Ophe – Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude

Ophe is the solo project of Bargnatt XIX, guitarist/vocalist with French outfit Område. His main band is a proposition which entangles an array of styles and experimentation into avant-garde soundscapes and has grabbed our imaginations since the release of their 2015 album Edari and even more so with its startling successor Nåde two years later. So you can imagine we were only too pleased to take a look at Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude, the debut Ophe album when Bargnatt (Christophe Denhez of Nerv, Mur, and In The Guise Of Men) got in touch. Despite having embraced the ambience hued climates of post rock, industrial, electronica, and avant-garde metal merged by Område though, ears were not prepared for Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude.

Certainly living up to its tag of experimental avant-garde black metal, Ophe’s sound is much more expansive than that. It is a ravenous maze of sound and adventure set in a tempest of emotion and atmospheric dissonance. Whether it is something you can say you physically enjoy is still up for debate but as one fiercely captivating and relentlessly tempting challenge it is inescapable.

From opener Somnum Sempiternum the senses are taken on a turbulent sonic flight; a buffeting of winds around perpetual rallies of rhythmic antipathy the initial engagement. Bargnatt’s vocal currents are just as harsh within the intensive but controlled cyclone, rasping breath on sonic causticity and melody flirting with discord and dissonance. As invasive and toxic as it is an infectious hue merges within the emotional and aural trespass adding to the imagination sparking incitement that has already brewed. The track continues to grate and tempt across it’s almost nine minutes, never giving enough to mercilessly seduce but never coming close to leaving ears searching for alternative calms. Though a one man project, the album features the sax borne craft of Val Dorr; it too an almost schizophrenic, to use the press release’s description, protagonist in the midst of the blackened ambient storm.

Decem Vicibus is a calmer but no less dark investigation. Its tenebrific air wraps around mellow bordering on whispered vocals whilst alongside a hellacious scene unfurls hue by hue, cry by cry until the listener feels like they are trapped experiencing the visceral drama of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The solemn chimes of church bells only add to the track’s deceitful incantation before XVIIII provides its own individual portentous peace complete with sax squeaks but only leading to a rabid smog of emotional disharmony clad in a web of musical unpredictability.

Whereas its air is thick almost acrid, the following Missive Amphibologique D’Une Adynamie A La Solitude has a clearer atmosphere but one just as sinister as guitars, bass, and sax host a dance of emotive dissidence. The best track within the album, it is a weave of rhythmic temptation and melodic seduction but each a welcoming vice flush with the animus of torment the vocals openly share. The track is superb, the moment the imagination ignited feverishly and even with an arguably over long presence enthrals from start to finish.

The album closes with Cadent, an elegant melody woven piece with clean vocals and harmonic reflections. All the while though, darkness lurks providing a threatening undercurrent which does not have its day but adds dark intensity to the beauty.

It is a fine end to an album which might have to fight to be called actually enjoyable yet we did indeed enjoy every moment of its tempest filled bitter atmosphere if some moments more lustily than others. For something to turn your calm, emotions, and thoughts into captivated turmoil Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude is a certain quest to explore.

Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude is out now via My Kingdom Music; available @ https://ophe.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OPHEBM/

Pete RingMaster 28/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

OMRÅDE – Nåde

2015 saw the release of an album which deserved far more attention than it got and warranted every syllable of praise offered its “visual and aural telescope.” Edari was the invention of French duo OMRÅDE who now return with its equally startling successor Nåde. That first full-length made ears and imagination pay attention, the second simply demands it and repays with what will surely be classed as one of the major adventures of the year.

OMRÅDE consists of vocalist/guitarist Bargnatt Xix, known elsewhere as Christophe Denhez of Nerv and previously Mur and In The Guise Of Men, and drummer/keyboardist/programmer Arsenic, christened Jean-Philippe Ouamer and the skin hitter of Idensity and formerly of Nerv. Together they weave a collection of avant-garde soundscapes nurtured from everything around the ambience hued climates of post rock, industrial, electronica, and avant-garde metal, and that is simplifying their fascinating explorations of sound and emotion. It is a mix which created a compelling proposal in the cinematic adventure of Edari and now the even more aurally haunting and stirring Nåde.

Whereas the first album felt like looking across a broad canvas of universes there is much stronger intimacy fuelling Nåde, like ears and thoughts are peering in on the tempestuous fortunes and emotions of a single soul representing the surroundings and lives within a noir lit and suffocating climate. That is not to say it does not venture through worldly landscapes too, just they all feel cored by the same instinctive melancholy and depressive clad spirit. Influences upon the project include the likes of Ulver, Manes, and God Is An Astronaut, essences certainly seeping across the new album along with an equal infusion of Nine Inch Nails/Palms scented shadows and suggestiveness.

