Grenouer – Unwanted Today

GrenouerBand1

Russian metallers Grenouer are one of those bands which has been seemingly around for decades, two in fact, and increasingly been looking like they were about to break from relative obscurity into intensive spotlights within world metal through their recent releases. Certainly the Saint Petersburg quartet has been drawing stronger and broader attention over the past few years but still they have yet to make that big step; maybe though that moment has come with the release of new album Unwanted Today. A release bulging with melodic expression, grooved tenacity, and sharp hooks, it also carries a hungry snarl bred in the early days of the band, a combination which goes to make one rather impressive offering from a band surely poised to leap into the wider consciousness of the metal world.

Formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrey Ind and guitarist Alexander Motor, Grenouer has released seven albums to date with the last, Blood on the Face, a thrilling and gripping enticement confirming the creative invention and musical weight of the band for those in the know whilst luring a great flood of new appetites. Again released via Mausoleum Records, Unwanted Today takes its potency into new explorations of imagination and sound. It is not a big departure from or massive leap forward in their already established sound yet there is something fresh and unique at the new album’s heart which gives the release a new voice. Emerging twenty plus years ago, the band was a raw and uncompromising extreme metal proposition, but over time and records, a melodic and alternative metal exploration has evolved and now shows its finest blooms within Unwanted Today.

With its line-up completed by bassist Al Bolo and drummer Danny D, Grenouer works on the imagination right away with brief opener Awake, a cinematic and provocatively atmospheric piece with industrial clangs and suggestiveness courted by floating harmonic vocals. It is an imposingly picturesque lead into the album’s title track, a proposal instantly pouncing on ears with punchy rhythms and growling riffs. This in turn slips into an inviting embrace of gentle melodies within a warm ambience, though even this is courted by the early predacious shadows and sounds which take their turn leading the tempting ears. It is an excellent start to the album, the vocals of Ind as alluring and potent as ever whilst musically the song radiates attitude and seduction.

Things only grow in strength and contagion with the following pair of A Little Too Obsessed and Something Really Bad. The first of the two immediately has attention and appetite GrenouerUnwantedTodayenslaved, bounding in with a heavy stride and an addiction forging groove. It is a hook lingering even in the mellower twists of the song, just waiting to unleash its swagger and tenacious tempting, and always with increasing effect. Embracing essences of groove and nu metal as eagerly as the swing which infests song and listener, the track is modern metal with a nod to a diversity of styles and time, and quite brilliant. It also has a great, almost muggy air to its presence, and a bedlamic edge to its invention which shows its magnetism again in its successor, though maybe not as openly. This is another song which bewitches from its first sonic and vocal caress, and another unafraid to merge abrasing snarls of sound and grouchy basslines into a colourful and fascinating tapestry.

That dark bass toning and attitude also opens up On A Rainy Day next but in the arms of an electronic wrapping and melodic caress; voice, guitar, and keys a seducing contrast to the track’s equally flavoursome dark side. Their union is soaked in an increasing tempestuous air and intensity, one never overpowering what lies within but certainly and enjoyably giving it all a stormy and imposing landscape to colour. It is a similar blend of textures which lights up the rock/pop virulence of Blossoms In The Dust, a riveting croon of a song built on rising crescendos of sound and emotional energies. There is no escaping the mesmeric and creative romance of the song though it is soon eclipsed by the outstanding I Can’t Stand It. Everything about the song gets under the skin. From another bestial bass sound and accompanying stabbing beats to spicy melodies and soaring vocals, but especially in the unpredictable imagination and ingenuity which infects especially the latter two of aspects, the song is a compelling fascination and impossibly infectious.

   Daily Miracles is another primarily instrumental flight through evocative scenery, similar to how the album began and feeding thoughts further before Going To Stay immerses ears in its own individual melodic and emotional emprise of dark and light textures embroiled in a weave of electro rock spicing and ravenous Meshuggah like voracity. Its melodic side reminds of UAE Absolace but, as all tracks, the resulting entwining of flavours only results in an encounter with the familiarity of Grenouer alone.

Album and pleasures only continue to grow and excite as the fiercely enticing Point Of No Return unveils an invigorating maze of melodic and nu-metal equipped with the alternative flair of a Linkin Park, the inventive antagonism of a Mudvayne, and the intensive roar of a Prong. Escape from its claws is impossible as another peak is set in course of the release whilst the next up gentle balladry of Artificial Tears brings a moment to take a breath but not a slip of attentive focus on Unwanted Today. It is fair to say that it did not impact as powerfully as other songs on personal tastes, but reveals yet another side to the songwriting and charm of band sound to further feed a greedy appetite.

