Down To The Bunker – Misery

A growling, snarling beast of a release, Misery is the debut album from Swiss quintet Down To The Bunker and an encounter which marks them out as one richly promising, indeed already impressive proposition. Offering up nine tracks of alt metal predation merged with heavy rock contagion and hardcore dissonance it all delivered with potent technical prowess and an uncaged heart, the release is one wake-up call to and declaration of intent from one rather exciting outfit.

Formed in 2012, the Genève hailing band has worked through years of line-up instability as it searched for the right personnel. It is a time though the band equally used to explore and hone a sound which is as unpredictable as it is varied and adventurous. A self-titled EP in 2015 drew keen attention though its support live was a struggle with again a changing line-up trespassing the next steps for Down To The Bunker. Now though things seem to have settled and with the band’s strongest line-up to date, the stability relishing result being the striking Misery.

Embracing a sound which sees the likes of Tool, Korn, Rage Against The Machine, Meshuggah, Gojira, Promethee, and Code Orange amongst its inspirations, Misery is an album which arouses as it challenges. Almost every moment has attention glued to its lures, the thrill of the unexpected rearing its head throughout an encounter which twists the familiar into its own pattern of fresh imagination and invention. Certainly there are moments where it ebbs and flows in the intensity of its temptation but there are few if any moments where it allows the listener to impulsively drift off elsewhere.

From the opening bait of first track Mother, the album was burrowing under the skin; sonic lures straining against the speakers urgently wanting out. The guitars of Matt and Jerem continue to bait the senses as heavier and darker strands join them, the bass of Arnaud a predatory taunt alongside the considered but imposing swings of drummer Léo. Completed by the fine tones of vocalist Jo, the track swiftly grows into a formidable and compelling incitement, imagination and unpredictability increasingly fuelling its enterprise and inescapable persuasion.

The increasingly magnetic and impressive start is easily continued by the album’s title track. It too springs from a seductive sonic lure if one which lances the senses rather than caresses them. The emerging web of guitars ensnared ears with swiftly nagging and devious intent; a strength of coercion matched in voice and rhythm. There is a touch of Mudvayne to the track at times which does it no harm or indeed the atmospheric winds which bring haunting melodies amid seemingly calm but dark aural intimation.

With the twisted canvas of The Asylum a refreshing bedlam of sound and individual craft shaped into another tantalising captivation come threat and the, at times, even more creatively unhinged and similarly fascinating Chrysalis, there is no let up on attention and enjoyment. Each track lured and trapped both with a creative greed which alone marks Down To The Bunker out, a dexterity in thought, songwriting and adventure which equally infests next up Ethics. As with all songs, it is a writhing collusion of sonic vines and metallic dissonance matched in vocal and lyrical dispute, and like each a blend of the barbarous and seductive as a cast of styles and flavours join up to ignite the band’s imagination and sound. There are moments of deceptive and corrupted calm which maybe disrupt the flow and impact of the track but it is that unexpected ideation which also makes it as potent as anything within Misery.

Through the intimately reflective and melodically evocative Waves, a quest with its own underlying snarl, and the sonically invasive and haunting Lost In The Desert, there was no let up on bold enterprise and striking intimation. The latter is like a senses suffocating limbo which slowly but surely reveals it’s waiting demons and distortions resulting in an experience which gloriously tests and provokes.

a final pair of bonus tracks in Machine and Alive brings the album to a dramatic and imposing close. The first and another major highlight of the release openly wears familiarity in its holler yet it would be hard to say it is anything other than a Down To The Bunker creative clamour while its successor prowls, pretty much crawls through ears with a great mix of heavy grunge and rapacious metal bound in melodic volatility.

It is a great end to an album which just pleasures and grows more impressive over time. In their seventh year Down To The Bunker will be making their first introduction to a great many with Misery but it is easy to believe they will be no strangers to them and major spotlights hereon in.

Misery is released February 22nd via Tenacity Music; available @ https://tenacity-music.bandcamp.com/album/misery

https://www.facebook.com/DownToTheBunker

Pete RingMaster 20/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Dead – Deathsteps to Oblivion

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Unleashing their third album, Australian death metallers The Dead confront the senses with an energy sapping, senses consuming slavering beast and that is just the first track upon Deathsteps to Oblivion. The title perfectly sums up the corrosive and emotionally damaging journey the band drags the listener upon. It is an intensive examination of thoughts and emotions traversing a quintet of excruciatingly heavy and intensive soundscapes soaked in a pestilential fusion of death and sludge metal filtered through the darkest doom laded climate imaginable. It is a sound which belongs to all three styles yet is uneasy settling in any, creating its own domain of raw originality which is familiar but more so innovative. It is a harsh and demanding proposition but also one unafraid to melodically and sonically explore its imagination and providing potent evidence as to why the band is so revered in many quarters.

