Daggers – It’s Not Jazz, Its Blues

daggers

Hardcore right now seems to be one of the most adventurously explored genres, certainly going by the evidence gathered and unleashed by Throatruiner Records this month alone, with It’s Not Jazz, Its Blues by Daggers arguably the biggest slab of unquestionable proof. The new album from the Belgian quartet is a brute of an unleashing, twelve tracks of distinct inventiveness from a band which has never been slow on pushing their limits anyway. Whereas their previous array of releases have been an indignant fusion of crust and hardcore, Daggers upon their new fury pushes the walls down between hardcore and extreme metal noise for a wholly unique brew of rapaciously imaginative rock ‘n’ roll to them and scene. It is a raw maelstrom of inciting imagination and voracious intensity which provokes and violates senses through to thoughts, a ferociously uncompromising adventure which though it needs time to state its persuasion, is an irresistibly compelling bruising.

Hailing from Liège, the foursome of Yannick Tönnes, Gregory Mertz, Thierry Tönnes, and Thomas Fagny has left a trail of satisfaction and exhausted emotions with a clutch of imposing releases, starting with their 2008 self-titled EP through to second album Euphoria in 2011. Across their five years Daggers has always been a provocation which has earned an appetite here if not a raging fire towards them, each release making a lingering and potent scar in the hardcore scene but It’s Not Jazz, It’s Blues is another matter entirely, in presence and impact. The album is a real journey through cavernous sceneries and ruthlessly stark atmospheres but constantly poised to thrust its instinctive punk breeding and metallic causticity down the throats of emotions.

Recorded live by Ben Phillips at the Lightship studio and mastered by Magnus Lindberg from Cult of Luna, the album opens on a reflective accordion croon as Apex slowly unveils its emotive invitation. It is a sinister if restrained enveloping which hints but gives no real clue to the impending and sudden explosion of vocal antagonism within an intensive and hefty weight of snarling riffs and cantankerous rhythms. The track instantly switches character at the expulsion, prowling purposely and intimidatingly across the senses as the guitars entwine a spiral of sonic acidity around things and the bass adds an extra rapacious menace courted  by an inventive texture of lead and backing vocals, again their attack controlled but intrusive. Now that its heart is fully open, the song offers a true portent of the album’s intent and qualities, though not quite the maze of imagination and experimentation also to come.

The song’s closing riff is a bridge into the following Woolgatherer, the coarse link soon replicated with deeper hunger by bass and a Artworkgrittier guitar tone. The track is an instant snarl of vicious rock ‘n’ roll employing numerous textures from rock and metal in its pungent incitement; an infectious repetitive groove aligned to a harsh roar of vocals which even in the briefness of the track steals keen attention and incites a greedy appetite for more which is soon offered by the similarly corrosive yet contagiously welcoming brawl of Blues. Also too short for these greed infused desires, the slice of combative causticity is an imposing wall of melancholic indictment and almost warring accusations lyrically and musically, which only intensifies the impressive start and persuasion of the album.

Both Asunder and Beacon push thoughts and passions into stronger enjoyment, the first a feisty confrontation of punk abrasion and metallic ferociousness which skilfully wrong foots not long into the roar with a delicious sonic detour employing seductive if acidic melodies and an irresistible twang to its breath before heading back into a riotous engagement with addiction sparking grooves and stomping attitudes, the bass wonderfully bestial once again. Its successor is a minute touching purge of the senses, uncluttered with twists and ideas taking it from its core intent but still infusing subtle hooks and lures which entice and linger within and after its offering. Again the swiftness of the assault is possibly thirty seconds or more too short but when so memorable and incisive you have to think that Daggers have got it right.

Wanderlust encircles the ears next, grizzled vocals taking their animosity out on air and senses whilst a sonic weave and anger ebbs and flows with inventive enterprise around the provocation. Arguably it is at this point where the album really starts to unveil its new rich pattern of experimentation and adventure, though earlier songs all bring a new character and potency from the band. In its forceful embrace, the song’s narrative takes the listener into sultry climates and melodic pastures, all shadowed and coated by unpredictable intrigue and evocative mystique, an emotive climate explored further by the instrumental Labyrinth, a piece which brings beauty under the sinister scrutiny of shadows and dark temptations.

The pair of Evermore and Dormant unveil the dangers, threat, and bewitchment of these new landscapes, the first an exhaustive charge which magnetically and urgently entices before slipping into a slower and equally incendiary intensive smothering of invasive rabidity which than alternates with a lasting contagion, and the second a stalking heavy legged predator which threatens and tempts the imagination. As all songs there is an agitation which will have its say and here with the most stringent pressure yet.

