Draghkar – The Endless Howling Abyss

Already keeping 2018 busy with a pair of split releases with Desekryptor and Ossuarium respectively, US death metallers Draghkar are poised  to unleash their own four track infestation in the highly enjoyable shape of The Endless Howling Abyss.

Formed in 2016 by guitarist/vocalist BW (Grave Spirit/Gravesmasher), the band had gone through a few line-up changes before the first of those aforementioned splits was uncaged; bassist Daniel Kelley and drummer ES now completing the line-up. With a sound said to be inspired by Abhorrence and Amorphis and also increasingly embracing the likes of Molested, Mercyful Fate, and others as intimated within The Endless Howling Abyss, Draghkar has nurtured a potent mix of flavours and enterprise across their releases which certainly flourishes within the latest.

Traversing the Abyss rises from its bed with portentous strikes of sound, dramatic suggestion coating every surge of guitar and swing of rhythms until it settles into a controlled but portentous prowl. Every wave of riffs though brings a slight elevation in energy before it gathers for an intensive assault loaded with the throat gravel of BW. Grooves and melodic entangling escape the growing tempest, each with a lively swing that swiftly got under the skin. It is dark and ravenous, corruption at the creative heart but so very catchy and infectious too.

The excellent start continues with Swallowed by the Dark; a track not as mercurial in the attack of its animosity as in its predecessor but as rabidly venomous. It too shares grooves as viral as they are toxic, the guitar almost dancing on the rhythmic canter of the doom soaked bass splintered by senses splitting beats. It might be death metal bred but the track is prime rock ‘n’ roll, just in the most corrosive form of its incitement.

Next up Eternal Disintegration (Of The Body And Of The Mind) chains ears with one rich hook from its first breath, it a coaxing into a visceral canter but remaining to potently flavour the track’s subsequent emergence into a carnivorous predator. There is a bedlamic volatility in its depths which ignites even more invasive turbulence at times but never enough to extinguish the viral lure of its grooved invasion.

As if the release stored up all its malice and dissonance for its finale, Fading into Emptiness is an unsavoury consumption of the senses full of and leaving scars and fissures but again sweetening the malevolence with a great nagging of grooved temptation.

It is a fine end to a release which announces Draghkar as a definite to watch proposition within the death metal scene. Those previously mentioned splits made the suggestion, The Endless Howling Abyss insists on keeping them close.

The Endless Howling Abyss is released July 27th on CD through Craneo Negro Records (500 copies) and on cassette via Nameless Grave Records (75 copies). Both also available as well as digitally @ https://draghkar.bandcamp.com/album/the-endless-howling-abyss

 https://www.facebook.com/DraghkarBand/

 Pete RingMaster 24/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Critical Solution – Sleepwalker

 

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If evil is looking for a new soundtrack it might not be too far from the mark to suggest that Sleepwalker might be in line for adoption. The new album from Norwegian horror thrashers Critical Solution is a glorious slab of visceral rock ‘n’ roll; a blood-letting drama and insatiable anthemic adventure rolled up into one seriously galvanic slab of ravenous metal. The band impressed with their debut full-length two or so years back, but Sleepwalker is a whole new thrilling beast from a band exploring new plateaus of imagination and flavour rich confrontation.

Formed in 2015, it is fair to say that the Helleland hailing quartet began really grabbing attention from 2011 when they, to use their bio’s words, “got serious”. It was at this point the band began working with Andy LaRocque in his Sweden based SonicTrain Studios, especially impressing fans and media with their first album Evil Never Dies in 2013, which followed the Evidence of Things Unseen EP of two years earlier. The encounter was a more thrash heavy proposition fuelled by the kind of horror storylines and sounds that helped shape the gripping presence of The Death Lament EP in 2014 and now their concept album Sleepwalker. The band has also earned a strong reputation for their ferocious stage show honed over the years and alongside bands such as Diamond Head, W.A.S.P, Marduk, and Grave over the years; an intensity and energy equally rampant within the band’s new blood show.

It opens with The Curse, the establishing of the evil coursing through the album’s character and narrative through atmospheric hauntings, intimidating tones, and a bedlamic theatre of sounds. With the imprecation in place the album unleashes its title track, Sleepwalker immediately slamming ears with meaty beats as guitars tantalise, it all the prelude to the insatiable charge of the song to come. As riffs and rhythms bound ruggedly through ears, Christer Slettebø’s guitar sends spicy slithers of bait into their midst before his vocals stir up their own kind of anthemic persuasion. It is a thumping incitement soon revealing its resourcefulness as it twists into seductive prowls and dynamic torrents of inventive tenacity. Like Metallica meets Chainfist initially and more creatively devilish with each passing minute, the track raises the ante in the album’s superb start.

