Stoneburner – Life Drawing

Stoneburner

A compelling destructive seduction, Life Drawing the new album from US metallers Stoneburner, casts no doubts on the suggestion that the Portland quartet is one of the most exciting prospects in aural consumption out there.  Creating a scintillating weave of doom and sludge metal with atmospheric ingenuity and melodically sculpted temptation, the band escorts and very often drags a willing imagination across intensive and fiercely enveloping landscapes under tempestuously climactic sonic skies. The album enthrals and intimidates, inciting heavily emotive reactions to its own intimately emotional yet broadly applicable investigations of the “struggle to be a decent person in a world that keeps doing its best to cause you not to be.”

Formed in 2008 by drummer Jesse McKinnon (ex-Buried Blood) and guitarist Jason Depew (Buried At Sea), who had played together in many incarnations previously, and guitarist Elijah Boland, Stoneburner unleashed their first forage of the senses with the demo V.​L.​A. the following year. The band was soon making an impacting presence and noise within the Oregon underground scene, a proposition taken to greater attention and strength by the release of debut album Sickness Will Pass in 2012 as well as over the years the band’s acclaimed live performances which have seen them play with the likes of Yob, Sleep, EYEHATEGOD, Neurosis, Buzzov-en, Weedeater, Saint Vitus, Watain, Tragedy, Noothgrush, Graves At Sea, Lord Dying, Drop Dead, Whitehorse, Wind Hand, Bastard Noise and many more. Completed by bassist Damon Kelly (also Heathen Shrine and the son of Scott Kelly of Neurosis/ Shrinebuilder fame), Stoneburner now uncages their latest infestation of the senses and psyche, an encounter which leaves the listener simultaneously suffocated and invigorated.

Opening track Some Can smothers ears and senses from its first breath, a sonic breeze pulling in a thick and thuggishly textured collapse of NR088_STONEBURNER_frontcover_hi-res (1)antagonistic rhythms and prowling lumbering riffery. The track continues to slowly ravage air and recipient until the entrance of the vocals sparks a spurt of adrenaline and urgency to the persistently uncomfortable and demanding intent of the song. A masterful groove swings its bait openly and irresistibly across the dark bulk of the track whilst McKinnon offers slaps which simply send the body reeling and the appetite into greedier hunger. It is a dramatic and absorbing start where everything from the rapacious rhythms and carnivorous bass tone to the flesh scorching sonic designs of the guitars and the exhaustive vocals of Kelly, or possibly McKinnon with both providing  raw delivery across the release, outstanding alone and viciously majestic united.

The noir cloaked almost sinister and wholly magnetic initial coaxing of the following Caged Bird instantly has thoughts and attention gripped tighter. It is an imposingly provocative lure with the darkest irresistible shades of temptation, its destination a broad hint which you cannot anticipate with the piece at times offering the garage punk realms of say The Cramps as a possibility or the ravenous scenery of a Mastodon as an option to give just two examples. Where it does lead is into a corrosive tempest of sonic abrasion and virulent hostility wrapped in a doom drenched maelstrom of spite and malevolence. As its predecessor, the track finds a spark which injects an eager rabidity and raucous energy into the heart of the pestilential stalking and further on a bewitching melodic elegance as the song evolves and twists within its tortured stance.

The beautiful Drift brings a mellow respite next, the short acoustic guitar sculpted instrumental a safe peace before the savage tsunami of An Apology To A Friend In Need falls upon the ears. The track merges a melodic acidity and venomous intensity into a thunderously eventful and unpredictable adventure, rhythms and bass courting the uncompromising vocals for a merciless predation whilst the guitars seduce and carve up senses and imagination with a skill and ingenious ideation that is impossible not to be fully consumed and submissive for. The song is a beauty and the beast endeavour which is already in control of the passions before its turbulent mid-point.

Both the atmospherically enthralling Pale New Eyes and the Giver Of Birth immerse the listener into soundscapes which leave no room for outside interference. The first exploring a progressive essence to its scenic exploration before walking into a mouthwatering storm of sonic violation and rhythmic punishment, an oppressive brutality which only serves to ignite the imagination and exploit further. It is a riveting canvas of guitar invention and vocal ravishment around a frame of barbarous rhythms which ensures the short instrumental beauty of its successor with a haunting ambience is a psyche soothing godsend.

The next up Done is quite mesmeric and sensational, taking best song honours with ease despite the triumphs around it. Opening on a cinematic and again sinister entanglement for the imagination, it develops an eager stroll which continues to invite dark visions of a more filmic nature before striding through an intensive sludge fuelled narrative and infectiously incendiary drama in sound before the abrasing vocals add their strangled syllables and malice coated words. It is a brilliant tease and masterful persuasion and the perfect way to enter the immensely dangerous sonic world of Stone burner for newcomers.

