst allowing breathers and recovery through mellow yet no less intense melodic coaxing. It is a stirring track which though not as instance for the emotions as the first emerges just as impressive and pleasing for the rampant appetite already inspired by the release.

Mastodon as you would expect from its title is not lacking muscles and weight or an intensity to smother and consume the ear and beyond. It is a ravenous treat, the bass as vociferously throaty and snarling as anywhere on the album whilst riffs drill and grind away at the senses as sonic flames light up the oppressive and addictively contagious body of the track. At times there is a Metallica groove teasing and peering through the heady atmosphere whilst other moments you are reminded of the song’s namesakes but from start to finish the confrontation is an immense and formidably commanding joy.

Through Forest Monument and Sharp & Chrome, Abysse continue to impress and ignite the passions, the first of the pair a classic metal seeded fire with spirals of melodic and sonic craft searing its walls. It takes its time in investigating and painting the surrounding textures and hidden corners of the landscape parading their beauty and perils with again rhythmic incitement and deliciously descriptive guitar ferocity in league with melodic cunning and craft. Its successor is just as strong a persuasive image instigator, the white hot flames of the guitar’s imagination and skill a prickly rapture breeding provocateur skirted by the ever imposing and lead taking rhythmic hunger and predation of bass and drums. A tempestuous piece the track is a furnace of passionate intensity, and just as magnetic, fierce, and beautiful.

The Blue Wave Recordings released album is completed by the air sucking Golden Life, a track which smoulders and seduces, scalds and combusts into irrepressible beauty and broiling expansive heights, and the corrosively candescent Light For Wheke. The closer alone provides an exhausting wholly rewarding traverse of climactic and illustrious climes and within the might that is En(D)Grave, provides the final glorious invigorating flight through a union of darkness and light, a union constantly on the edge. Abysse has provided without doubt one of the most scintillating and emotionally rewarding not just instrumental but metal album of the year.

http://abysse.bandcamp.com/album/en-d-grave

https://www.facebook.com/abyssegroupe

10/10

RingMaster 04/10/2013

 

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Klone: The Eye Of Needle EP

It is impossible to be anything but impressed and excited by the creative wonder that is The Eye Of Needle EP from French band Klone. With knowledge of the band restricted to basically name only until now, the surprise and deeply registering pleasure gained from this new release is easily one of the most impactful so far this year going hand in hand with wondering how we managed to miss their creativity stunning until this point.

Formed in 1995 the band has not been the most prolific in releasing material with their trio of albums and previous EP coming since 2003. The new release follows the previous acclaimed Klone album Black Days of 2010, which we are informed marked a further open exploratory premise to the creativity of the quintet. Bold and instinctively passionate the release is said to have taken the band into deeper and more groundbreaking areas which the new release continues.

Released through Klonosphere Records and Season of Mist, the three track EP brings soundscapes which are fiery, colourful, and perpetually evolving, each song an aural fire of imagination and ingenuity igniting a similar blaze within emotions and the heart. The songs are an electrified weave of enveloping sounds with splintered veins of unpredictable and perpetually surprising essences. From the opening track The Eye Of Needle Part 1 the senses are lit up with an uncompromising array of ideas and remarkable ingenuity. The song begins with a searching almost menacing guitar beckoning, its energy and presence blurred at the edges with a haunting energy. As hypnotic rhythms join the growing mesmeric sway and ethnic sounds gather around the core of the song, an expansion into unveiled thought and emotions begins. The middle Eastern flavoured sounds which soon pervade the music and the vocals of Yann Ligner remind heavily of bands like Motherjane, their mutual progressive veins as mesmerically flavoursome and evocative.

As the ten minute slightly oppressive and fully sensual epic departs with the guitars of Guillaume Bernard and Michael Moreau ringing in the ears, one grabs a big gasp of breath before the following The Eye Of Needle Part 2 takes over. With the beats of Florent Marcadet commanding and the bass of Jean Etienne Maillard a prowling shadow bringing depth to the song, the piece is a fuller progressive rock explosion within the ear. It merges a more classic slightly folk metal/progressive tone into a rippling maelstrom of riffs, feisty rhythms, and melodic conspiring. More persistent and eager than its predecessor the song plunges the emotions into spiralling sonic tapestries and furious unrestrained passion. Reminding of the likes of Tool and Stone Temple Pilots coated with the atmospheric thick breath of a Nine Inch Nails the track is immense and as is the whole release much more impressive in person than mere words and  compliments can reveal.

The EP is completed by an unleashed song which comes from the sessions which bore previous album Black Days, its presence showing that the two new songs before it are a definite evolution to that album if not a massive leap forward. Monsters has a nastier snarl and more direct intent than its EP companions, the track an insatiable and rampant accessory to the overall pleasuring and riling up of feelings by the release. Again melodically impressive and the trigger to unbridled energetic responses in exchange for the powerful and irresistible invention given, the song is outstanding.

Throughout the three tracks the sax conjurations of Matthieu Metzger are a striking glory which even within the moments the surrounding sounds enclose his imaginative play twists and inspires with stunning effect. For those new to Klone, The Eye of Needle EP will not only excite deeply but inspire a retrospective investigation as well as start an impatient wait for more to come from the band.

Ringmaster 05/06/2012

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