Critical-Solution-Album_RingMaster ReviewWelcome To Your Nightmare ensures things are only more gripping and exhausting next, its Anthrax scented thrash tirade irresistible from the first breath and only increasing its lusty allure as it releases its devil. Driven by the slamming beats of drummer Egil Mydland, the song alternatively stalks and launches itself at the listener across its hellacious contagion. The guitars of Slettebø and Bjørnar Grøsfjell arouse as they abuse whilst the bass of Eimund Grøsfjell is aural predation at its barbarously seductive best.

Melodic and evocative caresses bring Blood Stained Hands into view next, their gentle and reflective tempting the surface to a brewing and gradually building intensity and aggression. Enjoyably even that is caught in the ebb and flow of the song’s energy, being held in check to act as a tease from within the captivating and infectious roar of the song. There is a slight taste of melodic rock aligned to grungy essences at play too, Gruntruck coming to mind in certain moments as the song leaves appetite lustful and ready to devour on the sultry haunting of Murder In The Night. It too cages listeners in a melodic embrace; warm kisses of guitar and their sonic trails of temptation a rapturous suggestiveness encased in a sinister atmosphere. There is danger and menace lurking in the shadows of the track’s slightly portentous air; a waiting incitement which bursts as the floodgates open to fiercely nagging rhythms and predacious riffs within the imagination sparking instrumental.

Ending on a news report harkening darker deeds and threats as events twist and turn, the track masterfully leads to up the barbarous revelry of Evidence Of Things Unseen, its successor swiftly a merciless assailant drenched in hostile intent and virulent persuasion. Again it is hard to escape a Metallica/Megadeth like comparison, though every swinging stick and pulled string breeds a fresh and dramatic strain of enterprise unique to Critical Solution.

The heavy lumbering Sabbath-esque entrance of LT. Elliot soon has ears surrounded and imagination enthralled as its doom soaked theatre gives a bird’s eye view of the last moments of its title victim. Crawling with insidious glee and equipped with expulsions of raw catchiness, the outstanding track is as cinematic as it is murderously compelling and swiftly matched in drama by the epic exploration in length and emotion of Dear Mother. Bringing some respite to the dark turmoil before it, its tortured reflection comes entangled in a volatile landscape of dense shadows and fiery infection loaded revelry. Through every second of its ten minutes, it is masterfully unpredictable and increasingly enthralling, like being locked in the mind and emotions of torment itself as it track spellbinds as powerfully as its predecessor.

The Death Lament just tears into ears with its rapacious horde of riffs and legion of barbarian bred rhythms next, the violation thrash fuelled anthemic metal at its primal explosive best enslaving ears before letting Back From The Grave bring the chain of bloody events to a close. Featuring guests in Michael Denner and Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate), the final infestation of the senses and body is similarly pure thrash butchery and openly majestic in its crushing, rabid way.

There will no doubt be many voracious metal releases thrilling ears this year but already it feels safe to say few will surpass Sleepwalker and its thrash horror malediction.

Sleepwalker is out now via Punishment 18 Records across most stores.

http://www.facebook.com/CriticalSolution

Pete RingMaster 27/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Carnal Agony – Preludes & Nocturnes

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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

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Arbitrator – Indoctrination of Sacrilege

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If you speak to the right people there are always good, often great things said about any new and emerging band. The confirmation is always only in the music of course and just as often as words are proven, anticipation is left in unintended deceit. Arbitrator since the release of The Consummate Ascendancy EP in 2011 has been a band often talked up and recommended from certainly Canadian and North American sources. Their debut album Indoctrination of Sacrilege is our introduction to the quartet and all promise and suggestions of their growing might have been convincingly proven.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is a beast of a release, an intensively atmospherically soaked death metal bred proposition which from making an impressive first impression grows into one striking and fascinating theatre of imagination. Fusing in textures and essences from electro and industrial climates to progressive and ambient flavouring, the six track release engulfs and stirs ears and thoughts with skilled and increasingly rewarding adventure. The band itself is the brainchild of Robert Kuklaand, its emergence starting in 2010 and announced by the release of The Consummate Ascendancy the following year. It was an acclaimed proposal from the band but just a tester in many ways for the exploratory might of Indoctrination of Sacrilege. With a line-up of Myles Malloy (lead guitar), Connor ORT Linning (programming), and Soilwork drummer Dirk Verbeuren (ex-Devin Townsend Project, ex-Aborted) alongside Kuklaand (rhythm guitar, bass, vocals), Arbitrator put themselves forward now as one of the more intriguing and exciting progressive death metal prospects. They also still feel like they are still only just scratching the first few layers of their potential despite the weight and success of their album, a potential and prospect of even greater things ahead quite exciting.

