Skeyes – Empty Mirrors

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Like with post-hardcore, for any emerging band to stand out in metalcore, even in its more progressive state, is a bit of a tall order. US band Skeyes is another coming up against that challenge but with debut EP Empty Mirrors, the band certainly makes a potent introduction and offers plenty of potential that they can rise up from the pack. The four track offering is a very likeable slice of metal voracity with a melodic invention which wakes up the imagination. Whether it has enough to push the band above the crowd time will tell but right now the release sparks the feeling that the Pennsylvanian band can ascend to that spotlight pushing height at some point.

Skeyes was formed in 2013 by Jesse Cease and Tyler Williams, and originally was intended as a studio project. Their first year saw many changes in line-up which led to the becoming a fully functioning band with vocalist Dale Brosious and guitarist Ryan Macaluso alongside guitarist/vocalist Cease. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Erra, Mureau, Northlane, and For the Fallen Dreams, Skeyes have now arrived at the point of unleashing their presence on a broader landscape. Featuring guest vocals from Garret Rapp of The Color Morale and Jesse Cash of Erra, and released on Imminence Records to whom the band signed last October, Empty Mirrors is a more than solid and pleasing base for the band spring forth from.

Ethereal sets the ball rolling and instantly is a flame of clean vocals amidst a web of sonic enterprise, a coaxing punctuated by thumping rhythms which shows restraint in their attack but not their weight. With Garret Rapp bringing his strong guest tones to the song, it is soon a turbulent storm of an encounter, the caustic roars of Brosious an increasingly enjoyable squall against the warmer colours and harmonies of the song. The guitars also grab attention swiftly, tendrils of sonic imagination aligning with ragged riffs equipped with a djent seeded agitation. It is a strong song which satisfies with ease especially through the ever growing voracity of the rhythms, but elevates its stature with an excellent twist of melodic calm coloured by excellent vocals of Rapp.IR030

The following Myriad also needs a breath before unleashing its maelstrom of imagination and sonic tenacity. In some ways it is a less imposing and intrusive track yet still stirs up an intimidation and creative agitation which keeps expectations at bay. Even so there are plenty of recognisable things about the song, as the EP, but it would be amiss to not say it comes over as fresh and with a hungry passion as it roughs up and seduces the listener’s ears and thoughts. Strangely another thing in its favour and success is the briefness of its presence, at under three minutes the track is a dazzling quick jab to the senses with certainly as the old adage says, ‘leaves them wanting more’, just as the similarly swift offering of the EP’s title track which steps up next.

With Jesse Cash involved, Empty Mirrors is virtually a bedlamic swirl of venomous raw growls and melodic suggestiveness within a cage of aggressive riffery and belligerent rhythms. Holding magnetic calm at moments and unbridled energetic hostility in others, the song seduces with dramatic keys and impressive clean blazes of vocal expression. Easily the best thing on the release, the inventive bellow is as fascinating as it is exhausting and with more songs like this, Skeyes will definitely rise to join the cream of melodic metalcore.

The closing Ars Amatoria revels in the mellower side of the band’s sound and songwriting, initially at least anyway. The voice of we assume Cease shows its strongest and most impressive moments on the EP as the song brews up a tempest of sound and angst round him. It does not take long for Brosious to unleash his thick venom too as guitars paint a reflective sonic picture in the rabid frame of rhythms and riffs. The song is also brief, though this time it feels like an unfinished proposition once it departs, as if there was more to say but instead just walks away.

Empty Mirrors as suggested is a strong way to open up their entrance into the ears of the world. It is not going to shake the tree but certainly will do enough to ensure Skeyes and what comes next is given stronger attention, and if the band can really build on songs like the EPs title track, with equally potent rewards in return.

The Empty Mirrors EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/empty-mirrors

https://www.facebook.com/skeyesband

RingMaster 26/02/2015

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Concepts – Transitions

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Quite simply Transitions is the post-hardcore equivalent of popping candy; place it in the ears and it can seduce with a melodic calm and elegance which whets the appetite and then erupt in a tempestuous carnage of aggressive flavours and raucous temptation. The debut EP of US band Concepts, the release is a fascinating and compelling encounter, swiftly offering the evidence as to why there is a feisty buzz around the band right now but bursting with a potential suggesting we are only at the beginning of big things from and for the Houston quintet. Certainly the release is not flawless but there is barely a whisper to any ‘issues’ to temper any real enthusiasm for EP and band.

