A.C.O.D – II The Maelstrom

ACOD_RingMaster Review

There is no doubting that the new album from French melodic death metallers A.C.O.D lives up to its name, II The Maelstrom a fierce and uncompromising tempest of sound and emotion which could be the soundtrack and reflection of the turmoil in the world right now. The thirteen track encounter sears ears, withers the senses, and grips the imagination with its fusion of creative twists and varied flavours, and though a punishing conflict from start to finish it makes for one compelling incitement.

Formed mid-2006, A.C.O.D has increasingly gripped attention with a sound seemingly bred on thrash and blackened seeds alongside its prime death metal heart. It has been an evolving proposition over time, and one luring increasing acclaim and spotlights the way of the band. Debut album Point Zero was released in 2009 with its successor First Earth Poison two years later. Both were well received though the five-track EP Another Path in 2013 has been their strongest bait on ears and appetites for their sonic fury; that is until now. Produced by Shawter of Dagoba and mastered by former Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader, II The Maelstrom is A.C.O.D’s most creatively hungry and impressive offering yet and from its first moments the Marseille quintet takes no prisoners.

acod cover_RingMaster Review   Straight away Another path swarms ears with ravenous riffs and imposing beats to instantly destabilise the senses. It is a hellacious yet controlled start which offers a carnivorous bestial bassline and sound to drool over which continues even as intensity and energy is kicked up a gear or two soon after. This marks the entrance of the raw throated vocals which in turn sparks a further thrash infused onslaught, but one which dips in and out of melodically honed lapses in ferocity. They are mere breaths in the again best described as swarm of riffs and rhythms, the guitars additionally creating an alluring web of sonic persuasion across it all.

It is a great start matched by the slightly less rabid Way of death, a track again bulging with highly tempting grooves around irritable riffs and rhythms. As it proceeds the track gets more volatile but equally inventive as spicy melodies escape guitar strings and vocals spill ire coated but more patient aggression. As in the first song there is a thickness in air and sound which means a kind of acclimatisation is needed but it comes quickly whilst laying lures to draw ears back again and again to explore more. This applies to the whole album as evidenced again by the following pair of Abuse me and Ghost memories. The first of the two is a predator, a beast gnawing on ears and spreading rancorous enmity but like those before, fuelled by a virulence which just grips with consummate ease thoughts and an already brewing hunger for the release. Guitars flirt with sonic enterprise whilst the bass chews on the senses in tandem with the scything swing of sticks on drum skin, the blend a merciless treat which continues in its successor. Featuring Soilwork’s Björn ‘Speed’ Strid, the track looms over the listener with a wall of barbarous rhythms and again a tide of nagging riffs which only evolve into something just as destructive and magnetic as a vocal blend entices whilst melodies wind through the sonic turmoil. It is a glorious assault and provocation of the imagination, especially as haunting winds and industrial tinged elements make full use of calmer moments.

From one major highlight to another as the vicious smog of Words of War descend on the senses, its composed savagery anthemically riveting and physically intimidating for a bracing and once more evolving assault. It is that fluid and unpredictable ability to twist around and explore contrasting if still lethal adventure in songs which turns II The Maelstrom from a good album into a thoroughly thrilling proposal. Both Black wings and the excellent Rise confirm that, their individual impassioned uproars further defined by the intricate craft and ideation veining each, though in the former of the two the rousing and corrosive breath of the track wins out whilst Rise is another which just steals the passions, its torrential grudge bound in impressive imagination whilst keeping its savage jaws in undeterred motion.

Cold is another peak, its melancholically stringed, melodic opening bewitching but subsequently swallowed in the belly of the sonic beast and another thumping anthem of bad–blooded barbarism. That animosity is on the first gasp of the following Death breath too alongside an enticing of acidic grooves and waspishly nagging riffs whilst Unleash the fools which sees Shawter also guesting, finds its strongest bait in the clean vocals and the hostile invention which seems to especially bloom around them. It is arguably the weakest song on the album yet leaves you wanting more and subsequently basking in a folkish/melodic metal sculpted oasis midway which just lights up ears.

II The Maelstrom is concluded by the trio of firstly Fallen, another strong song not quite having the same potency of those before, the classically hued and thrash fuelled Crimson, and finally the album’s title track which like an apocalyptic bear bellows and smothers ears in a swamp of raw passion shaped by toxic grooves, crushing rhythms, and scarring vocals. It also provides a melodic refuge within its storm which leads the listener out of the release with a warm and elegant peace.

It is hard to say that II The Maelstrom is something majorly new for the death metal scene yet it continually provides something fresh and inventive to the ear within its more recognisable turmoil. The result is one richly pleasing and satisfying encounter, and as suggested earlier, the finest aural ravishment from A.C.O.D yet.

II The Maelstrom is released September 15th

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2105

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Black Oil – Resist To Exist

Black Oil_RingMaster Review

I think we can all agree it is seriously hard to be truly original in the music scene now and just as difficult to be noticeably unique against the hordes of other bands tempting time and attention. A few though do instinctively stand out through sound or presence to stand many steps from the masses, and one such proposal is US based groove metallers Black Oil. Their sound is a furious maelstrom of various strands of metal, Latin and worldly invention, and a defiant passion which binds it all for one, as shown by their new album, blistering and rousing confrontation. Resist To Exist is a riot in the imagination, a tempest in the ears, and an anthemic incitement just leaving the body alive.