The Sacha Laskow (ex-Divinity, Every Hour Kills) produced and Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy) mastered album, swiftly has the imagination engaged as the entrance of opener They Will Worship This Fire of Agony comes through scenery of portentous bells and death feasting flies as church seeded chants seemingly offering final guidance as a dark pestilential cloud looms nearer and nearer. That sonic threat is realised a muscular wall of riffs and punchy rhythms veined by enchanting keys. It is an immediately incendiary and compelling persuasion enhanced by the guttural growls of Kuklaand and spicy persistent grooves. Samples are soon briefly mingling with the cavernous presence and intimidation of the song too but it is the infectious hooks and melodic winery which most captivates against the evolving and enlarging drama of the keys. It is an imposing and enthralling encounter, and as the album subsequently shows itself to be, a pleasingly unpredictable one.

The potent start to the album is solidly continued by Stillborn Bastard of The Nazarene, it straight away binding the appetite with intensive riffs and rhythmic swings whilst thoughts are provoked by its atmospheric colouring. Kuklaand again impresses as he binds words and syllables with a gripping impassioned tenacity which provides additional potent focal points amidst many on release and track. Samples and keys again paint additional inciting scenes in the ferocious and threatening landscape of the song, though it is the superb melodic enterprise of Malloy which steals more of the glory.

Through each song the album just gets better and creatively bigger, the next up For That Which May Appease Lions unleashing black hearted rock ‘n’ roll in a hellacious offering of grooved and addictive contagion aligned to corrosive and oppressive malevolence. The track transfixes from its first moments, the predatory nature and sound of the bass a delicious stalking within the maelstrom of rancor whilst clean vocals add a different shade of temptation to the voracious soundscape. Keys and guitar endeavour similarly vein the tempest with their own unique and engrossing narratives, everything seamlessly flowing and combining together to enslave ears and imagination. Unpredictability is rife across the track, and reveals more twists and subtle ideation with every listen, an exciting trait just as potent in Serpent of The Styx. The song’s electronic opening is a melodic drift of keys and radiant melodies yet it all comes with a solemn and melancholic charm courted by a slowly brewing dark side. An eruption of that heavy menace is eventually unleashed yet the song still continues to radiate melodic expression within a web of carnivorous grooves and enjoyably volatile rhythms. There is also a cinematic ambience to the track, its ‘warmer’ and calmer moments apocalyptic in suggestion as the track’s muscular and rabid side trespasses and challenges the senses. As its predecessor, the track is a mouth-watering incitement which just gets more addictive and anthemic with every passing minute, hook, and barbarous swing from Verbeuren.

       Profaned and Perfected whilst not quite matching the heights of the previous two tracks, has its own persuasive agenda of spiny grooves and spiky beats to contemplate, and an anthemic swing to drool profusely over. It is an out and out death metal ravishment but also one unafraid to explore warmer climes through the often spellbinding invention of the industrial spiced keys and climactic guitar. The song is still a bruising and commanding predator keeping body and emotions invigorated and fearful before the ‘epilogue’ like instrumental adventure of The Burning Sands of His Kingdom brings the album to a fine close. The electronically driven piece draws a cold and stark wasteland yet equally suggests hope with its melodically epic and intimately expressive tones within rugged scenery.

Over a handful of listens in and there is still more revelations coming forward within songs as Indoctrination of Sacrilege continues to reward, that in itself a strong reason with the diversity of sound and invention to check the album out. Wrapped in the excellent artwork of Colin Marks (Exodus, Scar Symmetry, Jeff Loomis), the release has been suggested for fans of Bloodbath, Dismember, and The Project Hate but also it is easy to suggest that those with a taste for bands such as Opeth, Mercyful Fate, and Escapethecult could do far worse than taking a plunge into Arbitrator and their first album.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is available from February 13th @ http://arbitratorofficial.bandcamp.com/album/indoctrination-of-sacrilege

https://www.facebook.com/Arbitratorband

RingMaster 12/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Thy Fallen Kingdom – Fear The Hunter

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Wearing its old school inspirations proudly on its sleeve, Singapore thrashers Thy Fallen Kingdom unleash debut album Fear The Hunter, an encounter swift to fire up ears and neck muscles. The nine track aggressor is not a proposition to change the shape of thrash metal or bring it anything particularly new but for passion and thoroughly enjoyable enterprise, it is an album to eagerly embrace repeatedly. The band lists major influences as bands such as Exodus, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Destruction, King Diamond, and Mercyful Fate, no real surprise as you listen to their raw and highly flavoursome encounter, but to be honest this familiarity only adds to the lure of their sound and makes Fear The Hunter like an old friend in the ear and a seriously irresistible stomp for the body.

