Dalla Nebbia – Felix Culpa

cover_RingMaster Review

An album impossible to fully digest on the first listen, second, and indeed even a few more, Felix Culpa still quickly emerges as one richly fascinating and perpetually tempting proposition. The creation of US based Dalla Nebbia; it is a compelling assault of extreme metal and imagination. The band’s sound is loosely tagged as atmospheric black metal but as Felix Culpa soon reveals, it openly embraces provocative strains of progressive rock and doom metal to present something testing and uniquely enthralling.

Dalla Nebbia first emerged in 2010 as a duo, and now is a quartet with three members living in N Carolina, Minnesota, and Washington, and a fourth with Brazil as a home. Inspirations include music and invention produced by bands such as Agalloch, Nachtmystium, Limbonic Art, and Arcturus, the foursome taking these into their own extensive and epic weaves of emotional and sonic drama. The successor to debut album The Cusp of the Void, it the bringing together of the band’s first demo and self-released EP Thy Pale Form, the ten track Felix Culpa sees the band breaching new depths and levels of imagination and craft. Its premise is a dive into the human psyche, in the words of the band, “a journey through decay and regret, death and suicide, and thorny despair at the hands of an angry god” and its voice a challenge to find a wealth of corruptive pleasure in.

Featuring Norwegian violinist Sareeta (Borknagar, Solefald, Asmegin) across most songs on the album and guest guitarist Aort (Code, Indesinence) on a couple of tracks, Felix Culpa opens with the brief instrumental Memento Mori; the synth and guitar craft of Yixja a swift and entrancing immersion for ears and thoughts. Warm yet feeling more like the lull before the storm even with the magnetic lures of violin, the piece leads the listener straight into the tempest of Until the Rain Subsides, though that too initially has a restraint and gothic invitation that only entices. The raw vocal squalls of Zduhać add to the thick atmosphere and brewing imposing air of the song even with both being tempered by the captivating harmonies that rise within the melancholic beauty of Sareeta’s strings. Ravenous and seductive in equal measure, blackened voracity and progressive calm colluding in a controlled band unpredictable maelstrom, the song makes an impressive full welcome into Felix Culpa.

The more rabid Abandoned Unto Sky takes over next, the brutal drumming of Alkurion a quick violation forging a punishing union with raw unrelenting riffs. In time though, as the bass of Tiphareth spills its own animus on proceedings, song and band infect the storm with melodic and emotive enterprise whilst managing to simultaneously intensify the ruinous nature of the track. Every moment has something within something else, layers within layers, textures revealing their own personal breakdown of essences as the song evolves and twists on its rancorous spine. Growing more riveting and thrilling in its second half, the song epitomises the album as a whole, each minute a bounty of imaginative turns and detours seamlessly woven into fierce tapestries that with every listen unveil new treasures.

Both Lament of Aokigahara and The Banner of Defiance keep ears and emotions aflame, the first from a portentous coaxing venturing into a dank incantation like crawl through smothering intensity and ambience with volatile invention and beauty respectively. Guitars entwine with keys, synths with the melodic incitement of the violin, and rhythms in tender and barbarous skill framing the tempestuous charm and adventure of the track. Its successor is similarly honed but far more physically challenging with its vindictive rhythms and riffs, not forgetting breath. Of course things shift and evolve, the song also slipping into spellbinding moments of vocal and sonic radiance, these at times stemming the tide of hostility like momentary oases in a challenging journey whilst providing their own fresh exploration of the lyrical and emotional exploration. As in its predecessor, it is thoroughly engrossing though occasionally heavy going trying to explore all on offer but with time the songs just get bigger and more impressive as they eventually share their extensive realms.

Not Within the Stone blows a creative wind washed in post and progressive rock daring around a black metal scowl. This gripping fusion smothers a doom seeded gait but by now expectantly also embraces bold flames of contagious hooks, virulent grooves, and inhospitable intensity into the creative melting pot to heavily pleasing effect. Once more ears and thoughts are bullied and rubbed raw whilst kept firmly engrossed in the uncompromising collusion of contrasts that also emerge in the outstanding Felix Culpa (Theodicy Corrupted), a smooth seducing ingrained in a ferociously ravishing volcano of sound and enmity.