The same applies to Don’t Let Them Get You Down in many ways, the song missing a spark found in its predecessors but still adding its own thick slice of modern metal before the closing Clearway provides a short and delicious volatile come seductive proposal for ears and thoughts to sink within. A fine end to a great release, the track sums up Unwanted Today perfectly with its heavy and light, raw and elegant unions; creating another hypnotic adventure.

There are moments where some songs maybe have too similar a surface to others which without a deliberate concentration sees them losing some of their clear identity, but alone all show modern metal with its strongest diversity and imagination whilst together they ensure Unwanted Today is a seriously enjoyable encounter. Grenouer is knocking even harder on the fullest recognition of the metal scene now, how long they can refuse entry we will see.

Unwanted Today is available from March 20th via Mausoleum Records

https://www.facebook.com/grenouer   http://www.grenouer.com/

RingMaster 20/03/2015

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Magoa – Topsy Turvydom

PRESS-PIC-MAGOA-2013

    Topsy Turvydom might not be setting new standards and adventures for the metal world but with ten tracks of bruising and invigorating craft it makes for one sizeable and feisty encounter, a confrontation which leaves satisfaction and enjoyment lively responses. Created by French band Magoa, the album is a multi-flavoured rampage employing an expanse of styles and invention within its explosive body and though it maybe is not the most original fury of modern metal it does provide a very easy to devour and return to exploit.

The album from the Ermont hailing quintet is the successor to the band’s well-received debut Swallow the Earth, a superbly sculpted and delivered blaze of metal which builds on the strong base of its predecessor to push the band to greater depths in their songwriting and aural manipulations. Released via Klonosphere and produced by Charles “Kallaghan” Massabo, Topsy Turvydom initially engages the ear with a rich suggestive ambience, its brewing mass and intensity punctuated by electronic beats. It soon unveils the entrance to opener Ailleurs where the guitars of Vincent Alvarez and David Teixeira are instantly carving the air with concise sinew clad invention and the rhythms of drummer Martin Montergnole punching as forcibly as the riffs beside them. It is a magnetic introduction where the squalling vocals of Cyd Chassagne sit perfectly upon the djent/metalcore filtered enterprise The already impacting encounter lures the passions further as an electronic teasing and the bass of Vincent Blondel add extra contrasting yet wholly persuasive tempting. The song is an immense start which provides the core knowledge of the album, a storm of slightly familiar attributes unleashed in a resourceful and contagious tempest.

The following Wall of the Damned is a sturdy confirmation of the strong start, cleaner heavy rock vocals and grooves the opening Pochette_cartoninvitation within another rapacious cage of hungry riffery and rhythmic provocation. The song twists and turns in its presentation, fusing a mix of John Bush fronted Anthrax and TesseracT which slowly burns its way into the senses and imagination, moving from initially a pleasing encounter into one of the highlights of the album, its emotive keys caressing and melancholic atmosphere an endearing and lasting suasion.

As the likes of the commanding Max Bet, with its infectious blend of lethal intent and melodic swaggering, and the intriguing Betraying Grace next play upon the ears, the album continues to enthral and breed a strong hunger for its presence. The second of the two swings from a Pantera like snarl to a pop metal coated harmonic embrace, its structure imaginative and impressively crafted as it entwines the extremes into an appealing and ultimately convincing assault. Another track which takes time to fully persuade and to ignite the energy of pleasure others reap with ease, the track only leaves attention and appetite engrossed in what Topsy Turvydom next has to offer.

     Party Time brings an electro metal bred suggestiveness to its encounter which without lighting the fires and an appreciation like its predecessors still makes a worthy incitement for the album and emotions, if not a long term one, the same which can be said of the classic metal seeded Eat You Alive and the Estamos Locos. The first of these two is less potent in its merging of styles, the song shaking the throat gently rather than ripping out its flesh like other tracks on the album, whilst its successor even in providing a brutal and ravenous predation on the senses fails to find that spark or fuse to a lingering and deep thrill, though both in craft and skill leave no one wanting.

     Broken Record is a different story; featuring Threat Signal’s vocalist Jon Howard, the track is a ravishment of the senses with an intensive rabidity soaking every riff and rhythmic strike whilst vocally Chassagne, backed strongly by the band, chews every syllable of his narrative before sharing its aggressiveness. Infusing rap vocals in to the antagonistic rage works well as do the harmonies which caress the ears in the latter part of the song even if neither delivery escapes the shade provided by the great lead attack, but it is the imagination and adventurous experimentation of the song and its structure which makes the richest convincing; and certainly the virulent grooves and Korn like breath which breaks out at times does it no harm either.