Calling LA home, Black Oil originally emerged from Brazil with a sound crafted and honed with a unique blend of cultures and years of experiences gained by founder Addasi Addasi, whose travels have taken in the life and flavours of over thirty countries. Since forming the band has earned a big reputation and following through a previous pair of acclaimed albums, including the predecessor to their new encounter, the Logan Mader (Machinehead, Soulfly, DevilDriver, Gojira, FFDP) produced the Not Under My Name, as well as a live presence which has seen them play with the likes Megadeth, Fear Factory, All Shall Perish, Soulfly, Otep, Cavalera Conspiracy, Arch Enemy, Anthrax, Cattle Decapitation and many more. Their renowned metal-samba sound and hard hitting politically charged lyrics has made Black Oil a hungrily devoured proposition already, and now with Resist To Exist it is easy to expect even greater reactions and spotlights on the band, the album simply one of the most exhilarating incitements of the year.

cover_RingMaster Review     Produced by Cristian Machado of Ill Nino, with many other contributions, Resist To Exist sees the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Addasi, vocalist Mike Black, bassist /vocalist Drew Petropoulos, and drummer Michael Gomez joined by a host of guest contributions including Fear Factory/Archaea’s Raymond Herrera and ex-Static X/Soulfly and now Fear Factory bassist Tony Campos amongst them. This and the unbridled imagination and ideation soaking songs all goes to create incendiary tapestries of sound and energy which from the opening track makes Resist To Exist one feverish conquest of body and emotions.

It all starts with Rise Up, a song with its intent in its title and success in a character which just will not accept anything less than full involvement from the listener. From its first breath, riffs and rhythms are a cauldron of enticing intensity, a tenacious prelude to swiftly joining and just as quickly virulent grooves. Aligned to the guttural roar of Black, the track is in full violent swing in seconds, its rhythmic hips casting a commanding swagger as guitars and bass cast an inescapable web of searing grooving and infectious riffery. Like Five Finger Death Punch meeting Powerman 5000, but so much more, the track is an incendiary device of invigorating and exhausting metal contagion, raw alchemy to get the blood and energy rushing through anyone’s veins.

The ferocious start continues with the just as explosive Justified where malevolently swung beats and a carnivorous bass tone add their great grouchiness to a wind storm of sonic hostility, and that is just the initial impact on the senses. Soon Middle Eastern hints stir within a spicy expulsion of guitar before the track puts its head back down for another hellacious and rabid stomp. As much death and industrial like as it is a grooved fury, the encounter continues to ignite and incite ears and thoughts before passing the senses over to Callate. The third track, which features Campos on bass and vocals, is a predator of emotional bedlam and creative unpredictability, its sound as diverse and ravenous as the vocals fuelling its inner corrosive rage, and as irresistible.

Exoskeleton savages ears with its vocal and rhythmic hostility next, whilst simultaneously seducing the imagination with a tangy web of melodic grooving and feistily flavoured enterprise. The result is something which roars like a blend of Fear Factory and Devildriver yet equally only has its own distinct animus of sound and intent. It is a flesh searing bellow leaving the body shell shocked and ready to be taken on a fiery ride by the following Combustion. From its initial fierce caress of sound, Latin bred percussion and melodic hues are enriching the song’s rhythmic and sonic tempting, elements of bands like (Hed) PE and Bang Data joining the muscular rebellion and expelling even greater influence as the track springs its bruising anthemic shuffle. Joined by guest Silverio Pessoa on vocals, Black is the ringleader of one addiction forging, body igniting tempest. The guitars alone create an enslaving persuasion with their relentless and evocatively creative twists whilst the percussive aspect of the song aided by Mario Pallais, is simply a puppeteer on the listener.

One brilliant encounter makes way for another in the insatiable shape of Revolution. Featuring and driven by the ravenous rhythmic swings of Herrera, the track is a bestial onslaught but one littered with infectious grooves and sonic devilment. The track is psychotic, never allowing the listener to make assumptions on its direction and with more guests involved, evolving character. The same can be said about Stand Against Everything which comes straight after, the song akin to the last and taking certain aspects of its persuasion into its own persistently evolving and fiery samba.

Resist To Exist closes with Paper Slave, a final aggressive and venomously inflamed uprising of creative hostility and impassioned defiance. It comes shaped with cantankerous riffs, merciless rhythms, and mesmeric invention, bone breaking hostility merging with worldly and emotive resourcefulness. Stuck Mojo and Ill Nino come to mind as it ravages air and ears but again the song in reality is something else again, and though maybe not matching earlier heights, it leaves the listener only wanting more upon departure.

Black Oil brings something different and relentlessly exciting to the metal table with Resist To Exist. Some tracks soar above others in creative adventure and sheer compelling power but all leave a greedy hunger and thick pleasure behind them. Who can want much more than that?

Resist To Exist is available now via Sliptrick Records through most digital stores.

http://www.blackoil1.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackoilofficial

RingMaster 22/07/2015

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