Possessor – Electric Hell

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Hailing from London with a penchant for occult metal and with already the Wings of Fire EP under their belt this year, UK metallers Possessor have unleashed a rather tasty and impressive debut album in the stormy form of Electric Hell. There is not much more we can tell you about the band except that if you like a cocktail of sludge and stoner metal with thrash and varied metal rapacity, then this is an ear rioting album to whip up the juices. Consisting of nine tracks which simply flirt with the imagination whilst rigorously fondling the passions, Electric Hell is a treat for all fans of bands such as Black Sabbath, Slayer, and Fu Manchu through to Black Tusk, Gruntruck, and Kyuss with plenty more on offer. There is one band though which came to mind again and again as the release set to work on ears, and that is early Therapy?, the album vocally and in its predatory sounds holding a highly agreeable and uncanny essence of the Irish trio about them.

Unique in its own presence too, the album is a gloriously raw and irresistibly cantankerous encounter which makes an immediate and appetite igniting impression through the first rugged swipes of opener Chasms of Malice alone. From the first breath, sinew clad strikes of guitar courted by the bestial throaty charm of bass crowd ears to spark swift attention, the imagination following suit as an acidic groove and caustic riffing emerges to consume the senses. There is a punk vitality to the track too, especially once the effect surfaced vocals join the now rampaging stride of guitars and the punchy rhythms. It is a glorious enticement with the snarling bass stealing the limelight, but only just from the toxic groove and insatiable swagger of the song.

Its striking start is swiftly followed and matched by Invisible Face, again riffs setting down predatory bait which is coloured by stoner-esque hues and infectious grooves. With a haunted tone to the vocals and grumbling voracity to both bass and drums, the track bulges with rabid riffs and spiky hooks to inflame an already greed bitten appetite. It is a hunger soon fed a tasty morsel by Limb from Limb and spoilt by the outstanding Castle of Bastards. The first of the two is a more slowly intensive proposition, its acidic binding of sonic enterprise as restrained and flavoursome as the gentler expression of the vocals. It is deceptive though as at its core, the song is primed and driven by an incessant nagging of riffs and the ever incendiary bass sound. It is an underbelly which is fuelled with rabidity, a lure as potently predacious as the sounds around it are magnetically reserved. It is a fine encounter but soon left looking up at the might of its successor. Like most tracks on the album it is driven by thrash bred tenacity and muscular urgency which makes for a familiar and easily digestible spine, upon which the rest of the song expands and brings its creative devilry. Castle of Bastards is no exception but to this insatiable bait it unleashes a bestial breath and inventive sonic unpredictability which simply bewitches. The track is where that reference to Therapy? is first bred, though earlier tracks hint at it at times too. Far too short at less than two minutes long, the song is pure hostile drama and quite magnificent.

The sultry stoner grooving of Strange Summoning over a garage punk and heavy metal blended canvas makes its own sturdy claim for top track honours. Again brief in presence but rich on irrepressible adventure with riffs and grooves the prime addiction, it soon makes way for the Sabbath-esque Heavy Dreams. It is a song intensive in weight and primal structuring yet veined with a sonic intrigue and melodic causticity which would not be out of place in a Torche or Melvins treat. It is followed by the virulent contagion of the instrumental Skeletal Form, a corrosive dance of scathing riffs and inhospitable rhythms with an impossibly addictive groove, one again related to anything the previously mention Irish band uncaged on the Shortsharpshock EP or the Troublegum album. Equipped with sludge oppressiveness and acute stoner seeded sonic enticements, the piece is a deliciously enslaving encounter which reinforces the depth and devilish character of the band’s exhilarating sound.

The album is concluded by firstly the sonic grazing of Face the Possessor, a track which fails to find the same eagerness of reactions as its predecessors but still with intimidating jagged riffery and entrancing guitar endeavour leaves ears richly satisfied and the imagination enticed. The final song of the album is its title track, a hypnotic and unrelenting persuasion of doom spawned pressure and bordering on insidious temptation. It is a demonic slice of instrumental alchemy which shows that if ever their frontman lost his voice the band would not disappoint on stage thanks to their absorbing and spellbinding, not forgetting ingenious sonic adventure.

As Electric Hell seduces time and time again, it is hard to imagine that Possessor will go unnoticed for long by fans, media, or even label interest. Now is the time to submit to their diablerie we say, this raw and unpolished gem of an album a thrilling ticket to the start of their inevitable ascending ride.

