St. Aria – August 21 EP


Last year, like for a great many, attention was pricked by We claim this aria, the debut EP from Swedish band St. Aria. It was a potent and potential laden offering which at times strikingly sparkled and in other moments simply provided an enjoyable proposition without lighting fires. It did though ignite an appetite for the band’s inventive ideas and the next stage in its evolution. That next chapter has arrived with the release of the August 21 EP, an evocative and vivacious encounter building on the qualities of its predecessors and realising the previously untapped but hinted at qualities of the band’s sound. Consisting of five adventurous and lively propositions, the EP is the sunrise of a sound and band coming of age, but still with more to come and discover.

St. Aria is the creation of lyricist/composer/keyboardist Alexander Platon, a project formed in the late 2000s which after a hiatus when Platon joined The Borderline Saints, returned in 2012. Taking inspirations from the likes of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Nightwish and guided by the intent to create emotionally resounding rock ballads, the Platon linked up with vocalist Jimmy Ferhm, also of The Borderline Saints and producer Emanuel Svensson to resurrect St. Aria. Initially it was just to remake a couple of the band’s early songs but such the interest in its members and fans things evolved. We claim this aria was the debut release and saw the three enlist numerous session musicians for its creation and subsequent live appearances. The EP certainly awoke good interest but as suggested earlier everything has grown and leapt forward with August 21. Firstly St. Aria is a complete and stable quintet, Platon and Ferhm joined by Oliver Sandberg (drums), Erik Jönsson (bass, vocals), and Jacqueline Hansson (vocals), whilst musically the raw edges and arguably success tempering aspects of the previous release have been resolved and woven into songs simply revelling in melodic beauty.

St.Aria - August 21 (Cover art)   The EP opens with the spellbinding Black Rose, a song which instantly has ears and imagination involved through the evocative keys of Platon, and increasingly seduced by the siren-esque tones of Hansson emulated in potency by those of Ferhm. Rhythmically the song is reserved yet striking enough to support the expressive narrative of vocals and piano as they colour the song with feisty elegance. It is a catchy and welcoming start to the release matched by the contrasting shadow wrapped presence of Deception which follows. Led by the mellow yet angst lined tones of Ferhm, the song cradles ears and thoughts in a provocative embrace of emotional balladry. The drums of Sandberg create a brooding drama behind the core refection of voice and piano, an almost epic shadow aided by the equally haunted lure of Jönsson’s bass, whilst all combined leaves attention and pleasure easily entranced.

A great bass growl opens up Here With Me, its darker presence soon smothered by the radiant light of keys and the paired vocals of Hansson and Ferhm. The song has a much lighter smile to its tone and character than its predecessor, a hope fuelled romance flowing through the nimble fingers and invention of Platon and the increasingly enjoyable vocal union, though all attributes reach new heights in the outstanding Hopeless Case. Strings and voice align to a tantalising tinkle of keys to seduce the senses from the song’s first breath and immediately has the appetite licking lips. As it opens up its energetic embrace, a country spicing and folkish revelry joins the inescapable infectious persuasion on offer whilst the duet of voices spills melodic contagion. Thoughts are conjured up of The Only Ones single Fools which saw the band and vocalist Peter Perrett link up with Penetration’s Pauline Murray in a mouth-watering duet, and though musically different, the textures, charm, and catchy quality is similar and just as impressive on the EP’s best track.

August 21 closes New Dawn, itself on a par with the previous song through the ever reflective and impressive vocals where this time Hansson leads the temptation with her seductive delivery. Shadows are never too far from the surface in most St. Aria songs, and here bass and keys bring a complimenting emotive shade to the golden tones of melodies and harmonies, a blend emulated in the lyrical prowess of the track. It is an enthralling end to an excellent encounter in which St. Aria has breached a new plateau in songwriting and sound. The band has pushed itself and sound to fulfil early potential and more, but now with a suggestion that there is even more within them to come it is fair to say there are exciting times ahead for them and us.