Formed in 2005, Thy Fallen Kingdom has uncaged a trio of releases leading up to the new album. From the five-track All That Is Left EP in 2009, the quintet has aroused local attention and passions as well as creating interest in the metal underground generally. The following UnDemocratic Society a year later and Army Of One EP in 2012, only added to their emerging presence ensuring there was plenty of anticipation for the band’s first full-length. After numerous line-up changes, the more settled line-up of original member and rhythm guitarist Akhbar, lead guitarist Christian, bassist Bryan, drummer Aip, and vocalist Aidil (though since the album’s recording he has left the band to be replaced by Rajuna), has crafted the band’s finest moment to date, an album to ignite body and appetite with ease.

Adrenaline and energy spurts voraciously from the speakers from the first seconds of the second track, never relenting until the album’s final offering, but it is the short alluring instrumental Mental Oppression starting things off. An evocative melody drifts from the strings of a guitar, its elegant expression and caress a potent coaxing but courted by a sinister sonic squall which offers shadows and portentous suggestiveness, a threat soon realised in Army Of 1. The song lays down a rub of nagging bait before rampaging with nostrils flared and rhythms slapping ears with their mighty swings. In full stride the track is a thunderous provocateur loaded with torrents of abrasing riffs and great tangy grooves, all punctuated by heavy fisted beats. Vocalist Aidil stands in the midst of the incitement, his delivery scowling with serpentine hostility for a great caustic hue to the tempestuous yet melodically fuelled sounds around him. The song as a whole only increases its lure as the blend of every element beds in the senses as grooves drip with temptation.

My Murderous Childhood keeps the great start to the album in full swing, charging and pounding through ears with broad sinews and acidic invention. Vocal variety across the band adds to Thy-Fallen-Kingdom-Fear-the-Hunter-e1415715183881the contagion of the track but it is the virulent riffing alongside spicy grooves and hooks which turns recognisable seeds into a masterfully magnetic proposition. The track leaves appetite and ears that little hungrier, an increasing greed the title track is only too please to satisfy. From a sonic drama a delicious throaty bassline steps forward, skirted by a rhythmic shuffle of beats. It is a bait impossible to resist, even more so when a tangy solo sears its addictive web. In full flight, the song does not quite live up to its opening or predecessor but still lays down an anthemic and contagious provocation to devour, especially with the addition of a bluesy colouring and subsequently furious animosity.

The anthems keep coming thick and fast, the next up Imperious Regime a vocal roar over a contagious sonic turbulence whilst its successor Psychosis provides an inescapable addiction. The first of the pair teases with a Suicidal Tendencies like predation, especially in the vocals, to provide an exhausting and rigorously thrilling incitement, though it is swiftly left in the shade by its successor. From its opening swagger and grouchy bassline, the track is in full control of attention and emotions. A Pantera-like swing to grooves is pure infectiousness which persistently lingers even as the song spills the rawest corrosive essences for a cantankerous canter of sound and attitude. That is enough to make it a formidable encounter but with a slip into a pasture of radiant melodies and harmonies with an air of Motherjane to them, the track has its sights on best on album honours.

The salaciously grooved Operation B.E.A.S.T. has its say on that straight after though, its rugged terrain a barbarous temptation bound in infection soaked grooves and vocal persuasion. The result is another epidemic of tenacious thrash enterprise which with plenty of creative hues and craft from the guitars and potent invention throughout sculpts its own peak in proceedings. That success is matched by the outstanding Unchallenged, another relentless assault with additional punkish textures to the surge of voice and riffs. There is no getting away from the fact that Thy Fallen Kingdom enclose themselves in their open inspirations without seemingly trying to break into bold originality, but here and across the whole of Fear The Hunter, it does not prevent the album from being one of the most pleasing and fun genre releases this year.