Nåde opens up with Malum and swiftly has electronic beats and guitar coaxing ears as Denhez’ vocals share the song’s heart and beleaguered emotions. Pretty much haunting thoughts and psyche from its first breath, its inner psychosis is just as swift in stirring the imagination as vocals hint at a soul trapped yet seemingly revelling in the inevitability of inescapable turmoil. Strings and brass soon after bring their seductive shadows and flames respectively to the blossoming atmosphere and body of the song, a cinematic wash in tow yet that personal dispute continues to voice things. It is a stunning piece of music and vocal insight, instantly surpassing anything on that impressive first album and just the start of a uniquely stirring journey.

The following XII has a gentler touch, its hazy atmosphere jazzy and sombre yet with a warm glow which only attracts like a night’s final brandy. Keys tease as Leo Sors’ guesting sax woozily blows with suggestive prowess, each flame embracing reflective vocals and in turn a hotly simmering funk shuffle. With Bernard-Yves Querel adding his guitar, the track at times is something akin to 6:33 certainly with the emerging depths and mercurial intensity of the track; ears and imagination enthralled and sucked into its unpredictable enterprise and dark instrumental theatre. Whereas the first was physically provocative, the second is emotionally inciting with just as rich results before the outstanding Enter beckons the listener into its melodically woven, progressively shaped, and increasingly virulent proposal. With a snarling brooding within the guitars and an unstoppable catchiness lining its brewing rapacity, the song is a lively cauldron of infectiousness and trespassing anxiety, each conflicting with and accentuating the other.

Hänelle is pure heart ruptured melancholy, another track which builds in intensity and intimate drama on every level from an initial smoulder nurtured as much by Jonathan Maronnier ‘s clarinet as emotional shadows while Styrking Leið is a haunted croon; a siren like lure of vocals and keys and if slower to tempt as its predecessors simply growing into another lingering highlight especially with its increasing visual potency and emotional desperation. The song sees Edgard Chevallier guesting on guitar while next up The Same For The Worst features additional vocals from L. Chuck D in its jazzy intoxication with Julien Gebenholtz’s bass a captivating pleasure all on its own. Becoming more fevered and intense with emotion as sounds share a volatile almost bedlamic restlessness, the track has ears and thoughts gripped. Certainly it is not the easiest listen within Nåde but boy is it one of the most rewarding and impacting.

The final pair of tracks ensure captivation and pleasure is as burning as ever. Baldar Jainko is as similarly intensive as the previous track, its heart and scenery a sharing and conflict of peace and faith with emotions and suggestiveness working on personal and worldly levels. Closing track, Falaich, is almost apocalyptic in tone and touch; an epilogue or portent of our emotional and physical destructions and apathy to it which is seriously gripping from start to finish and only increasing the vice as it provokes the darkest thoughts and richest enjoyment.

It is easy to suggest that if Edari impressed and impacted on you previously, Nåde will blow you away and for newcomers to OMRÅDE, the moment when music might just become much more than ear pleasing.

Nåde  is released May 26th via My Kingdom Music.

https://www.facebook.com/Omradetheband    http://omradetheband.wix.com/omrade

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gloomy Hellium Bath – Sistema Solera

ARTWORK GHB_RingMaster Review

Always partial to some creative bedlam or a seemingly deranged adventure which, no matter how much you think you understand it, never fails to surprise and leave a vacant expression of pleasure on the face, Sistema Solera was destined to spark an eager appetite here for its sonic psychosis. It is easy to predict that the riveting debut album from French trio Gloomy Hellium Bath is not going to be for everyone but if the likes of Pryapisme, Mr Bungle, or 6:33 light the fires, then this unique fusion of industrial, electronic, and metal bred incitement is well worth exploring.

Gloomy Hellium Bath is the union of former guitarist Würm Edgard Chevallier (guitar/machine/samples) and Christophe Denhez (guitar /vocals), the latter no stranger to exciting ears through his work and releases with Nerv, Mur, and Område. Emerging in 2014, the Val d’Oise hailing project, with a line-up completed by bassist Neil, also previously of Würm, takes no prisoners with its infestation of the senses and emotions. Their sound is compelling aural violence and off-kilter enticement spun with black humoured mischief and realism caked antagonism; the result a cacophony of raw and intricate ideas honed into a roaring storm of gripping chaos and as shown by Sistema Solera, deviously captivating.

Fight is first, instantly throwing a melee of voices and fizzing sound at ears before leaping into a psychotic stomp with carnivorous walls, ravenous vocals, and warped electronic flirtation. Imagine Mindless Self Indulgence and Rabbit Junk in a dirty fusion with Young Gods and you get a whiff of the lunacy soaked enterprise, though from its ‘mid-season’ break it returns as another fresh industrial shaped punk of a proposal with the vocal alone insanely bewitching.

It is a great start continuing with Alcoholique Djerk, the track organically evolving from certain aspects of its predecessor to explore an even more industrial metal hued canter quickly working its way into the psyche. Equally it is unafraid to expose raw nerves with caustic eruptions and abrasing animosity, or indeed to throw one or two exotic or incendiary sonic slithers of surprise in to the mix too.

