StormWolf – Howling Wrath

StormWolf is a band from Italy who has just released their debut album in the shape of Howling Wrath. Though formed in 2014, the release will be the first real introduction to the Genoa heavy metallers for most and makes one powerful statement even for those of us without a natural infinity for their chosen genre.

Starting out as a studio project formed by vocalist Elena Ventura and guitarist/principal songwriter Francesco Natale, StormWolf eventually found its way to current line-up of bassist Francesco Gaetani, guitarist Dave Passarelli and newest member in drummer Tiziana Cotella alongside the founding pair, the latter joining the band last year. Fusing classic and fresh heavy metal with essences of the blues and their own individual imagination, the band released Swordwind in 2015, an encounter primarily destined just for labels, radio, fanzines etc. It was a well-received encounter followed by StormWolf earning the opportunity to open for to Lacuna Coil and Necrodeath among their live successes the following year. With their current line-up in place, the band set about creating their official debut, Howling Wrath last year with its release coming through Italian label Red Cat Records.

It opens with The Phoenix, the track rising up through stirring winds with immediate sonic flames and enterprise. Ventura swiftly commands attention and impresses with her vocals, though the amount of words she tries to get into certain lines of the chorus is maybe too much a mouthful but no issue, while Natale and Passarelli weave a similarly magnetic web of sound and craft around her. With firm rhythms creating a thick and alluring spine and Natale further conjuring on his guitar, the track gets the album off to a potent and captivating start.

Winter of the Wolf is just as eager to engage the listener, riffs and rhythms climbing and rapping upon the senses driven by the rapacious energy inspired by the guitars. There is a caustic edge to the track too which only adds to its quick appeal but tempered by the melodic tendrils and twists which bring an array of worldly spices. As it marches through ears or tenaciously smoulders on the senses, the song seals keen attention with Ventura again escalating the persuasion.

Next up, old school hues line Marathon, band inspirations such as Van Halen and Judas Priest an easy guess as the song boldly strolls with familiar flavours and blossoms around them with StormWolf’s own imagination while Fear of the Past mixes up its attack and adventure with zeal and invention. Both tracks hit the spot though maybe not as fully as Swordwind which throughout had bodies bouncing and vocal chords indulging as its anthemic battlefield unfolded.  An unexpected slip into calm and melodic elegance only added to its success, that and the already notable prowess of Ventura, Natale and co.

Through the blues scented, hard rock lined Lightcrusher and the riveting instrumental weaving of Thasaidon, the album only tightened its hold, the second of the two especially outstanding while Soulblighter brings a feral almost primal graining to its part predacious fully compelling trespass. Though not quite matching the heights of many before it, the track offers moments of real magnetism.

The final trio of All We Are, One False Move, and Me Against the World unleash their own highly agreeable lures, the first a Maiden-esque fuelled anthem, its successors respectively a melancholic romance of a ballad moving in a funereal march and a ballsy rock ‘n’ roll romp. The latter pair both are bonus tracks upon Howling Wrath and each a Lizzy Borden cover, the penultimate song one of the major highlights of the album.

It is easy to hear why StormWolf is beginning to draw broader acclaim and attention their way with more surely to follow through Howling Wrath. As mentioned, heavy metal especially classic does not exactly spark real excitement here but the Italian’s album was full enjoyment from its first to last breath which says it all.

Howling Wrath is out now via Red Cat Records /7hard Records.

 https://www.facebook.com/Stormwolf.it/

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Karnak – The Cult Of Death

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Uncompromising and ravenous, the new mini-album from Italian death metallers Karnak is a furious consumption of the senses but equally a deceptively rewarding one which with bravery and strong will before its ferocity provides a compelling and invigorating examination of senses and thoughts. Made up by five predatory tracks, The Cult Of Death is an annihilatory turbulence through the ear which consists of four new songs linked to a concept inspired by Aleister Crowley, as well as a cover of a Celtic Frost track.  With savage essences which put you in mind of the likes of Incantation, Pestilence, Nile, Morbid Angel, and Suffocation, the release is a potent and dramatic gnawing of the synapses marking the Monfalcone hailing quartet as a persistently formidable proposition.

Formed in 1993 by drummer Stefano Rumich, the band released numerous demos before making a strong impression away from their local area with debut album Perverted, the first release under the name Karnak. This was successfully followed by Melodies Of Sperm Composed, an album which saw the band evolve from their initial pure grind/death metal stance exploring elements of jazz, samples and more to add flavour and colour to the still destructive tempest of sound. Third album Tutti I Colori Del Buio was released in 2002 before the band went on a break provoked by line-up changes. 2009 saw their return and the signing with Casket Records with the release of fourth album Dismemberment coming the following year. A tour supporting Krisiun and Kataklysm pushed the band out further in 2011, though by now having supported the likes of Impaled Nazarene, Suffocation, Nile, Decapitated, Avulsed, Necrodeath, Pyogenesis, Destruction, Fleshgod Apocalypse and more over the years, Karnak was no longer a hidden secret. Last year the band supported Malevolent Creation, Krisiun, and Vital Remains on another European tour followed by another with Deicide. Currently working on their next album, the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Francesco Ponga, bassist/vocalist Lorenzo Orsini, guitarist/vocalist Marco Polo, and Stefano Rumich raise real anticipation and hunger for said release with The Cult Of Death, its bestial creative assault wholly persuasive.

