My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery

MDB_RingMaster Review

Never having been smitten by the My Dying Bride sound but equally never having felt the compulsion to turn the other way when it has stood before us either, taking a look at the band’s new album Feel The Misery has been a bit of an adventure. Fair to say most of their previous haul of releases have for the main been passing acquaintances at best attention wise, their new offering pretty much the first to be given serious time to make its proposition. The result is finding a release which still does not have us enraptured with the band’s sound but certainly provided an hour plus of enjoyable doom metal theatre which continues to be increasingly persuasive.

Featuring the return of guitarist Calvin Robertshaw and living up to its title’s tone through creeping infestations of funereal doom metal, Feel The Misery quickly engulfs ears and imagination with its heavy gothic breath and doom laded atmospheres. And My Father Left Forever opens up the West Yorkshire hailing band’s twelve studio album, the track uncaging a swift and tenaciously lively stride sculpted by rapier like rhythms and feisty riffs draped in spicy grooves. There is a rapacious feel to the song which continues as the clean tones of Aaron Stainthorpe begins the tracks’ intrigue rich and melancholy fuelled narrative. The guitars of Andrew Craighan and Robertshaw are equally as descriptive through their enjoyably nagging enterprise, though it is the moments when things slip into a dour gait coloured by the highly emotive violin prowess of keyboardist Shaun MacGowan that the imagination and appetite finds itself at its greediest. The song continues to create a compelling and enjoyable creative drama with each passing minute whilst setting Feel The Misery off in fine and striking style.

MDB Feel The Misery cover_RingMaster Review     The following To Shiver In Empty Halls vents its rancorous wash from its first second as the grievous growls of Stainthorpe crawl over sombre sonic tendrils bred by the guitars, they in turn magnetically shadowed by the bass predation cast by Lena Abé. Continuing to lumber over the senses and into the psyche with bursts of ravenous energy breaking free throughout, the track is like the jaws of a leviathan; riffs its hostile teeth, rhythms its intimidating limbs, and the malevolent air its consumptive breath whilst the sonic and melodic invention echoes the beauty and danger which resides in its presence. Again it is nothing less than compelling and increasingly so with every listen, a success applying to the album as a whole.

A Cold New Curse is a brewing vat of dark tones and deeds crafted by the enthralling designs set free by Craighan and Robertshaw, a tempest which slips from raging sonic and emotional ire to morose immersive beauty with an inhale of breath. The invasive haunting to its presence is where the track most steals personal attention but fair to say that its volatility and inventive trespass from start to finish perpetually entices before the album’s title track stalks and seduces ears in equal skilful manner. No particular element stands out but united they all create a physical and lyrical entanglement hard not to be enjoyably wrapped up in.

From here the album really hits the spot with us, starting with the dark charm and sinister elegance of A Thorn Of Wisdom. Swinging from a gripping bassline spine from Abé, the song courts an infectiousness which borders on virulence even within the gothic lure of the keys and caliginous air enveloping the senses. The track is riveting, its bursts of post punk adventure mouth-watering and the vocal gloom of Stainthorpe magnetic as the album hits a new plateau of persuasion and imagination which relatively continues through I Celebrate Your Skin and excels within I Almost Loved You. The first of the pair lays its portentous glaze down with slowly winding and thickly enticing potency though the shift in vocal style to throat grazing scowls fails to find the same strong mark on personal tastes. Those moments are soon forgotten though as celestial harmonies and incantation like keys and chimes spark the appetite again and help create an alluring finale before its outstanding successor takes over with its incandescent beauty within a spellbinding seam of vocal and melodic melancholy. The song is pure bewitchment, alongside A Thorn Of Wisdom easily taking best song plaudits and as the earlier track leaving lingering temptations and irrefutable reasons to regularly return to Feel The Misery.

The imaginatively tempestuous and climactically varied Within A Sleeping Forest brings the album to a dramatic and stirring close, its hefty landscape an evolving sea of accomplished and varied textures alongside rousing vocals and kaleidoscopic melodies exploring a matching array of emotions. It is a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which you know My Dying Bride fans will be rigorously and understandably waxing lyrical over. Here we still have not become big fans but having found a good appetite for Feel The Misery and especially certain moments within it, its recommendation is easy.

