Carnal Agony – Preludes & Nocturnes

10623371_849723825060694_8519827713650785911_o

Preludes & Nocturnes is an album which manages to impress, excite, and disappoint in one go, though admittedly the latter is a mere fraction of the enjoyment had from the Carnal Agony release. There are just times though where it feels like it missed the opportunity to make an even greater impact on ears and subsequently the metal scene, evaded the chance to pungently push this highly accomplished band towards the brighter spotlights which admittedly it still might awaken.

Hailing from Umeå in Sweden, Carnal Agony began in 2011 and swiftly began luring attention for their diversely flavoured style of metal around lyrical themes inspired by the classic literature from the likes of HP Lovecraft, John Milton, and Edgar Allan Poe. Musically the band, on the evidence of their latest album, weaves in everything from heavy and classic to power and melodic metal to a thrash seeded sound, revealing inspirations from artists such as Iron Maiden, earlier Metallica, In Flames, Mercyful Fate, and Testament along the way. Early demos sparked interest whilst the band’s live presence has brought them attention and acclaim, especially through a tour with Six Feet Under last year. Carnal Agony has been called the latest sensation in the Scandinavian metal scene, a big claim not majorly contradicted by their debut album.

Produced by Ronny Milianowicz (ex-Sinergy, Dionysus, and Saint Deamon) and featuring former Helloween/Masterplan drummer Uli Kusch (also Gamma Ray, Holy Moses), the album gets off to a rousing start through War Prayer. Straight away heavy duty riffs and matching rhythms stand toe to toe with ears, setting down a sturdy thrash bred stride. Unpredictability shows itself to be a ripe essence within Preludes & Nocturnes and within just a few moments the first song has expectations wrong footed by slipping into a calmer melodic passage. This enticing invention is quickly surrounded by brewing essences of epic metal and stronger drama clad textures which in turn lead into another muscular onslaught. The gruff raw vocals of David Johagen join the mix now, his rugged, raw tones admittedly taking a little time to acclimatise to against the flowing tide of sound but an increasingly strong ingredient through subsequent listens of the release. Folkish elements tease alongside classic and power metal elements, already the band’s sound defying any precise tagging. The song continues to stampede and potently relax across its engaging length, a tasty appetite raising start to the encounter provided.

carnalagony-cover   The opening vocal lure of next up The Frozen Throne is excellent, mass clean vocals like a band of brothers crooning air and ears and an element not used enough as the voices are spot on. A guttural roar from Johagen brings the air born invitation down to earth, his warlike call the spark for a web of sonic enterprise from guitarists Mathias Wallin and Pär-Olof Persson, buffeted by the thumping skills of Kusch. Hooks and melodies colour the chest thumping proposition too as again a clutch of different flavours align impressively in the track which by its end you will surely be raising a fist and vocal chords with.

Rebel’s Lament is a less forceful proposition next, though still a muscular persuasion. Inventive endeavour from the guitars bound the rally of beats and riffs whilst the dark tones of bass from Roger Andersson add rich shadows which nicely temper the skilled craft flaming from the fingers of Wallin and Persson, especially in a bewitching solo. The track though does not match up to its predecessors but still has ears engrossed and satisfaction bubbling as does the next up Rebellion. A power ballad of sorts, Johagen reveals more of his slightly cleaner and stronger qualities, and if I am being honest it is when he lets those free that he and songs find a new quality. To be fair, it is personal taste more than anything but nudged by the fact that when he does ‘sing’ he often ignites already gripping songs further. The track grows in weight, intensity, and anthemic energy so that by its close you feel like you are astride a stallion going into battle.

As good as those two songs are Carnal Agony overshadows immediately after. It is a beast of a song, a stalking intimidation of stabbing riffs and scarring beats from its first breath and a carnivorous charge of sound and energy from there on. But that is only part of the confrontation, the guitars sparking within the core rampage with slithers and spears of sonic imagination and melodic toxicity, it all ridden by the commanding ‘follow me into battle’ tones of Johagen. The track is outstanding but too damn short at barely over two minutes.

Next up is the heavy/classic metal spiced Night of the Werewolf, a track with gothic overtones. This is one of those moments where personally an opportunity was lost, the earlier mentioned clean vocals feeling like they would have been a better fit whilst musically apart from a fiercely enticing bassline, the band feels like they kept a check on the imagination which had already lit up earlier songs.

Fire Walk with Me has ears and emotions feeling feisty again next, its fluid travel through a landscape of stormy energy and reflective melodies fascinating whilst once more guitars and bass reveals striking exploits bursting with magnetism and individual skill. Backed by voice and drum swipes, the track leaves a breathless listener in its wake, ready for Sleep Waker to please with its spicy heavy metal enterprise and Crystal Lake to turn into a head nodding enthusiast with its contagious and sinister imagination. The first of the two is another which, like the album, is a blend of full captivation and less successful elements or choices, but does get stronger and more enthralling with every listen. Its successor is a glorious stomp of horror bred devilry, everything from hooks to grooves, riffs to rhythms, an emotion inflaming festival of aggression and temptation.