The shorter instrumental trespass of Das Gelächter Gottes is a cold dystopian respite next, luring the imagination towards the opening melancholic serenade of Paradise in Flames. A fire of emotional and sonic unrest, the track restrains from erupting into the inferno expected, seven of its nine evocative minutes having passed to inspire and incite before things spew vocal and physical lava, though that again comes with the spellbinding touch of the violin and Dalla Nebbia’s creative bravery to leave only a want for more.

A final instrumental caress closes the album, The Silent Transition a melody driven kiss on the senses wrapped in ever potent shadows and shaped by the open individual prowess of Dalla Nebbia. It is a fine conclusion to a release words barely scratch the surface of. Felix Culpa will not be for all, at times being a real test for many including some black and extreme metal fans, though only in a good way. Fair to say though for all wanting something bold and original which pushes their boundaries as much as the music they have a passion for, a release that works their bodies and thoughts for a constant unveiling of new rewards with each plunge into its depths, then Felix Culpa and Dalla Nebbia is very worthy of a visit.

Felix Culpa is out now via Razed Soul Productions @ http://dallanebbia.bandcamp.com/


Pete RingMaster 15/10/2015

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Planning For Burial/Liar In Wait – Split 7”


Bringing together two bands which have already stolen strong attention and praise for their previous releases, the new split 7” from Broken Limbs Records makes a compelling introduction for newcomers to both Planning For Burial and Liar In Wait whilst showing existing fans a glimpse, certainly in the case of the second project, of a new mature landscape of sound. It is an absorbing and immersive experience being offered, two tracks which distinctly differ but unite in their ability to seduce and envelop ears, as well as the imagination, with subtle and bolder invention.

The first track Mischief Night is provided by Planning For Burial, the solo project of Pennsylvania based musician Thom Wasluck. The song is his first outing since the release of the acclaimed album Desideratum earlier this year. It IMG_7856(2)opens with a sonic flame which swiftly immerses into a radiant but oppressive drone. It is a persistence of noise though wrapped and embraced by flowing synth crafted melodies, their evocative breath and nature a warm caress over the caustic spine of the song. Guitars add their raw beauty and unpolished elegance almost as quickly, everything combining for a haunting and ethereal flight through morose and imposing shadows. It is a thick and challenging intensity which emerges from the bewitching cacophony of sound, but one tempered just enough by the slow laboured vocals of Wasluck, melancholia dipping off every syllable within his expressive monotonous delivery. It is an emotion lighting cloud of riveting dark beauty and dramatic shadows lying pleasingly like a mix of Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails within a cold shoegaze soundscape.

   The second song Paper Houses is a lighter and warmer proposition but just as rich in firm textures and infectious magnetism. Liar In Wait began in 2012 as a side project of vocalist Adam Clemans of Wolvhammer and bassist Jim Adolphson from Mourner. It was not long before the band grew to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Nachtmystium) and drummer Peter Clarke (Iron Thrones), and recorded debut EP Translations of the Lost which was released last year on Profound Lore. Employing inspirations from the likes of Asylum Party, Joy Division, The Cure, and Fields of the Nephilim, release and sound was well-received and has already raised keen anticipation for the band’s first full-length scheduled for next year.

liw promo     Paper Houses makes a potent and exciting teaser for the release, immediately seducing ears with an intrigue loaded bassline which swiftly suggests Ian Curtis and co. The irresistible bait is then crossed by shards of sonic eruptions before it all slips into a lively but reserved stroll with the bass still leading the seduction beneath the melodic tones of Clemans. There is a shoegaze glazing which mesmerises with House of Love like radiance but equally a dark tonal elegance which embraces essences of Gene Love Jezebel, early Cure, and The Danse Society in its emotive flight across the enthralling song. It is a spellbinding track having no difficulty in awakening real anticipation for Liar In Wait’s first album.