Closing with Possessors Of Absolute Power, one more creative cage of vicious rhythms and inventively spicy grooves roared on by torrential riffery, Fear The Hunter is thrash metal at its most furiously compelling. It may be bred on a diet of classic influences which the band is unafraid to share in their sound, but it is a familiarity which Thy Fallen Kingdom uses in their own attention grabbing way for a proposal all thrash fans should take up.

The self-released Fear The Hunter is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thy-Fallen-Kingdom/108260834542?fref=ts

RingMaster 09/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Forcing dreams with realisation: talking ESCAPETHECULT with founder Peter G. Shallmin

Peter G. Shallmin

A proposition which increasingly impresses and continually reshapes thoughts and emotions the more time shared with it, All You Want To is one of the year’s most intriguing, ingenious, and exciting progressive metal explorations. It comes from ESCAPETHECULT, a band created and driven by Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin and filled with the further creative talent of Uneven Structure vocalist Matthieu Romarin, Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander, and guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate. The project has been a passion brewing away within Peter for years and their first album a compelling and striking incitement for ears, and imagination. We had the pleasure to learn about the band and more with Peter who kindly shared his time to talk band, the search for specific elements, the debut album, and much more….

Hi Peter and thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

Tell us about the beginnings of the band and the initial spark and inspiration behind it.

Greetings from far Siberia, dear Pete! Pleasure to meet you!

Thank you for this great opportunity. Much appreciated. Always nice to have a talk between two Pete’s btw…haha!

Well, it was me, who was so crazy and passionate to begin ESCAPETHECULT. It’s me who’s the spark, inspiration, nerve, force…and even the plague. I’m almost everything.

The absolute “driving force” – my dream when I was very young – was to play with my favourite musicians: Tim Alexander of mighty PRIMUS I was quite fortunate to reach him sending the e-mail with the idea to cooperate. You can understand my highest level of excitement when I’ve received his words “This is cool!”.

Mike Wead is my guitar hero. I’m lucky enough to say he is my long-time partner, we have worked together in my main band Kamlath and I wanted to see him in ESCAPETHECULT.

Was there a sound already in mind as the project came to life and if so how did that evolve as the line-up of ESCAPETHECULT grew?

In fact, I didn’t think about the sound. The keys were: the idea and the music that I had.

Till the very end we didn’t care about the sound. I mean there were no questions how should, say, drums or riff guitars be sounding. As far as the construction of the actual ETC sound was under many factors I was very calm and confident in a result because the highest level of professionals I collaborate.

How about the visual side, was there a concept or direction in mind there too?

I had everything in my mind to embody I just was needed the right artist to make it real.

I get the impression that the project was a seed growing inside over time rather than a sudden spur of the moment idea.

Yes, you are right! Thank you for this question. Not a spur of course…A picky, detailed and really hard job.

Despite the fact that I’ve started to work with Tim and Mike practically immediately, I considered finding a further guitarist for the riff parts and a vocalist. And this was the hardest task ever that has been lasting for 4 years in total. A numerous shots with various guitarists and vocalists all over the world…(around 20 musicians in total or even more) haven’t brought the outcome I hunted to achieve. The final line up was formed just more than year and half ago.

No success to find the right rhythm guitarist has forced me to compose and to demo it by myself and ask Mike to forge and improve them with his brand fingerprint.

And the songs which grace your debut album All You Want To; ideas from before the band or freshly sculpted since its emergence?

Artists involved had a full freedom and all the time they needed to compose and record everything.

Could you imagine that for example one song had blast beats? Yes it was. Some of my basic ideas were so extreme, on the edge. My ideas are not holy, I’m very flexible. Everything on this album was balanced with a clever and mature approach of Tim’s unique touch; the songs were shaped, sculpted as you said, re-arranged by Mike in details (through many months). Matt’s personal contribution as a composer and vocalist is so huge.

Sometimes it sounds like a jam but there’s no jam at all. They have given a new breath, new soul and new life to our creation.

I hate the term super group but certainly ESCAPETHECULT has some already acclaimed talented and inventive musicians involved as you have already talked of. Can you elaborate further on how the link up with you all came about and was this collection of talent always in mind as the band came to reality?

For me ESCAPETHECULT is my musical family. If there’s no Tim Alexander there’s no ETC. It would be a completely different band.

I’ve composed all songs the way like I‘ve “seen” Tim behind the drums. I’ve imagined our jam together: where we stop and go where we put this accent, where’s the fill etc.

Mike is the artist I see in the band – his talent and technique is so unique. Matthieu is the star that I finally found after the years of painful research.