The August 21 EP is available now digitally @

RingMaster 09/04/2015

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St Aria – We claim this aria

We claim this aria team, photo by Malin Brandt

We claim this aria team, photo by Malin Brandt

Weaving inspirations from metal, pop, and melodic rock into emotive metal ballads, St Aria make a potent introduction for themselves with the We claim this aria EP. Consisting of five piano led reflections and one feisty rock encounter, the EP is a striking proposition for thoughts and emotions to contemplate. It is a little mixed in success, often raising more questions than it has immediate answers for, but from start to finish and especially given plenty of attention, the EP emerges as a pleasingly refreshing and intriguing prospect.

St Aria is cored around Alexander Platon (piano, lyricist, composer) and Jimmy Ferhm (vocals, composer and guitar) who united with the intent to explore and evolve in a number of different styles through music marketing, live performances and studio recordings. Bringing in numerous talented musicians to collaborate in and realise their creativity, the pair set about recording We claim this aria at Sonart Production. The project itself began in 2012 with Plato, though initially a constant movement of members saw the band take an early hiatus with its founder himself joining The Borderline Saints. With Ferhm the vocalist of the same band and producer/bassist Emanuel Svensson, the trio resurrected St Aria taking inspiration from the likes of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Nightwish into their intent. Initially meaning just to remake a couple of Platon’s early songs, interest and an increased enthusiasm for the project saw an expansion in the band’s aims and subsequently the recording of the new EP with the additional contributions of Andreas Centervall (guitar), Sofia Rapp (vocals), Hampus Jacobsson (drums), and Frans Af Malmborg (percussion).

The EP opens with the riveting Running, the magnetic piano skills and caress of Platon coaxing ears and imagination evocatively. The Coverart - We claim this ariatwinned vocals of Ferhm and Rapp flow just as easily over the senses, aligning excellently together around the firm beats and melodic beauty which colours the passion of the song. It is a superb start to the release, a mesmeric and finely honed entrance by the band into a keen attention and an early appetite for their promise.

The following Her Song emerges on a just as potent and dramatic breeze of elegant and emotive keys, the hues bred by the piano a seed to the captivating rhythmic frame and vocal expression which again only impresses. With orchestral clad synth suasion and a reserved yet fiery glaze of guitar, the song though taking longer than its predecessor to convince, brews another absorbing premise and proposition. It is not as polished as maybe it could have been production wise and lacks a spark to truly ignite the passions, both something you can say about the whole of the EP, but the track still engages for a lingering and highly pleasing incitement.

Both By Your Side and Until Life Parts Us take thoughts and emotions on an enjoyable flight, keys and orchestral ideation making a seamless fusion with, especially in the second of the two, a rawer rock graze of guitar. Again neither quite inflames as the first does so easily but with the harsher side of the songs staying on the metallic side of melodies whilst leaving the enchanting to the piano and vocal harmonies, the pair given time evolve into captivating aural paintings for thoughts to explore and emotions to embrace.

Another Symphony is initially led vocally by Rapp, her sirenesque tones courted by the pungently persuasive piano charm of Platon and again melancholic stringed spawned keys. With layers of melodies and the assisting tones of Ferhm adding the right shade of shadows to the beauty, the track is a delightful warm kiss upon the senses to keep attraction for the EP high.

Final track Fly Away merges hard rock and rap into a symphonic canvas of sound, fusing numerous flavours and styles into an encounter which in some ways should not work but does quite successfully, though more concentrated rap using metal bands need not worry about a rival, not just yet anyway. With Jesper Svensson providing that rapping within the robust and vivacious electro/ melodic rock graced adventure, the track makes for a lively and stirring conclusion to a release which certainly nourishes thoughts and ears which are always in the mood for something different.

We claim this aria is arguably not exactly over flushed with new sounds but definitely offers a new ideation in its design and thought to awaken a strong appetite for St Aria. It will be interesting to see how the project evolves ahead but it is something definitely very easy to look forward to.