Feel The Misery is out now via Peaceville.

Pete RingMaster 25/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Norilsk – Japetus

Japetus EP - photo band

Listening to Japetus, the debut EP from Canadian metallers Norilsk, you feel the band may have missed their calling, for if anyone could make stark desolate wastelands and inhospitable landscapes a potent tourist attraction then this band could. It is exactly what they do on their introduction to the metal world, make stark doom drenched soundscapes some of the most alluring proposals heard this year. Forging a sound bred from intensive sludge and post metal, the band creates bait and presence which seduces as it savages to leave the listener grinning insanely as its predatory instincts sonically disembowel the senses. There have been a wealth of impressive first assaults from bands this year but Japetus stands head and shoulders above most with ease.

Gatineau, QC hailing Norilsk is the creation of Nicolas Miquelon (Damnus, The Great Russian Empire, ex-Kintra) and Nick Richer (Damnus, Doll, Outrage AD). Taking their name from Siberia’s most northern city, the pair’s sound has been infused with inspirations from the likes of Thergothon, Saturnus, and early My Dying Bride, spices bringing a further doom laden death metal quality to their invention. It is not a sound which is exactly revealing new pastures and adventures for the genres it employs yet it has a startling, riveting breath and voice which puts the band apart from the rest and into a fresh and compelling corner of its own. Ahead of their first album, the Japetus EP sets down an immense and enthralling, not forgetting exhilarating, base and teaser for upcoming horizons, whilst inspiring a hunger racked with greed.

The title track sets things off and instantly has ears and attention awake with its nagging riffs and acidic sonic wash which scythes gently but forcibly across the senses. Within seconds you feel there is a relentlessness to the song even in its Japetus EP - artworkrelatively reserved stance at this point. Soon the guitar and bass predation of Miquelon is discovering a pungent snarl to which the beats of Richer add their intimidating punch. A Killing Joke like groove adds to the appealing lure before the guttural slowly crawling vocals of Miquelon prey on imagination and emotions. It is an irresistible enticing which erupts with intense crescendos before slipping back into its determined slow gait, riffs and grooves insatiably beckoning the passions. At over eight minutes by mid-way you wonder of the track will out stay its welcome but with inventive twists and that pure hypnotic pull of its repetitive ingenuity, there is never a chance, especially with the toxic melodic side step which permeates body and soul towards its conclusion.

It is a staggering opening which is soon surpassed by Potsdam Glo. The track is a swiftly established different kind of a beast, its slow predacious entwining of ears and synapses carrying a gentler though no less menacing gait and texture. The bass is pure demonic flirtation, its lure a throaty velvet to which the vocals of Miquelon offer a cleaner delivery than on its predecessor. Thoughts of Anathema and Isis make their hints but also earlier spices like Bauhaus and The Cure in just as many hinting ways. As it floats imposingly across the senses there is a meditative effect which embraces tenaciously though that lingering coaxing is subsequently buffeted by the increasingly volatile and threatening swipes of Richer. The songs climax is an immersion back into its melodically enthused seducing, a warm and invasive beauty swallowing ears and imagination.

Japetus is an extraordinary proposition, as mentioned not ground-breaking in sound but striking unique in presence and imagination. The CD version of the EP also offers a cover of the Voivod track Negatron, Norilsk twisting and transforming it into their own distinct version with insidiously dark throated vocals, ravenous intent, and an atmospheric malevolence which engulfs the senses. It is an outstanding track which makes the CD the more essential choice though no one will be left disappointed by the two-track download.

With that full-length imminent, Norilsk has made the most powerful and exciting entrance of any one this year. Japetus is aural brilliance ensuring that anticipation has nostrils flaring for the album.