The opening Intro just lays out a simple rhythmic beckoning but its temptation is irresistible and almost tribal as it evolves into The cover_karnak_thecultofdeathConstruction Of The Pyramid (The Demon’s Breath) who replays its offering before opening the gate to an intensive exhausting technically honed riff driven blaze which scorches the senses with the brewing animosity of the song and its breath is not far behind in carnivorous intent. With vocals roaring like the oldest colossal predator imaginable, the track lurches at the senses with insatiable energy aligned to a more restrained but unreserved sonic and rhythmic stalking. Furies of technical and acidically melodic guitar do initially wrong foot emotions after their submission to the easy to devour onslaught, but soon persuade craft and evocative hues.

It is an impressive start repeated and then surpassed by The Construction Of The Pyramid Beta (Invocation), the Meshuggah like web laid down around the passions at the start over run by the torrential thick sonic mass of intensity and suffocating ambience. Doom oppressive and sludge lumbering, the shift bleeds the air of light and oxygen but equally ignites thoughts with shards of melodic light and colour before the nightmarish soundscape with its heaviness and rabid vocals seems to claw like a swarm of patient demons at the psyche. As with the release it is not at times the easiest or most comfortable listen on first impressions but beneath the barbarous surface and many deeper levels there is a magnetic and superbly crafted well of invention and skilled temptation.

The nagging chugging which leads the song to a dissipating climax is immediately thrown aside by the sadistic entrance of The Construction Of The Pyramid Gamma, a start which is only built upon and intensified the further the track chews at the ear with the drum attack of Rumich unrelentingly and impossibly thrilling. Also unafraid to bring a potent melodic and sonic adventure to the striking narrative of the release, the track is a frequently changing and provoking treat concluding and summing up the new songs and strength of the album perfectly.

Completed by the cover of Celtic Frost song Jewel Throne, the release is an enthralling malevolent engagement. The final track is more than decent but as accomplished as it is it is not a match for the previous trio of songs. Quite simply The Cult Of Death really gets the appetite aflame for Karnak’s forthcoming album whilst making a thoroughly satisfying meal right now.

http://www.karnakdeath.com/

9/10

RingMaster 02/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Carved: Dies Irae

   CARVED (1)

     Having made a strong impact with their 2010 EP, Italian death metallers Carved have returned with their debut album Dies Irae to confirm all the promising and eager thoughts earned previously for their carnivorous and dramatic sound. The nine track release is a gripping and imaginative slice of melodic brutality which arguably does not venture into any new pastures for the genre but nevertheless seizes and rewards the senses with impressive and provocative aggressive invention.

Formed in 2007, the sextet from La Spezia as mentioned brought plenty of acclaim and positive responses their way from numerous international extreme metal zines with their first EP, a release which also brought the band to the attention of black/thrashers Necrodeath who took them on their 25th Anniversary European tour. Shows with many notable bands including Schizo, Vexed, Bejelit, Mastercastle, Death Mechanism, Destrage, and Doomraiser followed before the band began recording their first album. Completed at the beginning of this year, the Bakerteam Records released Dies Irae is a formidable and impacting release which is sure to ignite the interest and passions of extreme metal even further.

The opening Dies Irae (Praeludium) is a delicious instrumental, a dawning world and emotional expanse with a brewing BT 022 Covergrandeur and imposing atmosphere. At its final caress the following Echo Of My Cinderella (The Final Symphony) surges through the ear with a composed force and melodic enchantment especially elevated by the washing keys of Mattia Nuti and female vocal soothing. Immediately and consistently the song captivates with its scorching warmth and impending intensity soon translated into an uncompromising onslaught ignited by the gnawing guitar snarls of Alessio Rossano and Damiano Terzoni. The predatory growl and sharp twang of the bass from Lorenzo Nicoli is the final spark to the tempest driven by the vicious overbearing growl of vocalist Cristian Guzzon. His delivery ravages the senses with unbridled contempt but is tempered by the excellent melodic invention and unassuming touches which persistently break out on the excellent full starter.

The previous track shows there is plenty going on beyond just melodic death metal and as the likes of Enter The Silence and Scripta Manent (Bullshit) continue the outstanding encounter, the often unexpected and unpredictable invention is open and thrilling. The first of the pair is veined by what is to be an impressive feature of the album, the raptorial rhythms of drummer Giulio Assente as well as a tight ear gripping groove. Bringing some additional and inspiring clean vocals into its intense heart and incendiary guitar sonics and solo, the track captures the imagination with irresistible power especially when an electro whisper spreads to a louder voice. The second of the pair is a savage yet majesty brawl upon the senses, its presence antagonistic yet endearing with a fluid engagement between both extremes. One of the bigger highlights on the album the track is an exceptional conspirator to the passions.