Concepts was formed in 2011 by Aaron Isbell and Jory Nunn, and despite undergoing a fair few line-up changes soon built up a thick following and potent reputation for a live presence which has seen the band play with the likes of Emery, Of Mice & Men, and Memphis May Fire, and indeed their inventive sound. Overcoming various hardships and financial difficulties which all emerging bands suffer to varying extents, the current line-up of Blake Williams, Cruz Stuart, and Barrett Powers alongside Isbell and Nunn, are ready to stir up real attention and fervour with their imaginative sound, and the Kris Crummett (Sleeping With Sirens, Alesana, Issues) mastered Transitions, the spark hoping to open new spotlights.

We labelled Concepts as post-hardcore early on but to be honest and straight away shown by EP opener Posthumous, the band’s sound is bred from a rawer voracious metalcore seeding, though the song also just as rapidly reveals there is plenty of flavoursome styles and scope within songs. Its opening is a portentous ambience with apocalyptic shadows which are soon splintered by ragged riffery and sonic toxicity. The mix of guttural spite and soaring melodic vocals is striking, superbly pitched and stealing attention though so too is the spiny rhythmic animosity and scarring djent sparked enterprise unleashed. Though the track does not quite light a major fire it leaves on a quite bewitching conclusion which lifts a good song into being a great one.

The following Mirrors caresses ears with a gentle stroking of keys cupped in a harmonic vocal hug. Of course the raw and instinctively aggressive character of the song has to emerge, which it yoyoepcoveryodoes with a rugged and unpredictable savaging of the senses. The song carries on twisting between charmed melodic temptation and jaundiced belligerence, all driven by violent creativity. It is enthralling and pleases with ease if again not quite finding that final spark to ignite the passions.

Both tracks have a fluid and seamless maelstrom to them which continues across the whole release in varying ways, starting with the tantalising Vultures which from its first breath seems an easier going and more restrained slice of invention. It still holds an intimidating essence though which is given moments to uncage its rhythmic teeth and predatory hostility; scarring and ravenous expulsions which almost flirt with deathcore as well as a metalcore spawned barbarousness. Just as potent though is the harmonic croon and intimate melodies aligning the primal side of the song, they equally magnetic and unpredictable in imagination and tenacity.

The EP’s title track lays down its own unique landscape of virulent vicious rancor and melodic intrigue next; the former inciting ears and energies for the latter to swarm all over with harmonic passion. Keys and strings provide the additional lift to the song, their brief but opportune appearances a riveting texture to the ferocious snarl of the song.

The EP just gets better with every song and it is by its midway point that ardour is really aroused though the finest hour of Transitions comes with the closing Abomination. A grouchy vocal scowl sets things in motion with almost instantly heftily driven jagged riffs and pungently aggressive rhythms also lending their antagonistic hand to proceedings. It is a gripping and attention grabbing entrance by the encounter, which is soon expanding horizons and enterprise with great flames of clean vocals across a more melodically even tempered fury. It is a brewing storm though as both aspects of the track’s character entwine and flirt alternatively with its imposing narrative. From within dramatic keys and the increasingly impressive harmonies seduce too, giving slight respite from the increasingly carnivorous tempest around and beside them. It is a tremendous end to a thrilling release.

There are times where things, intricacies and nuances, get lost in the thick melee but never enough to defuse the invention and creative potency of songs and EP. Concepts is being talked of very highly right now, but expect bigger claims as Transitions lures in more and greater attention with its Betraying The Martyrs meets We Are the Ocean like, to give some idea, adventure.

The Transitions EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/transitions-ep/id956146009

https://www.facebook.com/Concepts.Band

RingMaster 18/02/2015

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RVNT – Vulnerable

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Already the opening weeks of this New Year has seen some impressive and potential soaked debuts across the metal kingdom and another comes in the tasty shape of Vulnerable from US metalcore protagonists RVNT. Bringing seven tracks in direct and forceful contact with ears and imagination, it is a potent and attention grabbing entrance from the band whose name is pronounced as ‘revenant’. It is an encounter which does wane a little in strength and resourcefulness the deeper into its body you go, from a thumping and exhilarating start employing more formulaic and expectations feeding endeavours as songs show their individual propositions, but even that cannot prevent the release from leaving a lingering and highly agreeable impact.