Formed in 2005 with a line-up which included members of Obfuscate Mass and Misery, the Brisbane band swiftly released a demo followed by the Armoured Assassin single in 2006. Following a second demo the band’s self-titled debut album was unveiled the following year, an encounter making an instant and imposing impression on the underground scene. With the Nocturnal Funeral EP subsequently under their belt, as well as increasing their live reputation with shows over the years alongside bands such as Behemoth, Obituary, Kataklysm, Psycroptic, and Ulcerate, The Dead gripped greater attention with second full-length Ritual Executions. Widely acclaimed through its independent release and a reboot through Diabolical Conquest Webzine which evolved into Transcending Obscurity and release the new ravenous exploit from the band, the album lured the broadest attention and spotlights, yet as Deathsteps to Oblivion infests the psyche you sense it was nothing compared to the response the new encounter has the potential to trigger. The line-up of vocalist Mike Yee, guitarist/bassist Adam Keleher, and drummer Chris Morse consume and immerse the listener with an aural suffocation which is as inhospitable as it is inescapably captivating, an incitement stirring up shadows and intimidations which seduce as they savage the senses.

Opener Maze of Fire immediately confronts and surrounds ears with a web of threatening sinister voices, their demonic roars the lure into a wall of debilitating heavy handed riffs and equally destructive rhythms. Within that trap though there is a melodic coaxing from the guitar which sparks the imagination as still varied and intimidating vocals prowl over thoughts with their intrusive narrative and tones. It is a fascinating entanglement to be lost in, especially with the slip into haunting melodic scenery which is as visually potent as the visceral sounds and vocals which soon share its passage in time threatening. It is a track which inspires different feelings and explorations in the imagination with every listen, something apply to all songs on the album, but a perpetually gripping and challenging persuasion.

The following Disturbing the Dead is just as carnivorous in presence and tone, arguably even more predatory as it crawls with torment laden intent over the senses. Its first half is an unrelenting scourge of doom empowered angst and intensity, a thoroughly appetising violation but from there it without losing funereal despair and malevolence, a sonic and creative enterprise is agitated to lure like a beacon in the thick sludgy tar of the song’s insatiable heart. It is an intriguing and suggestive offering which as its last note lingers in the ear, seems like another world to the one dawning on a rally of gunfire and with destructive and blackened voracity, emerges as The God Beyond. It is the rawest assault imaginable, a caustic sonic haze frequented by hate and fury, but temporary as the battle field returns to provoke a richer and clearer, but no less torturous tempest of sound and exploration. A constant test and provocation, the track is a maelstrom which is uneasy on the ear but wholly seductive upon thoughts and emotions. It is a song which it is hard to get a full handle on in sound and narrative but one inspiring a hunger to find the answers within its cavernous despair.

Terminus swerves in on a rhythmic seduction next, tribal and suggestive beats from Morse transfixing with exotic persuasion whilst bass and guitar flirt with their own sonic teasing. This is again just the doorway into the harshest shadows and challenging depths of the band’s creative rabidity, a serpentine breath accompanying the emerging vocal scarring and ruinous air of the track. Of course it is only part of the picture, melodic intrigue and clean vocal tenacity adding their twists to the sonic mystique and imagination which evolves within the black fog of sound. The track sends shivers down the spine as it seduces and gnaws on the psyche, taking best track award though the closing title track seriously challenges there. It too is a smothering tapestry of threat and invitational suggestion, extremes colluding and toying with each other within a cavern of uncompromising and ravenous aural profanation.

The five years between albums has only seen The Dead find new fears to exploit and nuances to discover in listener and their music respectively. Deathsteps to Oblivion is not for the faint hearted or emotionally sensitive, but to challenge and reward the corners of mind and soul it is maybe the most essential must investigate release of the year.

Deathsteps to Oblivion is available digitally or on limited edition CD now via Transcending Obscurity @ Transcending Obscurity https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/deathsteps-to-oblivion-death-metal-sludge

https://www.facebook.com/lordofthelivingdead

RingMaster 19/11/2014

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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October File – The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair – An Introspective of the Human Condition