It’s Not Jazz It’s Blues saves its most thrilling experiments until the end starting with Sovereign, a track with a coarse and almost rustic glaze to its riffs and vocals as well as a hypnotic bordering droning repetition of sonic toxicity. There is a Killing Joke feel to the song as it feverishly works away tempting its victim, the unrelenting venom irrepressible even when the excellent twist of vocal delivery and haunting ambience leaves its compelling colour on the brilliant ingenuity of thought and sculpting. That brilliance continues into Cultist, its hive of waspish toxins an instant burrowing under the skin and across the psyche before relaxing into another persistent nagging which is impossible to resist or not find a new ardour for. Again a haunting, eerie atmosphere embraces the imagination whilst the track presents its venomous and mouthwatering bait with inventive bedlam and vicious veracity.

The release closes with Citadel, a dirty bleak stew of rare sonic abrasion and naked emotion which is punk in its purest form. The track impressively completes a blistering treat of a release. It’s Not Jazz, Its Blues is without doubt the best thing to strike from the minds and hands of Daggers, maybe not quite the classic you feel is alive inside them but certainly an inspirational new instigation for the genre and noise. It also suggest that if the band pursues the realms ventured within the final three or four songs on the album, that imitable pinnacle is nigh.

https://www.facebook.com/daggersband

http://daggersband.bandcamp.com/album/its-not-jazz-its-blues

9/10

RingMaster 31/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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The Isolation Process – Self Titled

    the-isolation-process-band-72dpi

    Thick in sound, textures, and emotional presence, the debut self-titled album from Swedish alternative metallers The Isolation Process is a transfixing adventure which catches the imagination and ignites the senses. Expectations for the album were slightly on the high side looking at the pedigree of its creators and it certainly does not let those hopes and assumptions down, instead leaving them an underestimation of what emerges from the riveting release.

      The Isolation Process was borne from the ashes of Scandinavian alternative rockers Lingua, vocalist/guitarist Thomas Henriksson, bassist Anders Carlström, and drummer  Patrik Rydbrand from the group (and also of sludge metallers Come Sleep), continuing to write and create together after the band’s recent demise. With a heavier, darker, and slightly more progressive sound emerging, the trio recorded their debut album with Michael Nordström (Switch Opens, Lingua, Jesaiah) last year. Mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna, Khoma) the resulting proposition is a mouth-watering incitement aurally and emotionally. Released via Version Studio Records the nine track evocative journey merges beauty and intimidation, shadows and flames into a creative landscape which immediately enthrals and continues to intensify its persuasion over every listen.

     Opener A Simple Gesture takes no time in casting a voracious presence over the ears, riffs gnawing the senses as they chug the-isolaton-process-cover-300dpiwith an intimidating predation alongside a bass sound which is bestial at its core and wonderfully ravenous at certain moments. It is just a teaser to the enterprise to follow though as just when you expect to be chewed up from start to finish unrelentingly the band swoops into a fire of melodic temptation and soaring sonic endeavour which aligned to the impressive rich vocals of Henriksson simply captivates. Merging and alternating between the breath-taking sounds and climbing intensity, it is a skilled and fluid union of diverse textures, a masterful suasion which by its end has alone seduced the fullest attention and appetite for what is on offer.

    The following Visions is a different kind of creature right away, it’s gentle entrance, in comparison to its predecessor, a melodically bred coaxing which canters across the imagination as guitars stroke out magnetic chords and firm but respectfully rhythms frame the potent welcome. Into its stride with again great vocals wrapping every word and emotion around the striking sounds, the track unveils its sinews to create crescendos of intense incitement with again the bass producing a throaty rapaciousness which only deepens the persuasion. It is an anthemic slab of a song which like the first only strips any stability from remaining reservations, if any are still remaining.

     Underneath It All steps forward next and with a melancholic air to its beckon provides an emotive canvas to reflect and immerse within but one unafraid to erupt with volcanic force and passionate ferociousness from within the sirenesque melodic narrative. Not for the first time on the album there is an element of Stabbing Westward and Cold about the song which though adding a familiarity only enhances the potency of the bewitchment. Initially not as instant in its strength as the first pair it a song which just gets better and better every time it evokes attention, again just like the album.