There was a proper picture what should be played, how and where but no restrictions to create something new. There was a full autonomy to Tim, Mike and Matthieu to turn it to another direction. I didn’t care about the whole album sound but I was insane to discover the vocalist with exact timbre, style and the voice charisma.

Now I think the stars (in the sky I mean) did the job right! I had to go through this long way to accomplish exactly what I wanted.

With the likes of Primus, A Perfect Circle, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Uneven Structure, and Kamlat the ‘vehicles’ by which we know you all, was there any expectations on the outside towards the ESCAPETHECULT and your debut album escapethecult coverAll You Want To that you came across?

I see ESCAPETHECULT has broken many expectations, I see it on FB when we’ve got a decent amount of “unlike” straight after the first worldwide spin of I’m Absolute. Even in some reviews I felt this big disappointment (why so big?).

I guess some listeners were hoping to hear an aggressive mixture of heavy death metal riffing with more dynamic and fast drumming with harsh recitatives ala “Tommy The Cat” and epic clean vox over mega-delayed ambience with touch of growls here and there…I bet.

Alongside with this kind of reaction we keep receiving mostly praise. We’ve got an immediate support of PROG UK / METAL HAMMER UK – all our official steps were translated through their channels – first promo video, single video, full album stream and the 3 pages feature interview by Dom Lawson in # 49 Prog Magazine printed with such serious analyse and amazing words from him.

We are sincere thankful for those who have devoted much more time (than usually do) to try to get ETC’s message twice (3, 4 times and more), who has postponed for a “next time” to come back and to listen again and again.

Now we are associated with different styles and genres from progressive metal to pop-rock. It’s such a wonderful feeling to learn what our music gives the listener, what thoughts arises and associations brings. Not simple comparison to Tool only 🙂

You have to listen to our instrumentals – it has so many layers, hidden parts to discover, some unexpected revelations. You’ll find bossa nova in the main bass part of Feel The Flight, tango with “slows and quicks” in Tired Of The Past, psychedelia in This Time Will Come, jazzy odd signatures in I’m Absolute.

There are such varied backgrounds and flavoursome styles behind you all, I am imagining writing and bringing songs to life is a fun but maybe also an intensive kind of moment with numerous ideas coming to the fore. How did the songwriting work in regard to the album and in its recording?

The entire album has been done in my home studio. It has taken no more than 2 weeks in total to compose, record, and arrange all ideas.

I’m lefty, maybe it explains a bit, why our music is so weird…Rhythm section is my passion, I have demoed all drum parts; luckily Tim has kept my drum ideas and enriched it. Tim’s drums are the same as they were delivered by him in the first recording. He has recorded it in his home studio on the same custom TAMA/Zildjian drum he uses with PRIMUS. Don’t need to say that his playing is top notch and tight like a clock so it stays untouched with the rest of the old (at the first demo stage) and the new arrangements.

Unfortunately through those years it was a misfortune to find the right rhythm guitarist and this fact has impelled to record riffs by myself and pass it to Mike then. Mike Wead has re-arranged and recorded riff guitars, leads/solos with a kind assistance of Simon Johansson (guitarist of WOLF, MEMORY GARDEN, ABSTRACT ALGEBRA etc.) at Solna Sound Recording Sweden.

Our rising star – Matthieu also recorded his vocals in own studio. The final production of All You Want To has been completed by Mike.

To sum up…the outcome of all members involved was very fast. The research of the artists has taken 4 years.

The band members are settled in various areas of the world. Did you all come together in one location for the album’s recording or was it done across studios and time etc.?

It was done across studios and time. The web has been a key aspect for the creation of ESCAPETHECULT. The web has made the world small enough for all of us to be able to work together.

There were thousands of mails, notes, guides, mega packages of audio files, sequences, even multi-seconds. It was a smooth and productive experience because everyone knew his role.

In few words it looked like:

– Hey, here’s the sequence 00:45 – 01:15 I put here an additional harmony and few overdubs to support the main part. What you think?

– I love it!

– Don’t you think we need to up the bass volume + 0,00005 dB…

– Hmm… it might work…

– No… roll back + 0,00005 is TOO much …make it + 0,00004 dB

– Yeah, man…I love it!

Kiddin’ of course although you can imagine how meticulous I am. Nevertheless every single note, accent, instrument and the whole performance is natural.

Give us some insight on how the album came together and the energy and determination it has taken to get it all together and out there without any label support.