RVNT was born from the ashes of Virginian metal bands such as Under City Skyline, Still I Rise, and Before Him, and swiftly used their experiences and new musical appetite in creating a sound which was soon stirring up the local scene. Last year the band signed with We Are Triumphant and unleashed a broader nudge in their direction through the single Vain which came out in December. Now their debut album is poised to awaken a whole new spotlight whilst simultaneously showing a richer potential inside them and their ferocious fiery sound, a promise destined to trouble even greater recognition and success ahead it is easy to suspect.

     Proving Ground is a forty second introduction providing an intriguing if not particularly dramatic lead into the release. It does have a certain raw charm and portentous fascination though which ensures ears wait patiently for the following Vain where the rewards are plentiful. The second track initially looms over the senses with controlled but intimidating beats and equally dark hearted riffs, their welcome wrapped in an imposing shadowed ambience which just as eagerly embraces the squalling roar of vocals from Ricky Gillis. A thick tangy groove soon infests the guitar enterprise too as rhythms begin a devilish march on already beleaguered ears. By now the track is a contagious predator, guitarists Cole Sweeney and Ryan Potter creating an enthralling web of aggressive and seductive enterprise which the bass of Matt Madariaga prowls with threatening tones and the swinging swipes of Jose Rodriguez-Qulles bring further intensity to. The mix of varied vocals impact as resourcefully and successfully as the tempestuous sounds around them, guttural growls and slightly lighter caustic tones uniting with impressive cleaner tones enjoyably as they help ignite the slamming stomp of a triumph.

The following Disconnect is similarly compelling and oppressive from its first breath, but again infusing an infectious and anthemic tendency which skilfully ignites and colours the storm. The gallery_23_2_160864track continues to rage, batter, and wind ears and satisfaction around its hostile fingers as again the vocal blend captivates as refreshingly as the rhythmic rumbling and ferocious sonic enterprise coating their lure. A brawling romance, the song leaves ears and appetite a little greedier again before the torrential and bruising raging of Leech takes over. Its theatre of aggression, which brings the track into startling view, relaxes a touch as vocals add their narratives marking the point where the album continues to impress but begins losing some of its striking impact. The song like those before certainly allows no wandering from ears and attention but the unpredictability of its enjoyable presence is less dramatic and lacking real surprises compared to those before.

The same applies to both More Than Words and Circles, though the carnivorous entrance of the first enslaves with consummate ease before boiling up a storm of savage voracity and melodic colouring. As the previous encounter, the track is bursting with climatic and feverish passion amidst an emotional turmoil which translates to the sounds and is emulated by its successor in its own potent design. The first of the two startles and thrills at times, just as the opening pair on the album consistently did, but still lacks their unique spark, though in replacement the suggested potential takes over to excite instead. The second of the two provides another furnace of vocal creativity and fire which only adds to the pleasure found in its cyclonic provocation.

Vulnerable closes with Buried Alive, a tapestry of angst fuelled creative fury veined with melodic heavy metal seeded enterprise and as now expected vocal imagination, the three prong thrust of the attack as impressive as when first heard on the opening song. More melodic metalcore than simply the neat malevolence of the core genre driving the band’s sound, song and album provides an explosive and thrilling first confrontation with RVNT. There is no doubt there is plenty more to come from the band in songwriting and sound as they evolve, a quite exciting prospect thanks to the thoroughly enjoyable abusing of Vulnerable.

Vulnerable is available now via We Are Triumphant Records on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and more.

https://www.facebook.com/RvntBand

RingMaster 28/01/2015

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Cry Excess – Ambition Is The Shit

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In your ears, in your face, and for a great many destined to be in the passions, the debut album from Italian metallers Cry Excess is an introduction demanding to be taken notice of. Ambition Is The Shit unleashes ten tracks which furiously roar with adventure and imagination, and all coming with a tapestry of flavours drawn from everything from metalcore to groove metal and industrial to mathcore. Ground-breaking it is arguably not but seriously captivating and contagiously invigorating Ambition Is The Shit is a bellowing success.