We claim this aria is available now @


RingMaster 15/05/2014

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Delain -The Human Contradiction


The release of The Human Contradiction cements a long held thought here that Dutch symphonic metallers Delain is one of if not the most exciting and refreshing band in the genre and melodic metal. The band’s fourth album is a spellbinding fire of seductive vocals, inescapable virulent hooks, and a carnivorous metallic enterprise which never dulls its impact and success no matter how many times the songs prey upon ears and passions. Their most ravenously inventive release so far, the nine track adventure shows a creatively bolder, broader, and potent Delain.

Their second release on Napalm Records, after last year’s more than decent Interlude, a release of new songs, covers, and live tracks, The Human Contradiction is a dramatic follow-up to their acclaimed and impressive third album We Are The Others of 2012. It takes the established power and imagination of the band into a new incendiary journey where every aspect from aggressive incitement to melodic painting and vocal conjuring creates a ricer canvas and palette for thoughts and emotions to paint vast evocative narratives with. Once again sculpted from the expansive songwriting of band founder and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, singer Charlotte Wessels, and long-time musical partner Guus Eikens, the Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd mixed album with mastering by Grammy Award winner Ted Jensen, is arguably the band’s most complete work, bringing the darker tones and expression of their earlier albums with the sultry melodic grace and richness with was loudly hinted at on the last releases. It results in a confrontation which serenades and embraces the senses whilst chewing up the ground beneath them.

Looking at humanity’s ‘them and us syndrome’ and how it relates to those perceived as ‘different’; the ‘otherness’ first approached upon We 535_Delain_RGBAre The Others, and taking its title from the post-apocalypse trilogy Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butlers, The Human Contradiction instantly engulfs imagination and passions with its opener. Here Come The Vultures is a quite sensational welcome into the album using a simple union of the constantly impressing voice of Wessels, soothing vocal harmonies, and a music box like enticement. It is an evocative coaxing which embraces thoughts as the keys of Westerholt adds some dramatic shading before the explosion of predatory riffs from guitarist Timo Somers, the dark hearted basslines of Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and the fearsome swings of drummer Sander Zoer. The track intimidates and excites instantly, smothering the senses in an intense and towering persuasion cored by the siren tones of Wessels. Not for the last time on the album there is something familiar to the proposition, a rewarding and powerful enchantment which captures an instant allegiance from mind and heart.

From the huge passions foraging exploits and ingenuity of its predecessor, Your Body Is A Battleground presents its own suspenseful and masterfully magnetic tale. Again a gentle invitation makes way for a climactic adventure within a heady cage of composing riffs and rapacious rhythms lit by glorious horns of melodic fire. As you would expect the band and album welcomes guest contributions and the second track sees the returning vocal force of Marco Hietala (Nightwish), his voice a caustic blaze alongside the temptress tones of Wessel as the track climbs all over the senses with another exhaustingly creative narrative. Fierce and elegant, the song takes the listener on a rigorous ride, danger and majesty washing every note and syllable.

The following Stardust steps from a shadowed rhythmic heartbeat with emotive vocals cupping ears in an expressive atmosphere which at first courts the passionate angst of the lyrical call before flaring up with torrid hues of fire bred melodies and invasive intensity. The song is toxic in its drama and passion drenched suasion, and quite irresistible as is its successor My Masquerade, a hypnotic fusion of dark realms and rock pop virulence which seduces and overwhelms at every turn. The shadows provided by the bass and the noir lit ambience of the keys crowd the senses as the mystique of the emerging tale strokes the imagination, again the merger of bordering of metallic hostility and heart enlivening harmonies artistic alchemy and the venue to soaring pop bred choruses, though they too are prowled by deep dwelling vocal tones.

