Viathyn – Cynosure

Viathyn Press Photo 2

With a sound which revolves within a web of progressive, folk, power, and melodic metal, drawing on varying degrees of each essence with every twist of their imagination and invention, Canadian metallers Viathyn present another contagious and gripping proposition with new album Cynosure. Nine individual musical and creative emprises thick, the album presents a fruitful and colourful journey for ears and imagination. Every track is an intriguing and at times demanding proposition with more going on than can be taken in on initial unions. It is an attention wanting enticement though which roars with a melodic tenacity and strolls with muscular flirtation to give the richest rewards.

Formed in 2006, initially as the trio of guitarist Tomislav Crnkovic, guitarist Jacob Wright, and drummer Dave Crnkovic, Viathyn released the instrumental Demagogue EP in 2008. From there the band expanded with bassist Alex Kot coming in, whilst Tomislav added vocals to his duties. Debut album The Peregrine Way was unveiled in 2010 to enthused reactions from fans and media alike. It marked the band out for their songwriting, instrumentation, and equally the storytelling which on the album told the journey of an unnamed wandering man, through the highs and lows of his life. Cynosure is bred from the same creative template, in many ways an obvious continuation of its predecessor rather than providing a startling evolution in sound and intent, but still pushing the limits and enterprise of the band to new riveting and pleasing levels.

The album starts with Ageless Stranger, a track with an epic leaning tone and resourceful melodic scenery from the off. Guitars, keys, and vocal harmonies instantly spawn a radiant yet portentous atmosphere which the jabbing beats of Dave guides with a firm hand, leading it all into a rugged terrain of rampant riffs and concussive rhythms. The song is still swarmed over by the melodic appetite of the keys and guitars though, everything coming together for a maelstrom like tempest of enticement. The strong vocals of Tomislav bring another tempting texture to the mix whilst the fluid craft of Jacob bewitches from within the aggressive stride of the song. It is a pungent and invigorating start which as its successor, as much brings thoughts of a Dommin or Volbeat as it does of bands like Wuthering Heights and KingBathmat. The song is a constantly twisting and unpredictable yet flowing proposition matched by The Coachman.

The second song takes little time to explore a richer folk enterprise to its emerging stride of rock ‘n’ roll, before weaving in just as potent essences of heavy metal and melodic rock. It is impossible not to be drawn right into its vigorous revelry, Album Cover - Viathyn  - Cynosure - 2014every turn and new idea a lure to devour with ease and greed. The brief expulsion of raw growls does not quite work but is a mere instant in a song which vocally and musically simply infects ears and imagination for a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable encounter. There is also a theatrical mischief to the song which is given full clarity at the song’s end before Edward Mordrake thunders in on a storm of rhythmic agitation and fiery sonic temptation. Though not as immediately gripping as its predecessors, the song, with its seamless movement through varied gaits and imaginative endeavours, binds senses and thoughts in its successfully exploratory and surprising expression to keep them hungry and enthralled. The track also raises up slight comparisons to fellow Canadians New Jacobin Club at times, the drama in the skilled invention of the band’s individuals a similar and inescapable persuasion.

As mentioned there is plenty going on to reflect with mere words, this track a prime example as are both the following Shadows In Our Wake and Countess of Discordia, but that richness of depth and often tempestuously unleashed ideation ensures each partaking of a song reveals new aspects and adventures. The first of this pair of songs encloses ears with a heavy aggressive breath though it is soon aligned to an evocative wash of keys and the melodic narrative of the guitars. A thick gothic ambience also coats the song, lingering across the sinew toughened canvas and subsequent dramatic turns within the track whilst the second of the two leads by a great bass coaxing into a heavy and power metal blaze. Whether storming the senses with nostrils flared or seducing with mellower bordering on sinister melodies, the song is a glorious sonic waltz which gets better and bolder with every passing second.

Time Will Take Us All struggles to emulate the success of the previous song but still has ears and thoughts seriously engaged with its opening melancholic caress of keys and guitar, a potency matched by the emotive delivery of Tomislav. It is a song which as all on the album, builds and develops into a different proposition as it proceeds, its gentle climate discovering an imposing turbulence and emotive beauty along the way. It is not a track which lingers as others but provides another gripping tale to immerse within before the excellent folk/power metal escapade of Three Sheets To The Wind steals the passions. With a touch of Alestorm and Tyr to its Celtic folk stomp, the track swiftly recruits unbridled attention. As anthemic as all good power metal triumphs should be, the track soon has body and voice in tandem before exploring a progressive crafted landscape of mystery and invention, to keep ears and thoughts on their toes.

Completed by the dark atmospheric menace of Albedo, an outstanding track which is as predatory as it is sonically radiant and infectiously irresistible, and the closing title track, Cynosure is a peach of an encounter. The last song sums up release and band perfectly, an encounter built on a riotous elegance and creative bedlam honed into something sublime and intricately structured, not forgetting gloriously presented. The album is fun, at times unafraid to let its serious side have a rest, but most of all Cynosure is one of the most enjoyable and enterprising progressive metal releases this year.