Ester Segarra

We have had a soft spot for UK protagonists October File ever since the unleashing of their How to Lose Friends and Alienate People EP and the soon following debut album A Long Walk on a Short Pier in 2004. It is a seemingly instinctive connection which has only increased over time and reached another pinnacle with the release of their new full-length The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair – An Introspective of the Human Condition. A mouthful in name and an inspiring incitement in body, the Candlelight Records released album takes the imagination and passions on a tempestuous adventure throwing voracious riffs, rabid rhythms, and bordering on insidious grooves into evocative explorations of emotions and experiences. A concept album based on the aspects of its title in regard to the human state and its response to certain incitements, the nine track investigation is quite simply a riveting confrontation of highly flavoursome and esurient metal.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Matt Lerwill and bassist Steve Beatty and finding specific inspiration in band such as Killing Joke, Amebix, Godflesh, and Gang Of Four as well as others within rock, punk, industrial, and underground metal, October File has created a presence which is distinctly uncompromising and unafraid to push its boundaries as shown by the new release. Completed by vocalist Ben Hollyer and drummer John Watt, the London based quartet soon left a deep mark through their opening album and even more so with the following Hallowed By Thy Army EP of 2006 and acclaimed second album Holy Armour from the Jaws of God a year later, the second of the two featuring Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman. Arguably even more rigorously potent live as on record, the band has savaged numerous festivals and a wealth of venues as well as touring with the likes of Killing Joke, Prong, Ministry, and Fear Factory over time. Third album Our Souls To You was unveiled to similarly potent responses and reviews on 2010 but with The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair…. the band has sculpted and uncaged their most dramatically antagonistic and provocative exploration yet. Recorded with producer Jamie Gomez (Cathedral, Ulver, Altar of Plagues, Electric Wizard), it is a challenge armed with the all the intensive qualities and enthralling brilliance to feverishly ignite ears, thoughts, and emotions.

First track I Fuck The Day opens within a restrained but troubled melee of voice and brewing aggravation driven by a harsh guitar tone. It OctFile_Digi_Front_2014_old_logois a sonic portent which taunts as it encloses ears, building its oppressive coaxing until ready to unlock the tumultuous intensity and corrosive fury pent up inside. This it does with a tirade of rhythmic enslavement, vitriolic riffery, and a savage bass presence. This ferocity is soon led by the ever drama fuelled scowls of Hollyer, his delivery passionate and threatening. Just when you think you have a grip on the storm though it dips into a melodic detour, an elegant and emotive shift within a raw atmosphere. It is an intriguing movement before the track returns to its destructive sonic intent.

It is a tremendous start but soon left in the shadow of both Heroes Are Welcome and Reinvention. The first of the two thrusts its hungry sinews and rapacious energies at the senses from the first second, inviting grooves spiralling from within the impacting ferocity. The weight of the rhythms and riffs is as forceful and compelling as the intensity of the song’s heart, its presence like a mix of Mastodon and Prong in body and October File in sound. The synapse firing groove of the track is also delicious bait which simply accentuates the lure and veracity of the track, though it turns out once its successor steps forward to be just the appetiser for even more addiction crafting chastisement. The best track on the album, Reinvention lets the guitars score and abrase the senses first, softening up their victim before twisting out a groove which makes Ebola seem lightweight in virulence. The track soon has body, imagination, and soul crusading down its venomous landscape with greedy submission, its repetitive toxicity reminding of early Therapy? whilst the rhythmic manipulation of the senses and vocal poise of Hollyer leaning the way of equally early Killing Joke. It is a blistering escort for thoughts and emotions not forgetting passions into the inventive and evocative narrative of the release.

Following song, The Water takes longer to release all of its persuasion than the previous songs but ensures the journey is a riveting and thought stretching pleasure. Lasting over eleven minutes, the track slowly stretches and ambles from within a thick cascade of watery evocation before flexing its lumbering muscles and strolling causticity into a doom seeded march. Again that Coleman and co reference rears its unmissable head but only a flavour which accentuates the power and imposing majesty of the release. Chugging with incessant rhythmic hunger and breath stealing creative rabidity, the song consumes and seduces with the appetite of a deliberately stalking tsunami clad in epic dark intent within ruinous immersive depths.

The acoustic persuasion of Upon Reflection brings a break in the musical onslaught if not the emotive weight of the album, guitar and voice a potent spark before the exhausting Elation soars in with major intensity and a sonic endeavour winding tightly around the already rapturous appetite for the album. The order of these two songs may be reversed as the Bandcamp stream for the release had then the other way to the promo sent through to us.

As The Clouds Meet The Horizon pleasingly swamps air and senses next bringing a tidal wave of caustic almost pestilential seduction within a fierce rhythmic frame, grooves and hooks biting hard and digging deep for exhilarating expression and enticement. As with all the tracks there are twists and turns to the persistent repetition cored drive of the song which spellbinds and skilled guitar play which simply bewitches.

The album is closed by the equally thrilling All Rise All Fail, a track which sonically swaggers like a professional assassin and rages like a wounded bear, and finally the exceptional To Be Watched Upon. If the previous track was an angered animal, the last song is a bestial force of sound. Rhythms and riffs prowl, pound, and gnaw with incisive jaws whilst the bass discovers it’s most carnivorous voice yet. Danger and intimidation drips from every note as shadows and savage climates lurk ready to pounce and tear body and heart asunder. Leaning towards ten minutes of primal provocation, the sensational song is a charnel house of sonic acrimony drenched in venomous enterprise.

Released on 26th May, The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair… is easily the finest and most dramatically imposing October File storm yet, a predator of sound and passion which leaves the majority of other bands and releases floundering in its turbulent wake.

http://octoberfile.bandcamp.com/

http://www.octoberfile.co.uk/

10/10

RingMaster 25/03/2014

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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