The opening grisly bassline of Secrets Within the Shrine next sets the tone and scene of the triumph to come. Its thick bait is swiftly joined and enhanced by prowling riffs and venom swing grooves whilst beats are more predatory than vicious at this point. There is no escaping a Metallica whiff to the song but equally a scent of Misfits and the grouchy air of Mastodon helps bring alluring flavour of the song, whilst the constantly evolving ingenuity of the guitars takes it all to another level.

The track is excellent leaving Together We’re Lost the task with closing up the album, which it does in potent style. Familiar yet fresh, the track is an infectious and highly enjoyable end and another song which finds Johagen running the range of his delivery and yes he needs to ‘sing’ more because that is where he excels.

Definitely Preludes & Nocturnes is a release to take time with because it just grows with every recruitment of its bold and flavoursome adventure. Bottom-line is that it is a strong and enjoyable introduction to Carnal Agony who carry the promise of even greater exploits ahead.

Preludes & Nocturnes is available now via Sliptrick Records @ http://www.carnalagony.com/?audio=preludes-nocturnes

https://www.facebook.com/CarnalAgony  https://twitter.com/carnalagony

RingMaster 09/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Empires Of Eden: Channelling The Infinite

Up front it has to be said I am not the right person to be reviewing Channelling The Infinite from Empires Of Eden with power metal and the vocal style each and every track employs leaving more urges of irritation than tingles of pleasure. This should be remembered as you read ahead and gauge the comments by your own levels of joy found in the genre. Despite this immediate personal emotion before the album had a chance to prove itself there were times the release simply blew great big satisfying holes in the preconceived feelings though admittedly there were times it concreted them totally. For anyone taking deep pleasure from the genre and eighties classic metal Channelling The Infinite is simply an essential release, from the impressive music and the array of some of the finest power metal vocalists within it is an immense feast of quality and skill.

The album is the third from Empires Of Eden and follows previous ideas in its structure. Created and orchestrated by Australian shredding maestro Stu Marshall (ex-Dungeon), the album once more features songs where he has carefully crafted their music and heart specifically to suit the chosen vocalist involved. He has tailored the songs to compliment and best fit the individual ranges and styles and no matter the personal appreciation of the sounds it cannot be denied how perfectly and precisely he has achieved his aim.

Musically the album invariably hits the mark each and every time bringing a majestic blend of shredding expertise and melodic metal in diverse and appetising shapes. Whether thrashing the senses with an intense energy or scorching them with finely conjured melodic sparks the skill and passion is unmissable. The concept behind the album ensures it is never predictable and intrigues from one track to the next, the variety of sounds and vocalists making the album a continually evolving beast. That diversity also makes it a little inconsistent too though again it depends on individual tastes more than the imaginative sounds.

The album opens with immediately epic sounding Cry Out featuring Rob Rock (Impellitteri, Driver). The track is a driving slice of feisty melodic metal, its energy as persuasive to the ear as the excellent guitar play surging throughout. It is a mighty start which led to hopes of more of the same throughout. Musically it does pretty much deliver but vocally it shuffles the senses and emotions between impressed to real uncertainty as with second song Hammer Down. The track flexes its muscles and stares down the ear with menace and indisputable power but the ear scraping vocals of Udo Dirkschneider just left the heart cold. Yes he is a god to many but they just did not do justice to the music and excellent solo beside him.

The album has some true peaks but also less lofty but still enjoyable tracks as in the likes of This Time  Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper, Lionsheart), Cyborg with Carlos Zema (Outworld, Vougan), and World on Fire featuring Louie Gorgievksi of Crimsonfire. None of the tracks on the album can be weak and most will be blistering treasures for real fans of the genre each an expanse of multi flavoured creativity and imagination.

The major highlights of the album come in a triple dose of simply astounding ingenuity. Firstly the best and title track on the album simply sets the heart aflame. It begins with an emotive coarse symphonic beckoning come disturbance for the ear. Its intensity is ominous enveloping the senses in a thick passion before twisting into a rampaging scourge of melodic invention and irresistible spiteful riffage. With equally immense vocals from Sean Peck of Cage the track leaves one breathless and riled up.

It is instantly followed by Lions For Lambs, a warm and pulsating song which lights up the corners darkened by its predecessor. Marshall is stunning in his play, his guitar licking at the senses like flames whilst vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio of Edge of Forever brings every emotion he can muster to soak each and every word. The third of the striking songs is Born A King. From a truly dramatic opening it soon turns into an insatiable and rampant flood of eager riffs and thoughtful melodic insertions. With arguably the best vocal contribution on the album from Danny Cecati (Eyefear, Pegazus), the track is a sensational pleasure.

Though from personal preference Channelling The Infinite will not find a regular home here there are certain songs which will find a regular reprise. With vocals offerings also from Mike Dimeo (Masterplan, Riot), Vo Simpson (Darker Half), and Ronny Munroe (TSO, Metal Church) the album though is something power metal enthusiasts will truly lap up. With the new album Stu Marshall and Empires Of Eden continue from previous releases just he has made it bigger, grander, and even more impressive.

www.empiresofeden.com

RingMaster 01/06/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.