Free will and sincere approach, Nothing more… If you don’t like the idea or music you won’t join…right?

We do it without any label support. Yes, I wanted it in the very beginning but few hints showed that the labels hadn’t interest in this kind of creative alliance despite the names. To be honest, the music we represent is not for the masses.

Thanks a lot to our partner – HOLD TIGHT PR! James you are doing a really hard job and I guess it was one of the hardest task to let people heard us and to find a balance between existing media tastes, expectations and disappointments and integrate ESCAPETHECULT into it. It’s quite hard nowadays to open the eyes.

Moreover I must admit it’s a very expensive project. Don’t do that if you haven’t the crazy truth in your forces and balls…J

Is there a particular theme or veining musically and lyrically across All You Want To?

Our hearts and souls in every single note!

What have been the main inspirations to the album’s heart and lyrical paintings?

The full title we quote as “ALL YOU WANT TO ESCAPE THE CULT”. We convey our own and simple philosophy on every day’s symbols, signs that have many meanings.

Mostly it’s about the time through many skins, origins, components that are around us: social life, politics and religions. About something that quite often fears us with a touch of sarcasm and self-irony. The primary message is quite simple: Be free. Your freedom is a gift to live and build your own day, life and “world”.

How about the visual side of the project, who drives that and how does it relate to your music.

It was a parallel period that has been took the years too. I’m extremely picky because I know what I want. I was needed a very detailed conceptual art.

The creator of our visual concept is Igor Omodei, a truly talented French artist and he is in UNEVEN STRUCTURE too.

I’ve gave him my ideas, “the story” behind each song and he has created all arts, illustrations to every song and full layout to our debut. Inside of the digipack release you can find a monologue written by Igor. He also did ESCAPETHECULT’s promo video and a debut single video for I’m Absolute.

I’d say more our visualization for this album is not finished yet. Our crew is much wider than you could think and the final list of artists is really big.

ESCAPETHECULT will bring some wonders till the end of this year!

Is there a live side to the band yet with you so far apart?

We are very close with Mike because we haven’t stopped to work and we are on the finish line with the second Kamlath album that should see the light in the end of this year. With Matthieu too – I’m glad he rises higher with Uneven Structure and I’m quite happy for his success.

We were very anxious about Tim’s heart’s surgery lately but now everything’s fine, he is a titan and right now he is back to rehearsals with Primus for the coming tour in November.

Everything’s just fine between us.

It is right to say that the aim is for ESCAPETHECULT to be a unique multi-sensory experience?

At least we’ve tried and now we have our own experience, personal and in the creation of All You Want To. If the listener thinks the same – we are happy! In any case we continue our creative investigations

We found All You Want To made a potent initial impact but flourished more the further down the line we went, its charm and elements a lingering lure drawing us back into its arms where to be fair we discovered more and more of its depths with every listen. As you brought the album to life did you feel or sense how it might work predominantly with listeners?

Strange… Weird?

Bizarre!

Avant-garde!!!

Hell, No..!

Hell…Yeah!

WTF?!

So boring…

Damn, it’s a gem!

(ah ..yes I’ve forgot all those who has disliked …you know what they usually say J)

We called it a progressive album to give a sense of its sounds to readers, but it embraces much more than that. How would you describe it?

This is the MUSIC and ART first. The second – it’s not a “piece of cake”, a “hard nut” indeed. It’s very intelligent concept for a forward thinking person. No clichés…A book within deep musical and art landscapes. You HAVE to take a time to understand it… Not just one take. All You Want To opens up more with every new spin. Mature, honest, diverse and unique.

What comes next for ESCAPETHECULT?

The second album of course… a new visualization in a more bizarre way.

We have faced some reviewers making a mistake in the title of the album put the word “Need” instead “Want”, so I think we have to call our next work “All You NEED To”…

(The RingMaster Review holds hands up in guilt)

People want to see us on the stage in 2015 we consider some opportunities to make this project live.

Till the end of this year there will be a limited edition release in a very special package of all instrumental versions of the songs plus some cool surprises.

Thanks again Peter for sharing your time to talk with us. Any last words you would like to share?

My pleasure to answer to your interesting questions!

All the best to our listeners, to RingMaster!

Listen to the MUSIC! We bring it to you!