We have been blessed with a strong and impressive array of split releases over past months and this is another to add to that list.

 The Planning For Burial/Liar In Wait Split is available now digitally and on vinyl (300 black and 200 on orange vinyl) @ http://brokenlimbsrecordings.com/shop/



RingMaster 15/10/2014

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Bast – Spectres


BAst pic

    If you have ever imagined being lost in a blizzard where every sound and danger, open and hidden, seduces and smothers the senses to their limits then try stepping into Spectres the debut album from UK sonic sculptors Bast. Every intensive note and emotion within the blackened doom bred tempest suffocates with merciless passion and intimidation yet infuses the imagination with a beauty and compelling toxicity which is just as mouth-wateringly impressive. The five track release is an epic confrontation which is not an easy companion to embrace and at times endure, as that envisaged storm, but certainly one of the most rewarding as it infests body and psyche.

    Formed in 2008, it was the coming together of vocalist/guitarist Craig Bryant, drummer Jon Lee, and bassist Gavin Thomas three years later where arguably things really began to stir up a greater attentive spotlight for Londoners Bast. Since starting initially as a duo, the band certainly made an imprint on the capitals metal scene, sharing stages with the likes of Ufomammut, A Storm of Light, and Ramesses. Across the years the trio has expanded their presence supporting and playing with other bands such as Nachtmystium, Minsk, Winterfylleth, earthtone9, Mother Corona, XII Boar and hordes more, persistently leaving a rich mark and breeding an eager anticipation for their first album.

     Recorded at Skyhammer Studio with Chris Fielding, Spectres is the first offering from new label Black Bow Records, run by 1452364_10152025214408684_29610896_nConan frontman Jon Davis, its limited to 300 vinyl release a joint unleashing with a CD/digital assault from Burning World Records. The album is a heavily consumptive provocation which swallows and chews the senses with a creative rabidity which simply intimidates under the massive weight of doom spawned atmospheres and malevolence. Just as ravenously though, the release leads the listener through inventive weaves which dazzle in elegance and seduce in majestic radiance though never truly released from the hands of rancorous oppressiveness.

    In The Beginning initially offers a respectful sonic coaxing to bring the album into view, its chilled ambience wrapping the ears before an exhaustive fire of riffs and rhythms consume the senses as the rasping caustic vocal squalls of Bryant scorches the air. As its stalks and piles on the dark drama with every second, the track winds around the imagination with a near insidious voice and corrosive intensity, stimulating thoughts with an enveloping and emotive suffering. It is a powerful opening matched by the next up Denizens, its slow flight into darker and deeper caverns of intensive emotional corruption as mesmeric as it is ruinous. Like the first, the black and doom metal seeded blend brews an erosive breath over a melodically teased sonic adventure, both soaked in a mutually cathartic and damaging tsunami of intensity.

      Impressive as the songs are, the album does not truly ignite into something uniquely distinctive and special until the title track erupts in a ferocious brawl of crippling rhythms and unrestrained riffing. The track hits with the carnivorous heavy assault of a Black Tusk, with heavily shadowed but tempting grooves to match, before diving head long into a blackened swamp of sonic rabidity and doom lit venom. It is an irresistible onslaught taken to greater potency by a deliciously barbed rhythmic temptation alongside a bass and guitar snarl which has you contemplating scurrying into the deepest burrows of safety. Spectres preys upon and swaggers with the imagination and passions, an unpredictable constantly evolving waltz of inventive toxins and destructive virulence with pestilential charms and animosity which echoes the overall presence of its namesake, the album.