You Are The Worst provides a colossal towering adventure to lose yourself within, every soar and fall within its antagonistic passage voraciously damaging and unrelentingly absorbing to almost match the plateau of the previous track. It turns into the most savage and bruising incitement on the album and in many ways the most satisfying before the closing epic persuasion of The Phoenix unveils its hypnotic journey. As good as eighteen minutes in length, the song emerges from a tightly enveloping almost claustrophobic birth within deep atmospheric waters. The song floats towards a crystalline light, heading up to a beckoning surface of escape and hope, its warmth realised by sultry guitar craft and caressing melodies. Initially intangible, malevolent intensity is also worming its way into the hues of the adventure, niggling away until erupting and soaking every twist and turn to become an inescapable cloud. It is a glorious technically impressive and narratively thrilling journey which never relaxes as the battle between light and dark rages within its imposing confines until the very end.

Life Drawing is a must for all with a keen appetite for masterful sludge and doom premises and those with a hunger for aggressive progressive explorations. It is not an easy listen at times but one of the most rewarding likely to be heard this year.

Life Drawing is available through Neurot Recordings now!

https://www.facebook.com/Stoneburner.PDX

9/10

RingMaster 15/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Steve Von Till – As The Crow Flies

NR006_SVT_AsTheCrowFlies-e1365102947744

    As The Crow Flies is a release which pushes all complications and unnecessary wrappings aside to unveil and inspire a core of emotive poetry and introspective inducement. It is a haunting meditative soundtrack to reflection, self and worldly; a record of dark beauty and an impacting seductive evocation from Steve Von Till, the Neurosis vocalist/guitarist, which leaves thoughts and emotions bare.

The album has its re-release via Neurot Recordings, the independent label founded by members of Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot and run day to day by Von Till and staff, which has grown into a fully-fledged label bringing releases from the likes of Ufomammut, Isis, Shrinebuilder, Neurosis, Across Tundras, US Christmas, Ides of Gemini, Oxbow, A Storm of Light, Amenra and many more to the world. As The Crow Flies was released right at the start of the labels emergence but has been out of print for many years. Its re-release thirteen years after the original indelible mark was made feeds a smouldering hunger which has laid waiting in those of us who missed it first time around.

As song after mesmeric song plays its heart and tale upon the ear, acoustic guitar and the gravelly low key whispering of Von Till part crooning and part serenading the imagination, the album visually emerged in the mind as a long lone fence within a melancholic sultry landscape of emotions, each song a post to lean upon as the cage stretches into the horizon and each drawing, inciting a reflective union with the suggestive atmosphere and smouldering ambience placed around thoughts. The surrounding breath and scenery is a shadow crafted intrigue beneath flaming hypnotic skies and upon a canvas of vividly coloured weaves employing everything from sadness and sorrow to hope and resignation. It is a scintillating and enthralling walk through its soundscape with the sounds musically and vocally bred for the fullest engagement.

The album opens with its most potent and captivating presence. Stained Glass offers up a deep resonating caress of the ear soon joined by the throaty sirenesque haunt of the cello, the pairing alongside the slightly grizzled tones of Von Till, a thought crafting blend of chiselled and organic beauty, the dark and light textures within an overall darkened spell leaving no room for escape as the song opens up with its emotive wash of provocative temptation for the mind and passions. As across most of the album, the simplicity is as riveting as it is impossibly addictive, its employment of repetition and singular chords resonating with one persistent voice like an emotive narcotic for nothing less than deep willing slavery to its powerful almost sinister charm.

The following We All Fall walks through darker fields, its residue of sombre elegance drifting across the ear with childlike folk seeded simplicity, its closing vocal temperance almost nursery rhyme like with a dark breath and intent. It is a riveting experience as powerful and enriching as its predecessor and is soon matched by the likes of Remember, a song with a breeze soaked in chant and pulsating glistening from the sun but equally leaving a teasing of impending cacophonies which are never realised but add wonderful cloud to the emotion exploration, and the exceptional Twice Born, another harvest of sublime melancholia enhanced by the blue touch and beauty of the cello and sky bound harmonies between Von Till and the golden tones of Kris Force from Amber Asylum, her celestial siren wrapped tones an irresistible fascination beside the restrained yet compelling tones of her companion.

Midheaven is a drone seeded meditative cloud which ensnares the senses with its single chord repetition occasionally joined by another singularly crafted stroke of discord touched melodic taunt. It is a starkly haunting piece from an equally barren landscape emotionally and visually, the journey coming near its end with a brooding intensity lifting its resentful head as final track Shadows in Stone approaches. Like earlier song Warning Of A Storm, the closing track crafts a sinister embrace which permeates every sense and thought whilst bringing all the elements which flamed throughout the album, that morose delicious cello cry, seductive caresses from the voice of Force, and the consciousness provoking guitar invention and inciting vocals of Von Till, into play. Once a rhythmic resonance and enticement of drums and percussion opens up the song further the sunset of imposing majestic radiance leaves the passions simply enflamed.

     As The Crow Flies is a wonderful album which gets better and better as well as more evocative with each venture into its heated sweltering depths and well worth its return for us stupid enough to have missed it the first time around.

http://www.vontill.org/

8.5/10

RingMaster 13/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com