Electric Hell is available now @ http://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/electric-hell

https://www.facebook.com/possessorband

9/10

RingMaster 10/08/2014

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Sofy Major – Idolize

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Band and album certainly faced and went through turmoil on its way to being unleashed on the world, but Idolize the second album from French metallers Sofy Major, has defiantly emerged as one of the most frighteningly impressive albums of the year so far. The release is a beast of a record, an album which can only be declared as carnivorous, in sound and intent.

It was the fall of last year that the band took their scintillating fusion of caustic metal, exhausting sludge, and invasion noise, over to Brooklyn and the Translator Audio studio to record the follow-up to their acclaimed debut Permission To Engage alongside producer Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Keelhaul, Converge, etc…). Then hurricane Sandy unleashed her hunger upon New York City, destroying the studio facilities, ruining all the recording equipment as well as that of the band. After a few days with the help and support of the Brooklyn indie music scene and that of Dave Curran from Unsane and Pigs, Sofy Major and Schneider finally undertook the recording of the album. Whether the situation added something extra to the recording which might have been absent if all had run smoothly is hard to tell but certainly Idolize has a snarl and raw energy to it which makes as strong a call to the senses and passions as the impossibly contagious and imaginative sounds set loose upon the ear.

After the recording the trio undertook their first US tour, that and the album the climax of the intensive work and energy expelled by the band since forming in 2007. To date Sofy Major has played alongside the likes of Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine, Baroness, Electric Wizard, Boris, Shrinebuilder, These Arms Are Snakes, Kylesa and many more, continually earning eager acclaim but it is hard to imagine any will be as feverishly offered as that you suspect will come flying as Idolize hits the world.

The album opens with its full arsenal of aural weaponry primed and delivered through the sensational Aucune Importance. The coverhightrack grips the ear within seconds, carving flaming designs through the air with its psychotic rhythmic invention and rapaciously sculpted riffing. Every second and ounce of breath within the track dances with the devil’s alchemy upon thoughts and passions, its irresistible hooks and lures intrusive and addictive, not to mention at times bewildering, whilst the toxic melodic enterprise licks at the senses with delicious salaciousness. It is a staggering start which for most releases would also mark a following dip but not so Idolize.

Both Comment and Steven The Slow which features Dave Curan, bring their distinctive acidic glaze to bear greedily upon  the listener, the first with a oppressively heavy touch from riffs and bass which wonderfully lay on the ear with a full sludge thickness, its manipulative tendencies working away seducing  the imagination within the labouring intensity. Its successor finds an even greater weight to its intensive energy and devouring, the slowly enveloping and exhausting recruitment deceptively virulent and tantalisingly suffocating. Both tracks do not short change on grooves either despite their extremes of gait to further the uniquely addictive hold constructed upon thoughts and heart whilst vocals eagerly scowl over and score the restrained and willing ‘victim’.

Through the cantankerous Bbbbreak with its corrosive growl and the two part UMPKK, band and album continue to enthral and surprise. Part 1 of UMPKK is a haunting dive through a cavernous atmosphere, its depths unveiling more and more intimidating shadows before leaving the listener alone in alien isolation before the second part stares directly in the eyes and conjures up a hypnotic shuffle of provocative rhythms and melodic teasing before igniting the touch paper for a furnace of sonic fascination and almost tribal intensity. It is a riveting track with riffs and bass devious in their temptation and control of head and its inner workings.

As the album relentlessly impresses and captivates with each of its aural predators it is impossible, how intensely you look, to find flaws or a second of wasted sound, the likes of the mercilessly erosive Slow and Painful, the schizophrenic tempest Coffee Hammam, and the discord loving Seb, driving their hooks and the claws of the release deeper in to the passions. Two more major pinnacles of the album come as it makes its way towards its ardour fuelling conclusion. Firstly there is Platini, a song which mixes stoner swagger to a ravaging metallic gnaw, the latter especially potent from the ever staggering bass. The track is exceptional, a confrontation which niggles and taunts whilst being persistently thrilling and playing like a hybrid mix of Kylesa, Therapy?, Retox, and even occasionally Pere Ubu. Then following the insatiable excellence of Frost Forward, the album ends with a cover of the Portobello Bones track Power of Their Voice. The track is a punishing fury of antagonistic punk and hardcore seeded energy blended into a biting sonic wind which exposes senses and nerves to an uncompromising embrace.

Released via Solar Flare Records in Europe and No List Records in North America, Idolize is a tour-de-force to be seriously reckoned with and Sofy Major destined to become one of the giants of rock/metal invention.

http://www.sofymajor.com

http://www.facebook.com/sofymajor

10/10

RingMaster 01/06/2013

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