Torous – Mindfield

After checking out and enjoying their recent singles, it was hard not to feel real intrigue for the debut album from British metallers Torous. Those previous songs were a potent introduction for us to the band’s fusion of Celtic/progressive rock with additional and varied alternative bred metal and a potential which alone warrants close and continued attention. Mindfield only confirms and cements their promise while equally pushing and expanding the imagination and adventure found in those songs; showing just why the Birmingham trio is beginning to create a stir.

Since emerging in 2014, Torous has toured the UK numerous times with increasing success and shared stages with the likes of Rival State, Evil Scarecrow, and Diamond Head as well as played major festivals like Hammerfest alongside bands such as with Napalm Death, Alestorm, and Grand Magus. Their first EP, Dried Bones, lured critical and fan praise subsequently matched by that around the Holier Than Thou released singles Colours and I Am.  Out via the same label, Mindfield is sure to take things to another level in acclaim and attention as it does the inventive qualities heard in those previous tracks.

The piped seduction of Sideline brings the album to ears, its brief instrumental caress courted by darker shadows before Frontline erupts from its alluring charms. Instantly riffs and rhythms crowd the senses but with a certain restraint as the distinct vocals of guitarist Marc Malone join the potent mix. With the bass of GMT a steely enticement alongside the senses clipping beats of Tom Fenn, the track prowls as it courts ears and imagination with open enterprise and a rich blend of classic and modern metal hued rock ‘n’ roll with the extra colour of some fine folk inspired melodic endeavour.

Those previously mentioned singles come next, I Am first gripping ears with its slightly predatory and increasingly addictive bait of metal infused drama and rebel-rousing spirit. Stabbing riffs are matched in trespass by the spiky rumble of beats, the bass offering even darker bait as Malone’s vocals holler with melodic suggestion and grace waiting for the moment to strike and turn things on their head. It is a song just as potent and thrilling as first time heard a crowd of listens ago, Colours similarly blossoming again with time as its shamanic air and Celtic lilt swiftly captivates the imagination. The track entices like something akin to the blending of Manegarm and Southern Death Cult, a suggestion may be even more apt for subsequent tracks like Close My Eye, though before it the engaging croon and growing roar of Playing Human has an already happy appetite for the album blissful with its energetically crawling gait and boisterous invention bolstered further by great Skids spiced hooks.

Becoming increasingly feisty, the excellent track is matched in success by Close My Eye, the song a perpetually twisting and compelling escapade, and in turn by the progressive growl of Seven which instrumentally has the imagination flirting with its own evolving landscape to match the mercurial but still relatively stable climate of the suggestively crafted piece.

Shipped Away canters in like a warrior on horseback, rhythms swinging and vocals inciting as the bass nags with its shadowy devilry. Offering arguably the most infectious chorus upon the album, even in its brief state though it emerges through a host of equally catchy stages, the song is a venture through unpredictable moments which do not always work as well as in other time but only fascinates with ears firmly hooked before Nine holds the next moment of keen attention with its folkish hues across imposing textures.

Across its fourteen tracks there is may be surprisingly no weak moments though of course some tracks spark greater reactions than others. As the trio of Shadow Self with its tribal lining to capriciously emotional and physical terrain, the more openly predacious Crow Road, and the melodic web of Feed the Fire show, there might be a varying degree of pleasure found in songs but all ensure varying shades of rich satisfaction flirts with the borders of rapture.

On top of that Mindfield just gets better with every listen, almost intoxicating ears and thoughts as new things are unveiled and propositions like its title track, a beguiling almost demonically alluring persuasion, share adventures which never end with the same character they start with or keep to a path expectations can get a handle on.

Closing track God Game Suicide sums up all the attributes of the Torous sound and album; its Celtic rock adventure aligned to rapacious melodic metal a creative and rousing emprise to find kinship with. Certainly Mindfield is not without imperfections and at times a familiarity to others yet those traits somehow carry their own individuality as the album consistently catches the imagination full on and sees pleasure bubbling with perpetual rigour.