Hailing from Turin, the quintet has been turning up the heat at home and building a formidable reputation and following for themselves. Now Cry Excess is ready to infest the world with their ferocious sounds through Ambition Is The Shit and it is hard to see them not continuing their striking ascent, especially as tracks like album opener Ripshit (Hands Up For The Italians) and more so the following The Public Enemy invade ears and attention. The first song rides in on a gentle electronic breeze, little rumbles of tempestuous electro teases littering its haunting slightly portentous air. As soon as a heavy footed swipe of drums and short stubby riffs descends, everything intensifies and crowds around the initial rap metal seeded vocal delivery. The track continues to present an agitated character and presence, seemingly and intriguingly trying to find its feet and full height before its successor takes over. It is an imaginative and fascinating start straight away surpassed as the second song strides in on sonic predation and rhythmic antagonism; both lorded over by caustic vocal squalls. Like The Browning meets Bury Tomorrow clad in the exploration of Destrage, a band which comes to mind most across the whole album, the song blazes with contagion and enthralling enterprise.

Hustler comes next and as the first two opens with calmer waters, its electro shimmer aligned to constricted vocals and a magnetic coaxing. Whispers of nu-metal add to the flavouring as a sample sets the impending scene of hostile passion and savage confrontation. Its brief but potent two minutes makes a thick appetiser for the title track which follows with nostrils flared and riff loaded guns blazing. Keys bring a warm embrace to the turbulence whilst vocals show a great diversity and imagination, they continually one of the big draws of the album. Predominantly though, the song is a voracious beast of sound and intent, harassing and bruising the senses with skilled inventiveness and blustery passion.CRY EXCESS FRONT COVER

Both the melody rich tempest of What Keeps Us Alive and the dance revelry of You Hate Because You Can’t Compete keep things stomping and impressing nicely. The first may have a canvas of sonic and melodic charm but still confronts like a raging predator and protagonist of ears and appetite, revelling in its raw and at times unpolished but persistently virulent creative fervour. Vocals again provide clean and seducing anthemic bait from within the chaotic and delicious bedlam around them whilst the song’s successor saunters in on an electro swagger and proceeds to flirt and rigorously dance with an electronicore tenacity and devilry. There is great diversity to the album even though the maelstrom of sounds often offers a similar surface storm, and this song epitomises the depth as potently and openly as any.

Through the corrosive rabidity of Rebel, Forever and the anthemic march of Unto Death, band and album leave ears and appetite greedy whilst Neither Forgive Nor Forget kicks the thrills up another gear with its heavily shadowed and intimidating senses crowding cloud of sonic and vocal voracity. The rich blend and extremes of guttural roars and melodic coaxing from the band continues to spark within ears, providing a beacon in the tsunami of noise and hostility, as also does the great nintendocore twist just before an even greater and exhaustingly welcome abusing of the senses.

The album closes on the fierce drama and tumultuous intensity of I Never Liked Clowns, a bestial incitement of stabbing riffs and crippling rhythms swinging from stretched vocal exploration and volcanic sonic eruptions. The track sums up the whole of Ambition Is The Shit in many ways, a conquest of ears and passions which is not spinning a web of new invention but creating an irresistible and hellacious devilment to submit to. Expect big things from Cry Excess ahead and even greater furies of highly pleasurable incitements like this.

Ambition Is The Shit is available via Luxor Records from January 27th @ http://www.luxor-records.com/#!store/cfvg

https://www.facebook.com/cryexcess

RingMaster 27/01/2015

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Omaha – Chapters EP

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Creating an emotive weave of melodic and alternative rock with at times a loudly whispering underbelly of post hardcore/metalcore courtesy of the initial sound the band emerged with in2012, UK band Omaha powerfully show they are one fascinating and potential fuelled proposition through debut EP Chapters. It is a vibrant and invigorating encounter which swiftly and with little difficulty grips ears and attention. It also reveals a persuasion which only grows and impresses with greater intrigue and potency over every venture of its provocative textures and intimate passion; so much so that even if Chapters does not quite light the fire in individual passions it will most likely still instil a want to check out the band and their next release without reservation.