The self-released Japetus EP is available now digitally and on CD @ http://norilskdoom.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/NorilskDoom

10/10

RingMaster 31/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Raving Season – Amnio

Raving Season pic 1

    Amnio, the debut album from Italian band Raving Season, is a release which challenges and provokes with a striking sound and imagination which however you feel about it lingers with its memorable presence. Hailing from Rome, the sextet has created an album which fuses the passionate melodic tones of gothic metal with the intense oppressive breath of doom, expansive almost carnivorous atmospheres soaking the listener in deep and forcibly expressive emotive atmospheres. Constantly intriguing and magnetic, if at times labouring within its own creative exploration and occasionally a battle on the senses, the release is a compelling and imaginative excursion through the melodrama and darkest shadows of emotions and life.

The seed of Raving Season came with the meeting of the band’s two vocalists Judith (clean) and Federica (coarse) with guitarist Sergio. Initially with the intent to blend death and doom metal with openness to other rich spices, the band evolved its distinct sound over the following years as firstly guitarist Marco S. joined the line-up and then after the release of the debut The Brightness Of My Disaster EP, came the addition of Paolo (bass), Laura (keyboards), and Stefano (drums).  Two years in the making and seeing a new bassist, also called Marco, and Luca now on drums, Amnio is the potent full introduction to the band and their impressively textured sound which persuades with a voice sure to please fans of the likes of Draconian, early Anathema, My Dying Bride, and Isis.

A warm yet almost ominous wash of ambience soaks the ear first as the first up Turandot opens its welcoming arms, intensity and Raving Season coverenergy rising the closer it comes into view expelling a scowl of shadows aligned to the great grizzled growls of Federica which court their temptation. The track conjures a dark embrace with guitars and bass scything a sinister narrative which is suddenly reined in as the melodic heart of the track opens up its sun with the full tones of Judith and her operatic strength scorching notes and air. On this track certainly, her voice takes a little while to take to, if ever wholly accepted when she is truly searing the ear, but it is a thing of personal taste only as like to the opposing style of her companion, there is an undeniable skill and depth to be admired. The song itself is a strong draw into the release if unspectacular but it does spark rewarding thoughts and emotions to its fluid course.

The following Dusk Dance and My Last Murderer continue the good start, the first an melancholic seduction with prowling shadows which goads and inspires the atmosphere to evolve with feistier dramatic colour and intensity whilst its successor offers a similar start before twisting back on the senses with a malicious technical taunting to the guitar and invention driven by the aggressive venom of Federica. It is a superbly mixed pairing of light and dark, a beauty and the beast like tempting to the sound which evokes gothic hues upon the imposing canvas of the song.  The second of the two is the start of an elevation in the impact and appeal of the already pleasing release, the next up Silent Lake taking thoughts on a darkly lit float through expressive and bracing emotion rife with menace and danger framed by powerfully evocative strings and keys whilst Restless Rain (The Noise of Rain) provides a stimulating and epic soundscape within the confines of dark corridors and troubled hearts. It has a doom laden gait, a slow and lumbering prowl ridden by an excellent mix of harsh vocals unleashing demonesque enticement within a patient beauty.

There are moments where the album arguably labours over aspects and its intentions, losing the spark and grip which enthrals in other moments and allowing thoughts to drift at times, though the best two tracks on the album My Darkest Season Pt. 2 and Suspanded in a Spiral have no problem in securing total focus. The first is a glorious emotive hug with Judith bringing her finest performance and balance on the album, the euphoric depth of the song tempered by fine growls providing the most inspiring and imagery crafting moment of the album, and the second a rapacious and hungry stretch of intensity and aggressive enticement, Federica leading the fiery and majestic assault. Easily the best track on the album it tests and seduces with skill and invention, showing the further promise of the band in which they will hopefully stretch out ahead.