Cordially,

ESCAPETHECULT

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

Read the All You Want To review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/escape-the-cult-all-you-need-to/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 31/10/2014

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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Escapethecult – All You Want To

ETC-band-2

All You Want To  is a persistent little temptation, an album which admittedly did not really blow thoughts and senses away initially but did engage them in a pleasing and intriguing proposition. Away from its aural embrace though hooks and melodies, rhythmic twists and grooves kept swerving around the imagination and memory, all leading back to and revealing themselves as being bred by the debut album from Escapethecult. The seven track encounter is still not an experience to leave you intensely awestruck but with its lingering and ingenious enterprise certainly enthrals as one of the year’s more exciting progressive metal propositions.

Escapethecult is one of those super groups you read about, a collection of established musicians taking time out from their more recognisable exploits to explore new hopefully impressive avenues, something the quartet does with ease from start to finish. The brainchild of Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin, Escape The Cult came to life in 2008 with its founder drawing on the qualities of vocalist Matthieu Romarin of Uneven Structure, guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, and Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander to help realise his vision of creating a progressive metal audio/visual experience. It has been a journey for the band to this point and for Shamlin who talked about the album saying “It was a dynamic and exciting start, with blood, sweat and tears shed throughout the process and a long exhausted preparation for the attack. Every day was worth to make it real. We were sincere in our ideas that are embodied in our debut.

The gentle but resourceful entrance of opener Backfired, with a bass twang courting spicy guitar enterprise, swiftly catches the imagination and though it is not a dramatic start to the album, an intrigued appetite for the song’s offering is

Created by Igor Omodei

Created by Igor Omodei

drawn. The distinctive tones of Romarin bring a familiar and passionate texture to the emerging narrative of the song, one never forceful or in a rush to challenge ears and thoughts but leaving inventive tendrils of melodies and strains of sonic incitement to infest the passions. It is a potent and riveting start to the album, basking in the renowned individual skills of its creators whilst forging a compelling and unique suasion of its own.

The following Clandestine opens with a muscular and aggressive threat which is soon tempered by an evocative heat of sonic colour and warm vocals. There is still an intensive weight to the rhythmic potency of Alexander though to keep senses on edge and balance out the almost Queens Of the Stone Age like sultriness coating the melodic exploration of the song. Grooves are seemingly slight in their bodies yet make for the most addictive and as mentioned earlier relentless temptations, the outstanding second track one of those which makes the most re-appearances in thoughts away from its source, whilst the flames of guitar endeavour from Wead transfixes as they scorch air and senses.

A definite pinnacle of the album, it is soon backed up by the gentle croon of I’m Absolute. With an immediately delicious web of hypnotic bass flirtation and the similarly mesmeric vocals of Romarin, the song sways and immerses ears in a smouldering and jazzy emprise of progressive fascination. The beats juggled by Alexander further captivate and ignite an already invigorating breath to a song, which as the album as a whole, does not explode in the passions but worms its way seductively into the psyche to forge an even more intensive bond.

Both the melodically tender Feel The Flight and the rapacious Tired Of The Past provide an absorbing canvas to lose one’s thoughts within, the first adding tense riffs and restrained yet incendiary grooves into its impassioned but mellow landscape. It is another where particular elements fire up ears and the passions rather than an overall combination but that united blend provides the embrace and rich foundation within which the sublime twists and essences can impress. Its successor is a feistier encounter in sound and intent which boils with imagination and unpredictability, preying on and tempting the listener with a provocatively charged invention which snarls and seduces with equal predation. An exceptional track binding ears in a thrilling adventure, it also sows seeds which blossom at a later date, though that is something truthfully which applies to all songs, as shown by the brilliant This Time Will Come. Hints of Alice In Chains and Tool, which have flirted with other songs too, make a rich enticement within the masterful blaze of intensive melodies and sonic acidity. There is also an underlying snarl and angst fuelled growl to the track which simply scintillates within the impressive and constantly evolving invention as it pushes itself to be the pinnacle of the release.

Where No Grown Up Grapes brings the album to a fine close with its web of heavy vocal and sonic passion. It is another where it simmers without lighting fires but then in a twist of a chord or rhythmic shuffle finds an enslaving idea or slither of imagination to set thoughts and passions ablaze. That sums up All You Want To as a whole, it at times simply pleasing with skilled ease and then striking with sheer genius and expectations slaughtering ingenuity. It all makes for an album which leaves a rich impression and presence with even deeper laid lures which prey on the listener later. How frequently Escapethecult will be exploring ears and imagination ahead we will see with its members ‘day jobs’ etc. but anticipation and hunger for more is already breeding healthily thanks to All You Want To.

The self-released All You Want To is scheduled to be unveiled in September 2014.

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

8.5/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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