     From the pleasingly sculpted and intriguing instrumental Inhale the album is back to snarling with a voracious rabidity through Victims of the Masses; the track a mentally invasive and emotionally provocative tempest of aggressive hunger and elegant beauty forged into a sonic landscape which is as rugged as it is mellow and as reflective as it is feverishly intensive. An adrenaline raising evocation, the song makes way for the scowling beauty of The Dead End, a giant of a track which roars with melodic passion and growls with rigorous bearing before it departs for the second instrumental Exhale to provide a breathing space. Both pieces of music are perfectly enjoyable but to be honest more allow time to process and reflect on what has come before than reveal any addition to the album’s objective no matter their intent. It is not their failure but just the power around them.

     It Will Burn and Nothing To Collect complete the immense encounter, the first arguably the most bestial track but again in league with a melodic flaming and sonic invention which radiates and sublimely tempers any unbridled aggression which other bands might succumb to. It is not the strongest on the album but still a moment to lose one’s satisfaction to before the final emotionally fuelled fury brings the album to a dramatic conclusion. A slowly burning but wholly convincing and absorbing storm of sound and intensity, the song momentously completes an album which it is impossible not to find a torrent of time for physically and emotionally. The Isolation Process has for these humble ears and thoughts created the finest moment of its member’s artistic journey to date, a gem of a release and a long term engagement.

www.theisolationprocess.com

https://www.facebook.com/theisolationprocess

9.5/10

RingMaster 10/01/2014 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Kongh: Sole Creation

Kongh 2012

Swedish band Kongh undeniably has a strength and intensity as formidable as their name suggests and through their new album Sole Creation, offers forty five minutes of energy sapping, senses elating, and passion igniting creativity which is just breath-taking. Consisting of four tracks, the third full length release from the band consumes every corner of the psyche with an adventurous and hungry expanse of sludge and doom metal brought with a fiery loud whisper of progressive rock. It is an immense beast which gives some of the most melodically rewarding sounds heard in a long time whilst hungrily gnawing on the bones and synapses of the listener with heavy consuming intent.

The seeds for Kongh began in 2004 when David Johansson (guitar, bass and vocals) and Tomas Salonen (drums) met and began making heavy music together incorporating influences from their different musical backgrounds flavours from blues to grindcore. Two years later saw their first demo appeared, a four track brute of weighty sludge and loud riffing might which unexpectantly within two weeks sparked floods of strong reviews and independent label interest. By that fall the band had signed with Stockholm’s Trust No One Recordings (Isis, Khanate, Switchblade, Breach) and began work of their first album Counting Heartbeats which appeared in July of 2007. Again acclaim soaked the band backed by impressive live shows which included supporting Neurosis and Cult Of Luna. By the end of the next year following a limited split LP with Ocean Chief and a split 7” with Witch-Lord, the band and their epic musical atmospheric ‘hostilities’ were to the fore of awareness within European metal. Second album Shadows Of The Shapeless came out in 2009 and its evolved and aggressively intrusive sounds whipped up another storm of attention and acclaim from fans and media alike. It also received a full US release, the first time for the band as they received their most positive and enamoured reviews yet.

Kongh had reached a height to see them lie alongside the major doom/sludge metal names, with shows and performances with bandsARCD108 such as Weedeater, Ufomammut and YOB sealing their stature as they concentrated playing live and touring over the next two years. As the new Agonia Records released album shows this was a mere step in their rise as the further plateau reached and explored musically by Sole Creation, is their finest and most irresistible moment yet. It and the band is as confronting and abrasive as ever but with an expansive breath which reaches out further in imagination, sound, and impact. The four songs making up the album are individual slabs of dynamic sonic potency, rich melodic incursions, and senses challenging aggressive poetry.

The title track opens up the vat of dramatic excellence upon inciting rolling rhythms and a sonic wash with an acidic touch upon the ear. Soon into its sizzling gait the track unleashes teasing melodic hooks, grinding riffs, and a marked elevation in the intimidation of the rhythms. Once the growling spite of Johansson lies its rasping malevolence on flesh the song is grooving with a wonderful irritability soon tempered by the wonderful clean vocal harmonies which join the fray and insidious yet magnetic melodic caresses from the guitars. It is a sensational encounter which holds the passions tight within only the first four minutes of its ten plus. The track shifts its muscles into a varied venture of ideas and styles within the overall aggressive stance with imperious ease and craft to spark whispers of Mastodon, Kyuss, and Baroness, though Kongh capture a sound distinctly theirs at all times.

Second song Tamed Brute treats the already sore senses to a new decisive wash of sonic mastery to announce its entry before resting on an atmospheric peace though still with a disturbed air to its presence. It is not long before the track is a maelstrom of energy and passion soaked intensity which oppresses and smothers leaving one smouldering under its infectious annihilatory heat. The cleaner vocals are again especially striking though just one of a weave of sensational aspects on song and album.