Completed by the strenuous and inventive might of Forgotten Saints and the excellent closing insidious fury of the thrash lit There Is No Tomorrow, the album is an impressive and convincing slab of accomplished and thrilling metal. Magoa might not be stretching limits but undoubtedly creates a tempest of enterprise and skill which feeds the needs of any metal release. Intelligently carved invention, exhausting passionate energy, and the eagerness to push themselves, the album has it all and more.

http://magoamusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 06/11/2013

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Die No More – Blueprint EP

Die No More Online Promo Shot

With a sound bred from the inspirations of the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Black Sabbath as well as softer essences of a Pearl Jam and Muse, Die No More step forward with a debut which suggests we have a very promising and exciting band on our hands. Consisting of four riotous and impressively sculpted songs, the Blueprint EP gets the job done with accomplished craft and scintillating energy. It is possibly not the most original sound which eagerly accosts the ear but it is an encounter which lights a deep satisfaction and hunger for plenty more.

Formed in 2011 and hailing from Penrith, Cumbria, Die No More consists of four friends with an unmissable passion for classic and modern metal. Originally under the name Dynamo up to just before recording their debut, the band has forged a loyal and enthusiastic fan-base across the north of the UK. The release of Blueprint should see the rest of the country and beyond beginning to stir to a similar awareness and greed for their potent presence. Mutually inviting and confrontational, muscular and melodically charming, the EP is an eventful storm offering familiarity and freshness, but mostly it simply brings inescapable enjoyment.

Opening track Conscious Indecision instantly leans against the ear with enticing riffs soon joined by tempting rhythms. With a swift Die No More Cover Artworkbreath the track erupts into an intensive push of thrash seeded riffs from the guitars of Kev Smith and Marc Farquhar, the latter’s vocals riding confidently and impressively on the crest of the powerful energy now in charge of the song. With a definite Hetfield lilt to his delivery he brings an expressive narrative to the track whilst the bass of Andy Minnett adds extra delicious intimidation, especially when given a space mid-way to drive the track into another transfixing venture. Guitar flames from Smith flare up magnificently at this point and with the sinews of drummer Steve Orchiton framing it all firmly and at times antagonistically, the skill of the band shouts loudly. It is an excellent start which without lingering after its departure ensures the release has a strong grip on the appetite.

The following Council Of War emerges on a wall of menace and building intensity, slow predacious riffs and rhythms caging the ear before the rampaging heart of the song erupts. With an arguably more classic metal feel than its predecessor though that thrash breath is still laying a hand on proceedings, the song is a relentless gnawing of the senses yet merciful enough to allow amidst its rapacious rabidity, melodic and sonic colour to burn brightly with the fullest temptation and imagination. The best track on the release it alone makes Die No More a band that has to be watched closely and with intent.

Nightmares steps up next with a warm blues lacing to its opening guitar beckoning joined swiftly by the heavy anthemic rhythms of Orchiton which build another compelling stage for the full body of the song to explore and ignite upon. Mellower than its predecessor but still bold and big boned in, the track is a pleasing and easily engaging companion, vocals and riffs easy to unite with whilst the sonic flare unveiled by Smith is magnetic. With its successor also a mighty assault on the passions, being sandwiched between two pinnacles does leave the track a little pale in comparison but it more than satisfies any need and has a lure which pulls you in time and time again.

The closing Oblivious is pure metallic tempestuousness with a more than healthy dose of punk attitude to its lyrical and belligerent riffing. With a chorus that commands the voice, rhythms which act like a puppeteer for feet, and riffing that takes care of the neck, the track is another anthemic high spiced with glorious spires of sonic invention. It is an irresistible climax to an equally contagious release, a final enslavement for thoughts and passions.

Certainly the Blueprint EP shows that Die No More has a little way to go to find a unique presence but at the same time it suggests that it is merely a matter of time. Most importantly it entertains from ear to heart and leaves you wishing this had been an album. A band on a rapid rise…

www.facebook.com/DieNoMore

8.5

RingMaster 07/09/2013

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Walkways – Safe in Sound

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

Photo by Avihai Levy Photography | AvihaiPhoto.com

There is no better pleasure than when a band and release you are only vaguely aware of, if at all, comes out of peripheral vision to slap the senses and passions into a state of lustful awareness. That is exactly what Safe in Sound, the debut album from Israeli metallers Walkways did. It is a glorious blend of alternative and nu metal plus more, addiction forming grooves and a hungry snarl setting it apart from most as it brings a refreshing inventive presence to eagerly feast upon.