As mentioned formed around two years ago, the Leicester quintet has been honing and evolving their sound over the past couple of years, and in tandem continuing to draw and impress fans as well as the music industry along the way. 2014 though was a year where the band’s presence and sound made a potent break through, Omaha signing with American label We Are Triumphant after impressing them on a UK tour and also linking up with Monument Music on a management deal. It is fair to say that things are moving for the British band, a potent step forward which Chapters only reinforces whilst suggesting is just the first step to stronger and broader spotlights.

Thumping beats open up the EP as first track Devilish Acts instantly stakes its claim on ears, an initial bait which with scythes of tangy guitar strikes, has little difficulty raising full attention. This potency only increases and blossoms to greater persuasion as the heavy dark shadows of bass from Arron Bailey and the following vocals of Jack Voss link up with richly enticing acidic guitar swipes and the just as insistent beats of Jake Clark. Relaxing around the full emergence of Voss’ swiftly impressive tones, the music becomes a gentle caress but only for a brief moment before erupting again with emotion and intensity to match the vocals. The track seamlessly slips through inventive scenery of ideation and sonic expression across its appealing canvas, the guitars of Ben Corbett and Freddie Goli showing as much drama as they do craft and adding to an emotive theatre coloured to vibrant effect by the rest of the band.

The impressive start is backed by the weighty presence of Stranger’s Embrace. Throwing a reserved but potently anthemic chorus at the listener amidst an almost prowling landscape of gallery_7_2_42683melodic reflection and emotional angst soon after its start, the song straight away opens another character to the sound and songwriting of the band. Linking pungent and imposing intensity with melodic caresses, it does not quite live up to its predecessor but with a great rhythmic enterprise and open adventure across the whole band, the song only leaves a hunger for more of the same, which Homebound shows little reserve in offering. Making a slower but no less dramatic entrance to the first pair of songs, Voss stretches his impressing qualities yet again whilst the track again without finding that final spark, easily leaves appetite full and thoughts keen to explore more.

It is an urge rewarded in fine style by the outstanding G N D, a song bursting in on a rhythmic swing and soon dancing with a charming melody crooned over by Voss. A slight clarity dousing effect grasps his tones for a great piece of thought in the production, the smothering touch over his energy producing an almost angst ridden urgency from the singer which simultaneously conflicts against and compliments the sparkle of the guitar. The veil is washed away once the song expels its energetic breath, a vivacious landscape of harmonies and melodic expression bonding with Voss and the shadow kissed rhythms thereafter. It is a gem of a track taking top dog honours in the EP but challenged from then on by firstly the impassioned vocal and sonic roar of There’s No Room For Doubt. At times Omaha brings for no more reason than their ability to craft emotional anthems which are as contagious as they are dramatic, thoughts of former UK band Always The Quiet Ones; this song especially spicy in that suggestiveness and quiet captivating.

Chapters closes with the excellent embrace of The Final Scene which features guest vocals from Rebecca Need Menear. The song is a gentle emotion soaked temptation which carries an intimate drama and a tapestry of creative invention in the riveting rhythms of Bailey and Clark and the tantalising web of sonic colour crafted by Corbett and Goli, and the stirring tones of Voss and Need Menear do it no harm either.

Chapters is an exciting and potential walled next step for Omaha, with only the fact that not as many songs make a lingering persuasion away from their company than maybe expected. It is a minor comment though in a thoroughly engaging and engrossing proposition from a band badgering a new stature and bigger success.

The Chapters EP is available via We Are Triumphant from January 20th @ http://omahaofficial.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OmahaOfficial

RingMaster 19/01/2015

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Void of Kings – Stand Against The Storm

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Released in 2011, the If Ever Hades Spoke EP made for an imposing and attention grabbing debut from US metallers Void of Kings. Raw and slightly flawed in small areas it still impressively insisted that its creators were kept under close watch and that the potential of greater things ahead was inevitable. A couple of singles the following year confirmed that suggestion and more but only hinted at the might and furiously thrilling encounter which has emerged as their first album. Stand Against The Storm is a beast of a confrontation, a proposition bursting with exhaustive fury and enthralling invention around a spine of uncompromising metalcore voracity. It shows a growth in sound and songwriting which not only irons out any earlier ‘issues’ but reveals there is still plenty more to be discovered and tapped within the band in the future.