Tell Me, Mechanist steps up next and takes little encouragement to begin savaging ears with an excellent furnace of djent inspired rhythmic antagonism and similarly destructive riffing though as always Wessels and keys keep a rein on it all to create a masterful and compelling balance. The grievous side of the song finds a protagonist in the guest guttural intrusions of George Oosthoek (Celestial Season-vocals, Doghouse Gallows-drums), another highly successful vocal confrontation and union with Wessel explored.

In many ways the latter end of the album takes longer to win over the passions then the first though it is more down to the incredible impact the first few songs make than any failing of tracks like Sing To Me and Army Of Dolls. The first of the two sees the excellent re-appearance of Hietala in the passionate melancholic waltz of the song whilst the second expands an electro theme to its expressive premise though it is soon immersed in a not exactly solemn but certainly a sobering raw exploration. The track again captivates with ease saving its finest enticement for the electronic /vocal stomp building to a quite exceptional exotic breath before its heated finale.

The album is completed by the bewitching Lullaby and its beauteous melodic grace within a raptorial aggression and The Tragedy Of The Commons which features Alissa White-Gluz (ex- The Agonist). The track has an epic feel to its imperious shadows and dark depths which both Wessel and White-Gluz bring alive stealing the show from the rest of the band. Though lacking the same strength of previous tracks it is a fine end to a new masterpiece from Delain. For personal tastes there are few as adept and skilled at recruiting an immediate hunger and connection with their ever fluid and drama clad sounds, or as mouth-wateringly inventive and unpredictable within symphonic metal. With the outstanding The Human Contradiction the band has taken it to another contagiously unique level, and you still feel they have only begun tapping into their full potential which is just exciting.


RingMaster 04/04/2014

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Full Throttle-Roads Of Life EP


The Roads Of Life EP, from Russian band Full Throttle is a release which combines hard rock and heavy metal with other assisting flames, for an encounter which fires up the senses with ease, its high octane melodic fuel and forceful energy spilling over for an engaging and invigorating ride which would enhance any intensive road trip. It is a release which admittedly offers little new in barrier breaking but easily feeds any appetite for melodic metal bred by passion and invention.

Full Throttle was formed in 2004 in Kaluga and initially had a softer metal sound which with a change of personnel of the years evolved with a harder more aggressive breath. 2005 saw the band’s debut album Lie released to strong responses but was followed by a three year hiatus for the band from 2007 due to internal disagreements. The band returned in 2010 and soon was working towards a second album which due to difficulties was reduced to this EP and an impressive release it is too. Taking influences from the likes of Manowar, Nightwish, Metallica, Sonata Arctica as well as Russian bands Aria and Kipelov into its own invention, the three track release makes a powerful persuasion offering all the spices which could see the band find the widest awareness and with the band recently signing up with GlobMetal Promotions, it is hard not to feel that the band will soon be garnering strong interest and a wealth of eager new fans.

Full Throttle’s songs find seeds in the ideology of the biker’s movement: freedom, speed, the choice between life and death, not that we could tell as the songs are all sung in Russian, though not any issue of course. The opening title track revs up with sturdy riffs and crisp rhythms whilst keys and the melodic tease of the guitars enflame the air with sonic colour. It is an immediately appealing introduction which settles down into an energetic charge across the plane of the song with expressive winds from the keys and powerful female vocals astride a spine of heavy intensive riffing. Though lacking a groove or hook to make it strongly contagious the accomplished and fiery song has an infection about it which potently entices and recruits deep satisfaction. It is a richly pleasing and stylish cruise of intensity to start things off.

The following Crying Soul changes tact and stance of the release instantly, its emotive beauty and symphonic whispers an impacting elegance within the strong hungry melodic flames which skilfully shoot into the roof of the song. The keys are especially enchanting whilst the vocals have a bite to their again open beauty and harmonic grace, their presence epitomising the blend of light and intimidation seemingly prowling the track. It is a soulful and powerful song showing the diversity of the band and their adeptness at fusing gentle and vigorous embraces for one enriching confrontation.