Formed in 2007, Walkways are relatively unknown outside of their homeland, though a trio of previous singles (including a cover of Adele’s Skyfall) certainly scratched the surface of attention wider afield. With Safe In Sound though you can only sense and hope that the previous state of affairs will be addressed for the quintet of vocalist Ran Yerushalmi, guitarists Bar Caspi and Yoni Menner, bassist Avihai Levy, and drummer Priel Horesh. It certainly has all the invention, imagination, and sheer infectiousness to brand the band on the map of modern metal. Mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Soilwork, Katatonia), the record is a masterful and unpredictable blend of potent flavours and styles which stir the imagination and heart; quite simply it is one of the best albums to grace the year.

From the sinister intro, band and album instantly entwine the listener in deliciously enticing grooves and sonic temptation with Blood 1044369_329815420485756_1779077289_nInto Water, Caspi and Menner simultaneously carving deep furrows in the senses with carnivorous craft or soothing them with melodic weaves. The striking start drops into drifting atmospheric warmth to welcome the excellent vocals of Yerushalmi, a man who across the album proves a fine and inventive vocalist, whilst the rhythms temper their initial provocation to drive this scintillating melodic turn deeper. As it continues to twist the song enslaves a needy hunger for its unpredictable and enthralling offering, seamlessly blending snarling intimidation and glowing smouldering seduction with ease. Sound wise the song comes over like a thrilling mix of Absolace with Coheed and Cambria with the richest bite and invention of Korn and unpredictability of fellow Israelis Onama, the latter pair more pronounced the further the album is explored.

For all of the comparison which will be inspired by the release there is a uniqueness and individuality about Walkways which leaves thoughts and ears excited, especially when tracks like the following All Lies bounds the emotions in a wrap of rapacious imagination and energy. Again a track which fidgets and sizzles with twists of thought and adventure, it takes on a more Korn like presence the further it teases, the vocals evolving into a strong Jonathan Davis resembling stance though again retaining a distinction of their own. It is a continuation of the impressive start strongly continued by Endless I with its slightly schizophrenic sonic dance and flowing wash of melodic grandeur. There is a Deftones whisper or maybe a more Palms like one to its immersive persuasion that only enhances the rich emotive call of the song and leaves a bright blush of pleasure in its wake.

The next two songs are arguably the pinnacle of the album, though favourites shift with each eager listen. Firstly Towards the Light charges up its batteries for an excitable rampage across the ear with a wholly contagious beckoning spawned by a dazzling mix of technical/progressive metal and heavy rock. There is a touch of Nonpoint to the encounter but also Meshuggah glimpses as well as in deceitful quirkiness Scars On Broadway. There is an instant friendship struck up by the track, a familiarity to its lure which without obvious comparisons makes the fun all the more intensive but it is still only an appetiser for its successor. The start of Thoughts is not comfortable, the electro effected vocals suggesting something…well cringe worthy…but to doubt this band is mad as the track soon erupts into a thumping predacious slab of rock ‘n’ roll driven with a Mishkin like creative rabidity and magnetic invention. The latest single from the band it encapsulates everything about Walkways in an irresistible and explosive suasion.

Through the enchanting yet menacing Luminary Kid with spoken vocals adding narrative to what is primarily an instrumental, and Sweet Medicine which is as wonderfully niggling as it is plaintively evocative, the album boils up further before the excellent Out stands with sinews loaded before the ear. It might be a relatively muscular excursion at times but the song takes no time in soothing its passage with some enticing heart bred reflection and colour rich melodic flame of varying degrees of heat through the creative guitars and concentrated expressive vocals, backed by pressing basslines and forceful rhythms. It is a fire of inventive resources which builds into a climatic and dramatic provocation. Korn meets Tricore/An Entire Legion, the song is another lofty highpoint of a towering release.

After the decent enough melancholic instrumental Pause, agitation takes on another depth of imagination with the metallic bedlam of Actions, a track which sees Walkways turn Dog Fashion Disco on our asses with again a sturdy Korn spite to its rhythmic and sonic venom, whilst Skin Deep takes flight over the sores with a melodic wind of passion soaked resonance. To all extents the closure of the album with the brief instrumental Staring Through Closed Blinds adding its epilogue, the track finishes a stunning album. Safe in Sound is an inciting and infectious introduction of Walkways to the world but more than that it is a strikingly creative and thrilling take on modern metal; it has stolen our lust.

https://www.facebook.com/Walkways

9.5/10

RingMaster 26/07/2013

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