     The exceptional confrontation is matched by the instrumental Psychonauts, the piece a developing imaginative scourge for the passions which from a seemingly primordial sonic soup spawns an irresistible and addictive union of contagion clad drumming and savage bass temptation. It proceeds to provide an exploratory and weighty flight through menacing expressive textures and atmospherically driven visually provoking scenery. It is another immense stimulus for mind and emotions to eagerly delve into, a demanding and controlling doorway to the band’s and our imaginations. Its twelve minute violation makes way for the equally enthralling and lengthy Outside The Circles Of Time, the closing song crafting a landscape of melodic temptation and magnetic beauty within a warm embracing ambience. The ever raw tones of Bryant, even in their more reined in delivery, add to the epidemic enticement, helping pave the way for the fiercer sonic wash of guitar and passion to lap over the senses beside another stretch of impossible to resist rhythmic bait, the song intensifying its pressure and contagion with every passing minute.

     It is a magnificent finale to an album which firmly puts Bast on the doom metal map. Spectres takes a little time to truly explode in the psyche, though it is certainly grips from its first breath, but emerges as an album destined to be one of the most impressive doom and 2014 debuts.



Bast upcoming tour dates with Conan 2014

March 14th Nottingham, Soan Studios

March 15th Bournemouth, The Anvil

March 16th Birmingham, The Asylum 2

March 17th Glasgow, Audio

March 18th Aberdeen, Live at Downstairs

March 19th Manchester, Kraak Gallery

March 20th Cardiff, The Full Moon

March 21st Brighton, The a Prince Albert

March 22nd London at Electrowerkz

March 23rd Mousetrap, Basingstoke

RingMaster 23/02/2014

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Lightning Swords of Death: Baphometic Chaosium


    Primal and bleak, Baphometic Chaosium the new album from occult black metal band Lightning Swords Of Death, is an unforgiving and unrelenting torrent of evocative and menacing irreverence. It is uncompromising and challenging to the core, a release which will ignite distrust and fear in some and instinctive rapture in others, but for all it will be a lingering, uncomfortable, and unforgettable experience.

Around six years ago the LA band grabbed attention with their debut album The Golden Plague, the release taking the provocative fusion of occult sciences and the exacting sounds of the bands put in motion two years earlier, into an open intrusive reality. The release alongside the devastating live performances of the band demanded and received impressive acclaim and attention with the band surrounding and following the album with stunning displays of insidious performances alongside the likes of Nachtmystium and High On Fire, and as openers on the Danzig Blackest Of The Black Tour. The band gave 2008 their second release in the shape of a split CD with Valdur which though limited to only availability at their live shows drew further unbridled praise. Signing with Metal Blade Records in 2010, the band with new drummer Mike Vega on board, unleashed their second album The Extra Dimensional Wound to again rich responses. A US tour with Kreator and a place on the Evangelia Amerika Tour headlined by Behemoth followed as did being hand -picked to support Immortal during their only Los Angeles appearance and a performance at the 2010 Scion Music Festival.

Now the band has returned as a quintet with lead guitarist Chris Velez joining vocalist Autarch, bassist Menno, guitarist Roskva, and039841515121 Vega, and an album in Baphometic Chaosium which leaves one feeling violated and enriched in equal measure. Described as a ‘devotional work, dedicated to their patron god – A mind altering experience compelled by the embodiment of chaos, death and ecstasy entitled’, the album is a black web of ravenous and spiralling intensity and vicious spiteful hunger.

The title track lays a haunting atmospheric scurry upon the senses before opening up thumping rhythms and grasping guitar caresses. The guttural pit-borne scowls of Autarch express the shadows with malevolence and venom whilst the song expands into a breath sucking weave of raptorial rhythms and oppressive riffs. The bass of Menno is a charnel soaked host of black intensity amongst the merciless riffing and corrosive vocals bringing additional magnetic depth to what is a relatively straight forward gait to the track yet one openly incendiary in inventive intent.

The strong start becomes a furnace of high tempo annihilation as Acid Gate next rampages through the ear to assault and condemn the senses to an exhausting and compelling violation. It holds no inkling of mercy or light, the dense blackened malice of the track an overwhelming seizure of emotions and thoughts. It as do all of the tracks,  erodes and permeates until the listener is infused with and enclosed in the black, light extinguishing intensity.