The closing Night Fraternity is cored by the sound of bikes as they speed off into the horizon with the song gripping their tails with eager riffs and hungry rhythms. It is a simple but wholly effective attack which has a punk growl to its incessant drive and a metal aggression to its sinews. An excellent acidic groove makes its play mid song to complete the impressive temptation of what is the best song on the release.

When Full Throttle gets to make that second album there will be plenty eagerly waiting to climb on board with it thanks to the Roads Of Life EP, us for one.

Read Full Throttle’s Interview with Kostya Aronberg @


RingMaster 21/05/2013

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Burn of Black – Danger EP


Italian metallers Burn of Black have a sound which you almost feel should not work but as their new EP Danger shows it does and with very enjoyable effect. Combining what is primarily a blend of alternative and gothic metal as well as thrash, heavy, and power metal, the release consists of songs which twist and thrive with multiple flavours. At times there is so much thrown in that it borders the outskirts of messy but the Cavarzere quintet fused it together with passion and skill to produce a release which is richly contagious.

Formed by guitarist Marco “Markwild” Piva, Burn of Black instantly brought the influences of various musical backgrounds and experiences of its members into play with the band adding and evolving additional flavours and sounds as line-ups changes occurred over subsequent years. Inspirations from the likes of Exodus, Testament, Nightwish, and Kamelot, to gothic and melodic death spiced the early sound and with further diversity riling up and expanding the music with each change of personnel, the result is a riot of multi-coloured enterprise which despite almost overloading its invention into a disorientating maelstrom, ignites potent hunger and a full enjoyment for its adventure.

With a line-up of vocalist Giacomo Cordioli, guitarist Alessandro Bassani, bassist Sylvia Fabbris, and drummer Alberto Lèmoni BURN-OF-BLACK_COVERalongside Piva sculpting its assault, the Inverse Records/Sweet Poison released Danger makes the strongest initial persuasion with Thrown Into The Chasm. The track is a mesmerising instrumental formed from dawning ambience, delicious acoustic lilted guitar embracing, and rising intensity of epic melodic breath. It is a dawn to the release which lures one in fully though the following Fears Driven To Insanity immediately avoids the expectations the previous piece sparks. The track unleashes short sharp scythes of sinew strapped riffs and equally imposing beats whilst the guitars bring their own abrasion to bear on an already eager ear. Into its stride with the bass and riffing as carnivorous as you could wish for, a trait of the whole release, the song whips up a furious energy mixed with great melodic vocals from Cordoli, his delivery set in classic airs and contrasting perfectly the aggressively carved presence in place. Twisting and shifting its stance with elements of nu, progressive, and post hardcore added to the blaze, and impressive sonic skill endeavour from Piva, the track is an enthralling and thrilling fire to bring the EP into full view.

The following Charon’s Rebellion gnaws on the bones and senses of the listener within seconds, the corrosive riffs coated in brutality and predatory intensity. Whilst they chew and subjugate the ear, the vocals calm the wounds with again great melodic persuasion whilst the emerging groove is as infectious as the harshness around it is intrusive. Once again the band merges diverse elements into a seamless understanding union which only intrigues and flips the switch of passion. To be honest going against what was said earlier slightly, the more a track and the release is ventured and embraced, clarity of thought and intent emerges and dispels the feel of closely missed chaos.

The title track lacks the dramatic power and presence of its predecessors, a classic metal flame making the biggest call within the still rapacious riffing and rhythmic bombardment. The song is impressively presented and constructed but fails to find the hook and grip of the others tracks, and arguably it’s less intense mesh of flavours is the cause of its weaker presence. There is no such comment applied to closer Slave In Chains. A mere breath between songs is all it takes for the release to raise another major snarl and vicious surge of riveting and caustic riffing accompanied by a groove which dances on the passions with wanton mischief flanked by a warm melodic breeze. Drummer Lèmoni has his most impressive moment whilst the bass of Fabbris prowls and threatens with bestial depth. It is an excellent track which like the song just before, does not infuse a vast amount of flavouring but this time hones it into a brawling exhilarating storm.