Both At The Gates Of Ice and Black Lily Of Chaos offer scintillating pinnacles to the album as well, the first featuring outstanding vocals is a thunderous and glorious proposition. Such the strength of the extra vocals and their effect on an already impressive song there is the hope that the band explores this union more ahead in their creative intentions. The second track steals top honours upon the album, its unforgiving energy and malevolent predatory urgency irresistible whilst the grievous delivery of Guzzon and the breath of the song leave fires burning inside. The track does offer a full respite from its brutal furnace midway, a step in calmer melodic persuasion unpredicted but pleasingly crafted for a folk/progressive lilt. The eventual return after a smooth transition of merging extremes, to the intensity and venomous delivery though is even more welcomed and completes a tremendous and inciting slab of imagination.

     Dies Irae is a great debut and to be fair though it does not exactly break down boundaries the more of its company you immerse within the more elements and small things begin to revise that initial view. Carved on the evidence of their album is set to have a strong voice within extreme metal if not now certainly in the near future.

http://www.staycarved.com/

http://www.facebook.com/StayCarved

8/10

RingMaster 26/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Skineater: Dermal Harvest

    Skineater photo

    Rife with sabre sharp sonics and a carnal malevolence transferred through destructively precise riffing and viciously antagonistic rhythms, Dermal Harvest the debut album from Swedish death metallers Skineater, is an impressive and savage pleasure which leaves pure satisfaction and pleasure in its annihilatory wake. Arguably the album is not venturing into new realms but with its aggressively sculpted malice and charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence it does not need to be to ignite the passions.

Skineater was formed in 2008 by guitarist Håkan Stuvemark (ex – Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, and Vicious) upon leaving as bass player in GrandExit. Moving back to his main instrument he recruited drummer Jeramie Kling, drummer in The Absence, Infernaeon , and Ninety Minute, with the pair recording two songs the following year. It was not until 2011 though that the project found impetus with Stefan Westerberg  (ex- Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, World Below, and Steel Attack) taking up the bassist position in the band. Soon after signing with Pulverised Records with whom the album is released, the band expanded further with the addition of guitarist Kari Kainulainen (ex – Mourning Sign and Amaran), vocalist Jörgen Ström (The Mary Major), and replacing Kling, drummer Matte Modin (Raised Fist, ex – Dark Funeral, Defleshed, and Sportlov). Recorded at various locations with mixing and mastering at Studio Underground (Carnal Forge, Steel Attack, Fleshcrawl, Necrodeath) in Sweden, Dermal Harvest is an irresistible result of a group of veteran musicians unleashing a fresh and voracious passion and sound which has maybe been festering within over the years, such its organic and instinctive animosity musically and lyrically.

     He Was Murdered makes the first rapier like incision into the senses though its finesse only follows a bludgeoning entrance from Dermal Harvest Coverriffs and rhythms  with vocals squalls casting acid on the ear like venom filled cluster bombs. With a slight aside in energy for the guitars to seep their own tightly weaved sonic  malevolence, the track forges a violent intrusion with blistering guitar play and crippling drums assaults menacingly accompanied by the delicious malefaction of the bass. It is a snarling brawling encounter which exhausts the energies whilst leaving one simultaneously enthused and ignited by primal intent.

The following Dismantling and Your Life Is Mine continue the ravaging assault on the person mentally and physically, both tracks raw and unrelenting in their abrasive animosity and unforgiving ferociousness. Like the opener they also entwine moments of sheer melodic beauty which are as unpredictable and rewarding as they are unexpected and warmly welcomed as some respite within the towering destruction surrounding them. The guitar play and invention of Stuvemark and Kainulainen is exceptional and their imaginative quieter melodic addresses sit perfectly within the tempests without any seam or drop in fluidity present.

In hindsight though immensely impressive and pleasing in their company, the first trio of songs are mere appetisers which certainly leave the listener enlivened but not as fulfilled as tracks like Made Of Godsick manage to achieve such their triumph. It is at this point that the album fully fires up its heart and furnace to wreak the strongest havoc and pleasure upon the person. The song is a riveting construct of quarrelsome fervour and burning invention which sows the deepest pleasures within. It is a mordant storm musically and in intensity equalled by the excellent and sonically rabid Through The Empire and then exceeded by the sensational Stab. This track strips, grinds, and seduces the senses and emotions throughout, its passage insistent, unrelenting, and sizzling with melodic flames, scorching imagination, and predatory hunger. The best track on the album it sums up the wonderful grotesque that is Skineater perfectly.

The rapacious, and perversely addictive Drifting is another major player of the passions, its greed and hunger musically and violently pure hellacious manna for the heart. Again it shows just how masterful and skilful the band is as individuals but also as a unit and combining the melodic side of the genre to outright volcanic metal fury.

Dermal Harvest is an exceptional release which leaves one smouldering contently under its aggression and quality, and also possibly whimpering. Yes it is not breaking new ground but it is using the essences of the genre in a way not many others can contemplate let alone employ. If the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Bloodbath, and Hypocrisy exploit your passions, than Skineater is a band for you.

http://www.skineater.se

www.facebook.com/Skineater666

8/10

RingMaster 21/02/2013

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