The self-released Cynosure is available now @ http://viathyn.bandcamp.com/album/cynosure

http://www.viathyn.com

RingMaster 09/10/2014

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New Jacobin Club – Soldiers of The Mark

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Photo credit: Kathryn Trembach

It has been four long years since the release of the attention gripping and highly enjoyable shock rock opera This Treason but at last Canadian gothic rockers New Jacobin Club return with its successor, the equally thrilling Soldiers of The Mark. A leaner and more creatively aggressive encounter which leans arguably more to the horror punk side of the band than the band’s previous releases, it still voraciously embraces the theatrical drama and gothic elegance which is the trademark of the band and what sets them apart from the crowd. Soldiers of The Mark is overall though rock ‘n’ roll at its best, the band employing a wide range of flavours and styles in the body and musical narrative of a concept album which is sure to leave fans and newcomers even hungrier for the band’s inventive contagion.

The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Xerxes Praetorius Horde (aka The Horde), the Saskatoon band emerged in 1995 as a trio but had expanded in sound and size to a ten-legged tempest of unique incitement and expression by the time of their self-titled debut album in 2001. Fourth full-length, This Treason saw the band as a seven-piece unit pushing their sounds to new depths and heights whilst live, and often accompanied by the performance artists known as the Angry Teeth Freakshow, New Jacobin Club became renowned as not only one of Canada’s but metal’s most startling and exhilarating live acts. Across the years their reputation has continued to grow as the band shared stages with the likes of KMFDM, Voltaire, The Groovie Ghoulies, Nashville Pussy, and The Nekromantix amongst many. As mentioned it has been a fair gap between albums but Soldiers of The Mark shows the band has lost none of its potent visual and musical temptation but with a new line-up honed it into a more diverse and seductively predatory proposition.

Themed by the riveting premise that “a Turn-of-the-Century Gentleman’s Hellfire Club holds meetings and conducts depraved rituals to help bring about the end of the world as described in the Book of Revelations”, the album opens with The Mark. Instantly intrigue drapes over firm beats and a hazy glaze of guitar and keys which themselves hang over the imagination, coaxing thoughts to swiftly play with their tempting. It is a slow and strangely intimidating atmosphere initially but soon stirred up and twisted into a hungry charge of raw riffs and thumping rhythms led by the distinctive snarling vocal charm of The Horde. There is no escaping the tracks infectious primal bait or the emotive elegance of cello from The Luminous which strokes thoughts from within the striding persuasion of the song. Not for the last time on the album, a Misfits like breath flirts with ears but as a passing whisper immersed in the exotic imagination of the band, its hints pale against the bewitching theremin skills of Poison Candi and the dark emotive shadows cast by the cello. Driven by the stomping beats of drummer Rat King and further coloured by a punk tenacity bred by the guitar, the track is a compelling start to the album and immediate declaration that New Jacobin Club are back better than ever.

A classical stroke of guitar strings brings the following Parade of Innocents potently into ears and imagination, it’s slightly Latin hue evolving into a magnetic mesh of sinew sculpted beats and reflective melodies which are soon PromoImageabsorbed in the drama laid by the keys of Mistress Nagini and the throaty bass lures of The Ruin. It is an enthralling start which expands into a mix of Type O Negative and The Damned to give some idea of the delicious presence of the song. As with any NJC track though every moment is just an individual turn in its journey and narrative, a fresh twist coming here through the vocal temptation of Poison Candi which seizes the centre stage. Musically the song turns and swings with sonic ingenuity and invention from all sides yet that slimmer feel and texture to the song talked of earlier is evident showing that the band’s songwriting has again remarkably matured between releases.

Champagne Ivy brings fifties seeds to its gothic punk presence, its bass and cello croon casting shadows which are simultaneously lit by the swagger of the guitar and the band’s vocals. Again it is just one aspect as heavy metal riffing teases ears within a theremin swoon and darkly stringed seduction, producing a Volbeat meets Mötley Crüe incitement but different again. Its masterful enticement is soon left in the shade by Angel MMXIV and even more so A Grey Day to Die. The first of the pair is led vocally by Poison Candi and also parades heavy metal flames this time on a short but pungent gothic horror punk canvas. It is raw and unfussy, pure rock ‘n’ roll to greedily devour before the bigger meal of its successor. The second of the two roars and threatens in one breath and then unleashes some of the catchiest gothic pop enticing you could wish for. King Rat punishes the senses with his venomous swings whilst riffs growl with every note as the bass prowls the senses but it is only matched and enhanced by the virulent chorus and its anthemic contagion musically and vocally. Imagine Calabrese and March Violets in league with The Creepshow and you get an idea of the addictive majesty.

From one pinnacle to another as Into the Fire steps up next, a gentle provocative caress of chords and the melancholic beauty of the cello warming thoughts straight away. It is a transfixing entrance which only grows as romantic melodies and expressive shadows grip the song and ears. Like a bridge to This Treason, the song of all upon Soldiers of The Mark draws on the resourceful gothic rock invention of previous albums whilst exploring a fascinating rock pop and progressive ideation.