The swamp of hornet intense vehemence which drives Psychic Waters is a delicious and sensational demonic saturation of the senses whilst R’Lyeh Wuurm is the darkest fury of unforgiving riffs, destructive rhythms, and vocal threatening. It is an outstanding malefaction with a heart blacker than any devouring chasm and the sonic armoury to bring instant submission to its towering primal ravishment but the album reaches its most compelling malignant depths with Epicyclarium. Dispersing a mixed variation to the vocal encroachment let alone the inspired expanse of the music, the track is a sonic incantation for the darkest passions with a snarl and rumble to riffs and energy which awakens essences of early Killing Joke to the black metal satanic distillery. The nasty endeavour is with ease the best track on the album which considering the strength of all shows the height of its sensational confrontation.

Closing with Oaken Chrysalis and another striking and contagious emotional brawl, Lightning Swords of Death has created in Baphometic Chaosium, a release which impacts on all aspects of the body, emotions, and thoughts. Whether the album has enough to make it one which will head thoughts when best of lists are formed come December time will tell but it will certainly be in the considered pile.


RingMaster 23/01/2013

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Bison b.c.: Lovelessness

It might not be borne of the thickest of sonic mud to consume the senses, but Lovelessness from Canadian sludgers Bison b.c. is certainly one of the most corrupted and venomous releases to gestate in the imagination this year. It is an album which suffocates light and hope, especially within its theme of the desperation in the search for love. It is a collection of searing and smothering tracks which scald emotions and numb the senses.  The release is a violent canker, an erosion of fantasy and reality, depending on your direction of view, and an album which one blissfully and willingly wants to continue to suffer.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Lovelessness is the third full length album from the band and shows that the quartet has not mellowed in attitude or sound. Recorded alongside acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance), the album is a raw corrosion which engulfs the ear and beyond in sonic flames and insidious intensity. Whether it offers anything strikingly new is debatable but as a blistering and vindictive alternative to safety within peace it cannot be faulted.

From the opening smoking guitar weaves of first track An Old Friend, a sizzling form of mesmerism is begun. The guitar play of James Farwell and Dan And unleash a fiery tease which evolves into a heavy and chaining groove to immediately capture the imagination. It holds a repetitive structure and course for the moment as the vocals of both men squall like wind driven flames, their tones an acidic spiteful rub. As the bass of Masa Anzai prowls within the melodically flaring sparks and thumping rhythms of Matt Wood, it is impossible not to be sucked into the impressive tempest of stoner sounds and energies.  Into its stride the track flexes its muscle and pace, making for a riotous and merciless pleasure. It is a track without unnecessary complications and involvements, just a thoroughly compulsive and unforgiving rage.

If the first song is a rage the following Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness is a volcanic eruption of punk spite and unbridled abrasions.  From its excellent opening first minute crust punk destruction, the track evolves through to a scarring soundscape of jarring rhythms and magnetic discord. It verges on painful but always is wholly absorbing, the sharp imagination and scowling vocals springing from the emotive suffering and intrusive sonic salt. The track never lets go of its psyche tearing grip, its presence igniting passions and suffering with equal but continually welcome accomplishment.

Last and First Things and Blood Music both continue the destructive intent of the release, the first emerging from a distressed ambience into a furnace of insatiable classic metal and stoner shards twisted into spears of irresistible might and grandeur. The song is as raw and malevolent as any other on the release but holds an imperial blues breath within its creativity. The second of the two like many tracks starts with restrained and open lures before shredding their more polite shackles to rampage and distress the senses. The song is a more thrash cored piece, a bruising encounter which takes its time to create the fullest of damage but is sure of its aim and target.

Lovelessness is an album which takes time to become the contagious companion it ultimately will with all stone/sludge/ doom fans, its uncompromising intensity and creativity as noxious as its lyrical theme. Ending with two more staggering and undeniably satisfying tracks in Clorapine Dream and Finally Asleep, both further sonic poisons to devour without reticence, the album is an impressive and appetizing consumption. Bison b.c. might not have given the album of the year but certainly have let loose one of the more aggravating pleasures to be assaulted by.


RingMaster 22/10/2012

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