     The Portals and Skymning complete the release, the first an emotion grasping physical endurance test with the deepest pleasure and enterprise the reward for its devastating and magnetic confrontation. An inferno as dense as it is incendiary the track is aural alchemy, the band turning riotous violence into a mesmeric contagious aural brilliance. The second of the two is equally guilty of the wizardry though it offers a less intensive pugnacity to its far reaching dark beauty, but again a level of musicianship in performance and songwriting which is just masterful.

Featuring a guest appearance from John Doe from Craft, the Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) mastered album is as flawless as is possible and in turn just sensational, a release which will inspire for a long time to come. Kongh now stand as massive as their cinematic namesake.

http://www.kongh.net/

9/10

RingMaster 05/2/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Abraham – The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore

Bringing probably the most caustic and violent experience you are likely to be exposed to this year, the second album from Swiss metalers Abraham is malevolent beauty. Abrasive, corrosive, and at times verging on physically unbearable for sure, but at the same time it is destructively beautiful and one of the best senses stripping pleasures to be unleashed and willingly endured in a long while.

The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore leaves one numb yet smouldering on the inside from the sheer might and force, let alone craft, at work within the violation. The band is tagged as post-hardcore/post-metal but as their second album shows there is much more at play. At times there is a sludge/doom smothering to entrap the listener, the thick oppressive weight of tracks a trap to sink into whilst the snarling and demanding rhythms donkey punch the senses and the flaming melodic sonic invention sears right through to the marrow, its acid presence fusing and extinguishing synapses. It is pure bliss with Abraham now one of the giants of extreme sounds as evidenced by the release.

From Lausanne, the band began working on short circuiting its victims from 2007. Hard work and the honing of their weaponry led to the eventual release of their debut album An Eye on the Universe in 2011, through Pelagic Records (who also release the new album), the label of Ocean guitarist Robin Staps. Critically acclaimed the band soon had Europe on its knees playing alongside bands such as Red Fang, Intronaut, Khoma, EF, Celan, Birds In Row, Mumakil, and Kruger. The Prophet, The Serpent and The Whore, an album inspired by a novel by J.G. Rawls, is the staggering successor and. The release is a tempest of emotions; despair, anger, hopelessness to merely scratch the surface, seeping from the eight songs and the lyrics freely adapted from  the story of an unnamed man falling from the sky to crawl through the lowest spheres of the world. Themes of falling from grace, primal fear, physical pain, loneliness and mystical visions stalk the release, Abraham exploring and bringing them forward to make a vivid presence and touch. Musically the sounds are as tortured and destructive as the lyrical content and intent, the combination upon this Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) mixed album, creating stark, bleak, and sonically pungent soundscapes.

First track Start With A Heartbeat immediately rips the air apart with astringent sonics and merciless beats. It is a slow salt rub upon the senses which elevates its energy to twist and crawl deep within the psyche. The vocals of Olivier Hähnel expel venom of varied shades watched over by the predator growl from the bass of Valentin Jallut. As the guitars of Jacques Viredaz and Mathieu Jallut blister flesh whilst simultaneously manipulating notes, their tight hold wringing every essence and passion from them, the song creates an abusive rapture which can only be welcomed hungrily.

Man The Serpent and The Great Dismemberment suck the light from the soul, their far reaching dark emotions and malicious sounds leaving the deepest scars and equal pleasure. The rhythms of drummer David Haldimann alone resonate through bone and when contributing to the cartilage shearing sonics and melodic thrashing elsewhere makes for the sweetest abuse. Both songs fire the imagination with their constricting breaths and scathing presences, the second of the two a cacophonous scalding which blisters the atmosphere let alone the senses. At times there is a Killing Joke flavour breaking through, predominantly in the vocals with Hähnel having a Jaz Coleman scowl, with this, the leaden bleed of This Is Not A Dead Man, Yet and the closer Dawn having the richest whisper.

The outstanding New King, Dark Prophet and the epic corruption that is Carcasses leave one grasping for a steadying surface whilst gasping for breath under their dehabilitating tempests. As mentioned the release is a challenge to thought and body but there are moments where one is taken to their limits. All the time though the musicianship and wonderful inventive craft is a raging burn to relish and draw rapture from.

The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore is pure mordant majesty, a brutal beast which rewards time and time again giving new emerging treats with every confrontation. Abraham has taken their already impressive presence and creativity to further stunning inventive and violent heights for one of the albums of the year.

https://www.facebook.com/abrahamtheband

RingMaster 28/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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