The Danger EP is a release which might split opinions though it is hard to imagine anyone not finding enough to offer up a positive outlook upon it, but for us it is a release which is adventurous and invigorating. In many ways there is nothing new going on but equally there are few bands creating a sound from so many varied and rich existing essences as enjoyably as Burn In Black do. The Danger EP just might be the start of something big.


RingMaster 17/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Exhausting Speed: an interview with Full Throttle by

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Russian metallers Full Throttle is a band on the rise, their adrenaline fuelled classic metal sound capturing the attention and imagination of a growing greedy audience. Our big friend in Israel, Kostya Aronberg has stepped forward to find out more about the band and their music, concentrating on  their new EP.

Good afternoon guys. How’s the band Full Throttle doing this days?

Good afternoon, we are fine. We continue to work in a heavy direction, preparing for the further implementation of the ideas.

With you solid playing classic heavy metal you have had some success: being signed by European promotion project GlobMetal Promotions for example. How did you do it?

With some degree of certainty it is a credit to each musician individually and the team as a whole. When forming the musical and textual components of songs, maybe we have invested part of the soul which is transmitted to listeners. We think, aspiration and persistence  also played a significant role in achieving objectives.

Of musicians who was behind the Full Throttle? How to promote the creation of the band?

The group was founded in the city of Kaluga by guitarist А.Gunko in 2004. Initially the creation of the team was carried out in conditions of significant difficulties, was to find the priorities and directions, that also was a professional test for individual group members, and the formation of will to move forward. Originally the musical style best suits “soft rock”, but from 2006 with the arrival of new musicians we began to play in the style hard’n’heavy. Having played a few shows with a new repertoire, the band began preparing for an album, but unfortunately due to some disagreements, in January 2007 the group’s activities were suspended. We gathered again only in 2010. Right now we are working without a drummer, but hopefully will find one soon.

Perhaps this issue will affect one of the main secrets of the group – which is a planned full-length album? Will there be any special, breakthrough ideas that will further progress throughout the musical level of the team?rma12__47

We are located deep in thought, will the next release be a long play or another? This will depend on a combination of meaning and music products to all songs which is an integral part of the whole, and without necessarily to link a single concept. A few songs from the new material are already written, some  to determine in time. Necessarily to add a new sound to music lyrics are carefully checked, and trying to make every song memorable work, we think about every note, appreciate every word. We hope to convey to the audience the very important life components: the constant need for proper selection of vital categories; manifestation of will in overcoming any barriers and obstacles to the goal.

Where was the  recently released EP “Roads of Life” recorded? What roads did fate take this record?

EP “Roads of Life” even six months ago, was not planned in this format. We wanted to produce a long play album. Recorded in Kaluga studio «Machine Band», for mixing and mastering the tracks were sent to Belarus. There were some difficulties, not enough free time during recording to edit some arrangements, sometimes had disagreements over individual understanding of participants. Because of this recording and mixing stretched about six months, but in general we think was good.

Will the Full Throttle shoot their first official video? How do you imagine it?

The idea of creating a video has been around for some time. Most likely, the shooting (already decided on what song) would start after the studio recording of the next release. In the video we want to fully express the inner atmosphere of the team and the semantic content of the conceptual ideology. We will not do, of course, without the special effects.

Heavy music old style is going through hard times, it is difficult to resist the new fangled trends. How are things on the stage of your hometown?

rma12__44The general trend of heavy music fashion dictates the rules, and in the city of Kaluga  this is no exception. In addition to representatives of the classical styles of metal, there is, of course, a large number of groups implementing new areas of heavy music. Even though the popularity has declined, heavy metal lives, that is periodically confirmed by participants at urban music concerts.

Whose music has an indirect impact on the work of Full Throttle? Whose level do you want to achieve? And in what ways do you plan to do this?