Fuck It swings in next, warm yet fuzzy air and sound coating ears as melodic rock with grunge lined edges colours the song’s sinister intent before hardened and rapacious provocation blends with funk urged enterprise and vocal revelry. Across its body, the track reveals a host of flavours, country rock and jazzy scented essences amongst the metallic turbulence again walling in varied endeavours within the song.

The album’s title track merges haunted and dark natured ambience with atmospheric volatility straight after, its Nine Inch Nails toned electronic grumble drawing in lighter exploits throughout to evocatively spark ears and imagination whilst setting up the tenaciously energetic and dynamic Lady Boy with its steely schizophrenic rock ‘n’ roll carrying elements of Trepalium and We All Die (Laughing) to it.

Across the sonic dissonance of Ouarchhh and the industrial neurosis of Bloody Mary, band and album wrong-foot, ignite, and twist body and thoughts inside and out. The first of the pair has a slight whiff of US band Pere Ubu to it in many ways as essential grooves and hooks lurk and spear an unpredictable landscape of dark intrigue and disorientating aural dementia with emotions to match whilst its successor scythes through and permeates the senses via a debilitating cyber invasion.

A melodic calm of sorts mellows things a degree or two through Fucking Mashine, its emotive and enveloping croon expectantly laced with provocatively disturbed and manipulative additives bringing light and dark, reserved and twisted elements in potent collusion. The track brings another open and striking variation to the album as too the CD version’s closer Dead Rising Horse, a drama of piston driven rhythms and scuzzy temptation aligned to melodic seduction and tempestuous extremes in sound and creative provocation. It is a rousing conclusion to a release which might need time to get fully under the skin but is ultimately very likely to if the kind of warped imagination it holds is the kind of pleasure which gets the senses and passions inflamed.

As suggested for some it might be an adventure too far, but Sistema Solera for the rest of us is as easy to greedily devour treat.

Sistema Solera is out now via Dooweet Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/fm/artist/gloomy-hellium-bath/id1057587349

https://www.facebook.com/gloomyhelliumbath

Pete RingMaster 17/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sibiir – Swallow & Trap Them

sibiir_web_RingMaster Review

Sibiir is a quintet of experienced musicians from Sigh & Explode, Jack Dalton, Do You Love Melena? and Call:Vega who decided to unite in 2014 to get together and craft some heavy and intense tunes that would reflect their mutual love for the heavier and darker side of music.” It is safe to say on the evidence of their two track debut Swallow & Trap Them, intent has been brewed, explored, and rabidly achieved. A fusion of hardcore ferocity and spite, atmospheric black metal trespass, and murky post metal despondence, the band’s sound and release swarms the senses with carnivorous intent and suffocating malevolence. Yet in its depths there is an instinctive contagion which flirts from within the raw tempest, a compelling lure which just pulls you further into the savagery.

sibiir_cover_RingMaster Review    Swallow & Trap Them is one of those proposals which will alienate as forcibly as it enslaves, not easy to imagine the encounter leaving too many in the middle ground undecided on their take on the fury. That intensity just adds something to a release though, an imposing take it or leave it air virtually demanding a reaction of some sort and certainly the two tracks from the Oslo band enforces that question.

The title track comes first, bestial rhythms and just as feral riffs descending on ears in horde like fashion. Already there is hostility which has the senses withering, even more rapidly once the throat shredding tones of Jimmy Nymoen sear air and song. That initial torrent of barbarous bruising continues throughout but to it guitarists Tobias Gausemel Backe and Steffen Grønneberg spin sinuous sonic enterprise and intrusiveness speared by the predatory call of Kent Nordli’s bass and the quite simply lethal swings of drummer Eivind Kjølstad. It is a maelstrom of energy and rancorous emotion but one unafraid to seed infectious hooks and addictive textures that ebb and flow across the volatile and continually evolving canvas of emotional and physical punishment.

You cannot say that second song These Rats We Deny is a lighter affair but from its first breath it has virulence to its character and smog of noise which just grips from the first second and never releases its hold even as the track throws itself through tortuous scenery and malevolent climates. Bands like Nerv and NVRVD come to mind during the fierce incitement, though it is hard to think of many fuelling their corrosive turbulence with the insidious addiction forging seducing that both tracks carry but These Rats We Deny especially exploits. Finally embalming ears and appetite with the juices of allegiance through a glorious chorus of anthemic band roars, the track and release leaves a big grin on the face and spark for lust in the passions.

You might suspect that Sibiir touched the sweet spot in personal tastes for us and will definitely do so for a great plague of others. These are the first two songs written and recorded by the band and let us hope not the last conjured by the get together of talent, for Swallow & Trap Them is nothing short of violently majestic.

Swallow & Trap Them is available from September 4th via Disiplin Media.

Pete Ringmaster 04/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/