With the fine instrumental title track bringing an end to the My Kingdom Music released album, Raving Season is a band to take note of, even if Amnio does not quite stoke up a blazing fire inside for its undeniably creative offering.

www.facebook.com/RavingSeasonOfficial

7.5/10

RingMaster 09/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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My Dying Bride – The Manuscript

My Dying Bride

UK doom alchemists My Dying Bride set themselves a major benchmark with their album A Map of All Our Failures last year, a release which took all the expected prime essences bred by the band across the years and that made fans of the Yorkshire quintet offer fervour driven support since their formation in 1990, and laid them onto a fresh rich new plateau. It was typical My Dying Bride but in a new pleasing stance which even set those of us who have more of a passing affair with their music to stop and take notice. The Manuscript is a four track EP which continues the presence established on the previous record and though it slips just below the high standards set it employs the new emotively carved impacting breath which emerged for another very appealing experience.

Released via Peaceville Records, The Manuscript is a potent imagery bearing quartet of tales seeded and reaped in tragedy, loss and bitter vengeance; gothic tales brought to bear with metallic intensity and melancholic shadow bred melodies. Each song strolls and prowls a well-worn, but not exhausted or diluted, premise of love, death, and all the emotions which make their bed within the two extremes. It is like most of their releases an offering which is easy to see why the band garner such devotion from fans even if personal fires lay no more than smouldering at best, and like the last record an encounter which has the ability to raise a few sparks even in less receptive appetites.

The title track rides in on a soulful blaze of guitar whilst bass and drums add their firm touch to the emerging presence, but it is the 578094_507496359312227_1503676395_ninstant lure of the vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe followed by the ever delicious emotive breath of the violin, Shaun MacGowan using the canvas set to paint a potent impassioned melancholic weave upon its surface, which seals the brewing recruitment to its premise. The heavy laden walk of the track consumes senses and thought, wrapping them in dense feelings for the guitars of Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross to seduce with their personal narrative and suggestively confronting riffs. The concussive approach of the drums certainly in cymbals and percussion does the song no favours to be honest, nor the release as a whole, but such the excellence at work around them it is a minor niggle especially when the song slips wonderfully into an elevated groove lined enterprise which reminds of the same heart recruiting, passion lighting anthemic temptation which veined the early work of the Skids, the slight Celtic whispers irresistible within the rhythmic snarl of drums and bass of Lena Abé. It is an explosive virulence which makes way for a gentle folk crafted climax for a little bit of disappointment despite its own personal beauty, such the quality and lure of what heralded its appearance.

The opener is impressive even though for our individual tastes it ebbs and flows a little, the song always richly satisfying but igniting moments of real seduction without retaining that hook throughout. The same happens with the following Var Gud Over Er, the immediate carnivorous attack of rapacious riffs and predatory bass calls gnawing and growling with thrilling ferocity whilst the guitars create a sonic weave to encapsulate the intensity. Across its even pace crawl though even with the enjoyable move from intimidating growls to a cleaner expressive delivery in the vocals, the track only provokes and invites a full ardour never quite getting its many appealing barbs in deep enough for a total persuasion. The track is an undeniably pleasing companion though which arguably does outstay it’s welcome at eight minutes plus of a relatively uniformal stance, but offers another great finale as it makes way for its successor A Pale Shroud of Longing.

The song loams large and tall over the ear with descriptive melodic fire from the guitar revealing itself beneath a wall of oppressive energy built by bass and drums which seizes any remaining attention and chains it to the brewing sonic embrace and the subsequent emotive beauty spawn again by MacGowan and his singing bow. It is a moment which sees tingles running their tiny fingers down thoughts and spine as the evolving intensity and weight of the song exploits with open craft and contagious imagination their persuasive touch. It is easily the best track on the EP, its haunting voice and feverish hunger within the again crawling ravenous passion and weight, an irresistible temptress which combined with the treacherous yet spellbinding tide of emotive darkness, leaves a big highlight.

The closing Only Tears to Replace Her With is very much like the second song on the EP, a track with moments which instil a lingering entrancement but never quite restrains their escape into enjoyable but uninspiring captures. The Manuscript is an excellent release for the main though and one fans of the band will devour with ferocity and be rewarded wholly for, whilst for others like us it may not light any fires but offers plenty to relieve happily again.

http://www.mydyingbride.net/

7/10

RingMaster 13/05/2013

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