Since forming in 2011 and alongside their previous releases, the Baltimore quintet has similarly drawn acclaim with their live presence, playing alongside the likes of Periphery, Impending Doom, and Becoming the Archetype as well as making highly praised appearances on the 2011 Thrash and Burn tour with bands such as Winds of Plague and playing the main stage at Scream the Prayer Tour a year later. Now Void of Kings unleashes their most potent and broadest temptation yet with Stand Against The Storm. Recorded with Will Beasley (Emarosa, Handguns) at Salad Days Studio (Darkest Hour, Senses Fail, Sky Eats Airplane, Converge, Thrice), the album is a statement of intent and alarm call to the world of the inescapable venom swinging, imagination driven storm that is Void of Kings.

The first breath of opener Crossing the Acheron is a thick expulsion of pungent riffs and imposing rhythms bound in a sonic spicing which has ears and appetite immediately and seriously interested. This bait only increases as the rich scowls of vocalist Brian Behm roar and rage whilst the abrasing and enticing craft of guitarists Grant Rizzi and Dan Maloney add their weight to the persuasion. One of the comments we had about the band’s previous EP was the strong and enjoyable but unadventurous vocal presentation which is swiftly left in the past as Behm explores a varied and thrilling diversity across song and album. His antagonistic incitement is a constantly enthralling twisting of tenacity and imposing narrative whilst the clean vocals of Richards equally light up the thrillingly unpredictable brute of a song.

The stunning start is continued with Wounds, another going for the jugular from its first second with tendrils of sonic tenacity courting the dramatic punches of drummer Jake Livingston and 1911882_983788448302453_5892065009981890503_nthe bass predation of Nick Richard. More vicious and intensive than its predecessor, the song stomps across and stalks the senses with a ravenous rabidity and riveting invention, raising another spring of hunger in the appetite which both Scars and Pathways feed with ease. The first of the pair has an almost serpentine edge to its vocals and melodic toxicity but equally a thunderous and at times lumbering intensity which adds to a beauty and the beast contrasting presence. Again the spread of vocal enterprise is exciting whilst the rhythmic and melodic invention has the passions licking their lips in satisfaction and the anticipation of more, straight away provided by the song’s rapacious successor. There is a hunger and instinctive savagery to Pathways which engrosses as potently as the technical and sonic prowess skirting the anthemic roar of the encounter thrills.

Though neither The Darkest Place and the slightly over long H.O.P.E. quite live up to the peaks before them, each provides creative adventures which add easy to devour intrigue and flavour to the album, especially the latter of the two with its delicious gentle opening weave of evocative melodies and mellow emotive vocals. Lined against a brooding bassline from Richard, it is a richly tantalising entrance which fascinates as it evolves into a torrent of thrash spiced riffery within fierce sonic flaming. The song is a perpetual lure but just lacks the final spark to be the pinnacle it could have been, though to be fair it only impresses more and unveils greater depths with every listen, much as the album.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress looms over the listener next within the artillery of testing rhythms and caustic riffery ridden by the eventful vocal scourging of Behm. A hardcore spicing adds extra character to the drama and lure of the transfixing incitement before it makes way for the mightily bracing and anthemically challenging Conviction, which in turn departs for the outstanding Foreverwar to unveil its triumph. The band’s current single, it is a web of bass tenacity, vivaciously swung beats, and vocal raging within which guitars and clean tones flirt with mouth-watering designs.

Stand Against the Storm is completed by firstly the dark and heavy suasion of Surrender (Bleach the Flag) and lastly the toxic furnace of Serotinous Seed, both tracks exacting and compelling offerings reasserting the strength of the album and the new creative stature of Void of Kings. It may have come in the final weeks of the year but Stand Against the Storm has staked its claim as certainly one of our favourite metal offerings this year and right there on the front line of the best unleashed. More importantly it declares Void of Kings as ready to steal the passions of the world, a theft it is hard to see the band not pulling off.

Stand Against The Storm is available now on CD from http://voidofkings.bigcartel.com/ and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/stand-against-the-storm/id947137489

http://www.VoidofKings.com

RingMaster 23/12/2014

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