The formation and development of the group took place under the indirect influence of both local masters – “Aria”, “Kipelov” and foreign: Manowar, Nightwish, Metallica, Sonata Arctica.
However, the music of these artists is for us the example of the creation of creativity and performance, but in no way it is not plagiarism.
In terms of improving the limits for themselves, bands must constantly evolve. We hope to reach a minimum level of Dream Theater, everybody understands that it needs only two things: a strong desire, and “hell work”, which is always the most reliable ally. We will try to.

Thanks for your time, what would you wish to our readers?
To readers we want to wish good luck to the boundless, the implementation of plans and ideas, true friends in life. Nothing is impossible!

Interview copyright Kostya Aronberg


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Excalibur: Dusha


     Emerging from the Russian underground scene, symphonic metal band Excalibur and their excellent new album Dusha make the most agreeable and powerful persuasion as to why they deserve a much wider and heavier recognition. The release is an inventive, dramatic, and beautiful sounding album which without opening up new avenues for the genre captures the imagination with craft, grace, and melodic temptation.

From the city of Oryol, Excalibur incorporates the rich essences of bands like Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation within their own warm enveloping voice. Formed in 2009, the quintet of vocalist Valerya Nikiforova, guitarist Vitaly Okoneshnikov, bassist Svyatoslav Bykovsky, drummer Andrey Nazarov, and Ksenya Aranchey on keys, has made a strong mark within the metal underground of their homeland through the In the Fate Hand’s EP and their debut self-titled album, both in 2011. Now with the release of Dusha, translated as Soul, the band is looking to push the envelope of awareness around them further afield, something the accomplished sounds and open grandeur of the release should find as no obstacle.

With each song sung in their native song it is hard to fully absorb the full strength and depth of songs, the lyrical inspiration we are6FHedJ4CvEk led to believe coming from inner feelings and experiences for a personal passion, but the emotive strength and descriptive quality of the music goes a long way in inspiring imagery and thoughts in the listener, their relation to the songs unimportant but wholly connected to the melodic warmth and stirring passion created by the band. The opening track Kadans Vremeni is a prime example, the portentous brewing whispers of the instrumental a haunting and striking sense of foreboding and suggested bedlam to leave emotions startled, unsure, and enthralled. There is a deep sinister breath to its presence which intimidates yet seduces as it makes way for the following Zhazhda Zhit’, a song with a core of sinewy riffs and testing rhythms wrapped in a heated and bewitching melodic expanse driven by the outstanding voice of Nikiforova, her tones as mesmeric and golden as the sounds surrounding her. With the keys adding their own distinct enchantment the song is a vibrant and captivating pleasure matched impressively across the whole release.

The likes of sonic temptress Doch ‘Vampira and the magnetic title track lead the senses and thoughts to the same dawning rapture instigated by the previous tracks whilst Zakroy Glaza and the excellent EVOE give and reap even greater rewards. The first of the pair has a fiery surface and intent to its almost operatic stance with the vocals for once adding a darker shade to the melodic flames whilst the second is a powerful instrumental which ignites a furnace of satisfaction. From an opening emotive piano touch the piece erupts into a reign of dramatic aural narrative sculpted by a hungry intensity, highly charged riffs, and colourful keys. The song is a canvas for weaves of imagery and emotions and with each immersion into its stunning richness inspires a new journey of thought each and every time.

Further highlights emerge in song such as the commanding Simfoniya Zabveniya and the slightly bruising muscular Labirint as well as a final triumph Kto Logo with a delicious snarling bass chewing at the senses to bring a darker edge to the sonic fire. There is no real weakness on the album though, each track a rewarding and thrilling companion to which returning is as easy as walking.

Whether Excalibur will have to embrace the English language to fulfil their already flourishing potential time will tell but with Dusha you sense the band will at some point find a much larger enthusiastic awareness.


RingMaster 06/03/2013

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