Mindfield is out through Holier Than Thou now; digitally on iTunes and other stores and physically @ http://torous.bigcartel.com/product/mindfield-cd

http://www.torous.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/Torousishere    https://twitter.com/Toroustheband

Pete RingMaster 25/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Månegarm: Legions Of The North

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As compelling as an impending storm and as dramatically powerful, Legions Of The North from Swedish folk metallers Månegarm catches the breath and imagination as it takes the listener on a stirring ride of Viking/pagan adventure. There have been numerous folk and pagan metal bred releases in recent months to stir up and ignite the passions but few it has to be said as impressive and as fully absorbing as the Norrtälje hailing band’s seventh album.

Formed in 1995, Månegarm have constantly impressed and drawn eager acclaim for their mix of flavours within the cast folk metal, a sound explored constantly by their invention and the use of traditional instruments. Moving through a black metal seeded sound to a more contagious and organic folk imagination, the band has forged a potent place within the genre, albums like the 2003 Dödsfärd and its successor Vredens Tid two years later garnering impressive responses from fans and media. Their live performances have been the same at home and across Europe over the years, and whilst line-ups changes have meant numerous shifts within the band they have continued to build a greater stature within the genre and metal, live and through previous two albums Vargstenen and Nattväsen of 2006 and 2009 respectively. Signing with Napalm Records the line-up of vocalist/bassist Erik Grawsiö, guitarists Markus Andé and Jonas Almkvist, and drummer Jacob Hallegren have returned with what just might be their most immense and thrilling release yet, certainly it leads the pack of recent releases from their contemporaries.

From the desolate ambience of Arise, its brief scene setting raising echoes and spirits of ancient shadows and epic atmospheres, 486_Manegarmthe album leaps upon the awakened sense with its title track. It is an instant blizzard of scathing riffs, debilitating rhythms, and guttural vocal scowls with serpentine rapaciousness. Insatiably hungry and impossibly contagious, the track courts the passions despite its destructive intensity, especially through the clean group calls and cavernous depths suggested and paraded throughout. As the folk heart stakes its claim within the ferocious narrative, the song climbs to greater climes and persuasion leaving an exhausted but exhilarated victim in its wake.

The following Eternity Awaits explores the harsh and warm extremes further, at times a marauding predator and in others allowing melodic breeze to sooth the anger and corrosive energy. As with its predecessor, there is an intriguing and enticing evolution to the song which leaves assumptions redundant and captivation full whilst passions eagerly ride the muscle bound warrior cast confrontation. Like the first it is an instant highlight soon left in the shadow of the towering encounter that is Hordes of Hel. Seemingly the dawning of a new destructive force, sinews are stretched and flexed with persistent incitement whilst wrapping the dark core is a weave of infectious and incendiary melodic enterprise, its welcoming  presence a torch to meet the encroaching shadows. Vocally the track is outstanding, though that could apply to them all, the insidious growls and harmonic clean suasion a fluid and impressive union whilst musically the track fills every thought for an imposing yet triumphantly alluring temptation.

The likes of the heavy chested behemoth Tor Hjälpe, the riff torrent Sons of War, and the ravenously esurient Fallen unleash their own distinctive rigorous furies to feed and enflame brighter the passions. Each track as the album as a whole, uncages a violent rabidity upon the senses whilst employing a beauty and folk seeded elegant call which easily and skilfully and inspires thoughts and imagination into creating their own colourful and resourceful imagery.

Completed by another turbulent ferocity in the shape of the excellent Echoes From The Past and the closing emotive Raadh, a folk song acoustically carved and sung in Swedish by a wonderful fusion of female and male vocals, Legions Of The North provides one enthralling provocative journey which rewards the enduring of senses chewing savagery with tempering melodic seduction. Månegarm creates metal which is not just about assaulting with the ferocity and strength of passion driven warriors but providing a full and rounded sense of tradition and pagan jeopardy, the album is a thrilling canvas for all of this and more.

http://www.manegarmsweden.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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