The fiery sonic mystery of Garthim makes for the next compelling endeavour. Bringing a texture rather than narrative, vocals talk from a distance, submerged in the gripping and haunting instrumentation which spills menace and apocalyptic beauty. It is a track for the imagination to run with for varied exploits, every swerve of its almost hostile causticity and its persistent melodic intrigue setting up the appetite for the outstanding romp of My Smile. Folkish in its infectious charm and rockabilly like in its tenacious enterprise, the track bounces around like an offspring of The Horrorpops but tempers its revelry with the mesmeric emotional drama of the strings and gothic keys alongside the sheer inescapable seduction of the theremin.

The album ends as strikingly as it starts with firstly the exceptional Seal of Metatron igniting the passions. With sonic washes lapping senses from time to time, the song is an aggressive yet controlled storm of heavy rock and gothic passion which takes every opportunity to wrong foot and surprise ears and thoughts with its innovative exploration. Its scintillating proposition is backed up by the irresistible rock ‘n’ pop of Return to Eden. With the cello melodically sighing around the pop vocal delivery of Poison Candi, the song instantly seduces before firing up feet and emotions with its unstoppable contagion. The track is gloriously mischievous in tone and vivacity, reminding easily of The Rezillos, yet has a psychobilly edge which only pushes its drama to richer success.

Soldiers of The Mark is New Jacobin Club at a whole new level. The band is still one of gothic rock’s finest protagonists but the band has now set down firm marks in rock ‘n’ roll a whole with rewarding recognition surely set to follow.

Soldiers of The Mark is available now digitally, on CD, and as on 12″ Vinyl with a hardcover companion book @ http://www.newjacobinclub.com/webstore

http://www.newjacobinclub.com

9/10

RingMaster 03/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Doom’s Day: The Unholy

Doom's Day

Though arguably offering more promise for the future than major satisfaction in the now, The Unholy the debut album from Canadian  occult metal/horror punk band Doom’s Day is still a recommended investigation if the likes of Mercyful Fate, Venom, Ghost, and early Misfits grab the imagination. There is also an eighties essence to the sound which pervades the eight songs which make up the release bringing spicery from the likes of Joy Division, Sex Gang Children, and Fields of The Nephilim into the mix. It is a far from flawless release but given time makes a more than decent persuasion that this is a band to keep an eye on.

The Québec based band has been making big waves in their surrounding area since forming earlier this year, soon moving from a small project into a full band for shows around their province. The Unholy was originally released as a hand numbered CDR consisting of just 50 copies, but soon came to the attention of PRC Music owner Remi Cote. Impressed by what he heard and no doubt the promise ahead, his label has re-released the album on CD and digitally. It is a release proudly steeped in the musical past but with the intent to embroil things with a freshness of modern imagination and opinion, it is debatable how successful it is in that but certainly engages enough to incite returns to its sounds and inspire intrigue ahead.

From the opening track Overture, a gothic cathedral instrumental breath within an oppressive storm, the album enters fully with dooms_day_lowresthe title track. Dark heavy riffs and Hammond organ like keys merge for a heated embrace upon the ear which holds many similarities to fellow Canadians, the excellent New Jacobin Club. The gruff unpolished vocals stand aside from the strong guitar play and scorched melodic  touches to add an abrasive bite to the track. It is quite a compelling song despite the weak production, a trait for the whole release which manages to leave the strong aspects of the album rather lifeless and the raw unrewarding parts accentuated. It is a more than decent start though inspiring good expectations for the rest of the release.

The following trio of songs She’s Possessed, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and Sabbath Deadly Sabbath do not exactly live up to the hopes though most again offer things which suggest the possibility of good things coming from the band on the future horizon. The first of the three has a great female vocal alongside the restrained and tempered delivery of vocalist Doom, it makes for a magnetic encounter lined with hypnotic rhythms and a snarling bass  within the sonic wash of guitar. A short and crisp track it is certainly one of the better efforts on the album to ensure continued investigation. The metallic groove of the second song makes an enticing additive to another strong enough song whilst the latter is a bland formulaic song but one fans of classic metal will find something to latch onto.

The best moments of the album are kept to the end with The Sorceress and its great Bauhaus like opening, the muscular Your Last Breath, and the closing Ghost Of Fate. The smoother vocals of the first pair of the songs are a definite plus to the sound of the band and used within a sinewy and formidable intensity works a treat. The last track Ghost of Fate is a great tease of what one senses hopefully will be ahead with Doom’s Day, the song a rampaging well thought out merge of riling energy and melodic craft.

The Unholy is overall enjoyable with its strengths managing to outshine its negatives but it does lack the spark to ignite any real passion for its contents. Placed in a studio with a top producer who can breathe life into their certain creativity and the band itself discovering a unique heart to their invention, it is not too hard to imagine Doom’s Day turning into a more notable ingredient within occult metal.

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RingMaster 03/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright