Delain -The Human Contradiction

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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.

http://www.delain.nl/

9/10

RingMaster 04/04/2014

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Full Throttle-Roads Of Life EP

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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 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/exhausting-speed-an-interview-with-full-throttle-by/

7.5/10

RingMaster 21/05/2013

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Burn of Black – Danger EP

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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.

www.burnofblack.com

8/10

RingMaster 17/05/2013

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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

12/04/2013

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Excalibur: Dusha

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     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.

8/10

RingMaster 06/03/2013

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Crimson Blue : Innocence

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Russian metallers Crimson Blue are tagged as nu art metal, another arguably unnecessary musical label which has popped up in recent times as bands try to find a unique corner of their very own from where they can be noticed. It is not the most inspiring of terms to be honest but if you dismiss the band because of it then you would be making one mighty mistake as the Moscow quintet has released one of the best releases of the past twelve months. Fusing the most essential nu-metal grooves with the dazzling splendour of symphonic metal and the bewitching majesty of art rock, the band has created an album where imagination and inventive originality is a raging passion. It is a sensational release which at times is a familiar heart borne friend and in other moments sheer innovation igniting aural rapture whilst leaving a stirring sonic balm over the senses.

As well just having released their album Innocence the band has signed a management deal with GlobMetal Promotions and you can only feel things are primed to explode into world recognition for a band which has its seeds back in around 2007. Formed by vocalist and keyboard player Dominica “Dani” Hellstrom and guitarist Iggy Hans the band started out under the name Tragic Raven. The band merged the musical interest and passions of the members to forge a new and adventurous style with early songs holding a Tool like sound to their presences. The first couple of years saw instability with many line-up changes until the spring on 2009 where the found that constant to their core and re-emerged as Crimson Blue. As interest in the band grew across the internet and from their strong live performances, the band set about working on debut album Innocence. As a self-released CDR and download, the album came out in the closing eyes of December last year leading the band to even greater interest not only from fans but labels too. Summer of 2012 gave the album a proper CD release as recognition fired up further and with the new management deal in place the band are set to turn 2013 their own shade of hue.

Taking sounds and styles across the seventies through to the nineties with plenty of modern energies and thoughtfulness, the five piece of Dani Hellstrom, Iggy Hans, Stan Lee (guitar), Andrew Barique (drums), and Alex Verge (bass), the band since the recording going through another line-up change, s created a release which echoes the likes of Korn, Devin Townsend, Audioslave, and Nightwish with strong whispers of classic art rock bands. It is a stunning sound which plays in the heart so much more powerfully and enjoyably than it looks in print.

As soon as the cold kisses of Iceland crystalize on the ear soon speared by a dramatic piano, attention is focused in only one 1608197713-1direction and as soon as the melodic flames and immediately jaw dropping bass sound of Verge prowls within the brewing sonic weaves nothing comes between thoughts, emotion, and song. Settling into an emotive breath with the wonderful and potent vocals of Hellstrom covering the still formidable basslines and melodramatic keys, the track just mesmerises whilst caressing tenderly with symphonic beauty and warm melodic elegance. It is an exceptional entrance into what emerges as an unpredictable and eclectic release. The song at times makes muscular suggestions through rhythms and riffs to ensure an air of confrontation is never too far away setting one up perfectly for its successor, especially with its closing Halloween like tingle of keys and inciting acidic guitar rub.

L.M.A. is outstanding; a track which though challenged throughout holds ‘best of’ honours. Its initial scorched rock swagger is soon ripped up into a raptorial encounter of bruising riffs and a groove which gnaws at the senses like those classic ones Korn used to unleash. The vocal storm of expressive vocals and oppressive heavy chewing riffs and thumping rhythms plays like a mix of Animal Alpha and The Faceless for further irresistible flavour to the staggering recipe.

Tracks like the sinew twisting Flax and the masterful Nagual with its progressive enterprise wrapping around the persistently pulsating growl of the song transport one into further thrilling and unpredictable diverse fiery engagements. Each and every song can be acclaimed with those same qualities, the blend of melodic imagination and creative invention breath taking at times and always enthralling. Further pinnacles come with the sinister and hypnotic H.U. Lab, a track bringing the key essences of Meshuggah, Opeth, and Karnivool together for thoroughly compelling rewards, and the epic emotive force that is Haesitatio. Every song deserves a mention though, each rippling with immense craft, inventive songwriting, and pure skill from the surging and glorious vocals of Hellstrom and her senses wrapping keys, the continually adventurous guitars, and the guiding rhythms of drums and that permanently  delicious bass.

Innocence is aural excellence and Crimson Blue only deserving of the fullest acclaim. The recommendation that all should go and discover this triumphant release cannot be shouted loud enough.

https://www.facebook.com/crimsonblueband

RingMaster 17/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ashes You Leave: The Cure For Happiness

Croatian band Ashes You Leave as shown by their new album The Cure For Happiness, just get better and better. The release is their best to date and looks set to thrill many more new hearts with its muscular doom and gothic metal sounds. Following their acclaimed album Songs of the Lost of 2009, the new album sees the band unleashing their heaviest and arguably darkest collection of songs, reaping the energy and intensity of darker heart borne realms without losing the melodic invention and shadow fuelled passion they are renowned for. It is an impressive return for a band which is no stranger to strong applaud and enthusiastic attention.

Forming in 1995, the Rijeka band has risen from a time when music let alone metal had no expectations or credible chance of success in a worn torn country, to the biggest metal band in their homeland and leading force in the whole of the Eastern European region. Through the likes of Desperate Existence, Fire, and Songs of the Lost, all albums making big impacts, the band has forged itself as a name with wider recognition well beyond its borders but The Cure For Happiness, their sixth album, should be the one to thrust them to an even greater standing in world metal. It is a release which is as intriguing as it is immediately and forcibly engaging, offering new experiences and whispers with each and every journey within its imaginative sounds and melancholic breath.

Over the years the band has gone through line-up changes, especially with the position of lead vocalist, and the Rock N Growl Records released The Cure For Happiness is no exception. Despite having to search for a new voice three times, the band always has had the insight and skill to choose ladies which have added something different whilst contributing an impressive level of vocal craft and expression recognised with their sounds. The new album is the first with new singer Giada “Jada” Etro and again the result is openly rewarding for them and us. Italian songstress Etro has a riveting voice which can mesmerise whilst nipping at the senses within songs which do exactly the same, and alongside the snarling and ravenous additional vocals of guitarist Berislav Poje and bassist Luka Petrovic, makes the perfect enchanting conspirator and foil.

The first touch of the album comes with lone keys within a brewing atmosphere which soon expands into a busier yet still graceful presence. Opener Devil in Disguise again steps back into the shadows as the voice of Etro accompanied by the impacting piano begins the unveiling of the heart of the song. It is with the emotive violin of Marta Batinic though where one is truly inspired to accompany the song with personal feelings upon its journey in answer to his impassioned caress upon the ear. The track is soon evolving and moving through melodic enterprise, powerful energies and notable invention to escalate the engagement and as the song emerges as a stirring blend of metal and melodic rock with symphonic leanings and gothic intent it leaves on engrossed and open for the rampaging climax with the scything guitar riffs of Poje and Matija Rempesic pushing the intensity further to a thrilling finale. To be honest the first time the song played it did not capture the imagination as instantly as other songs further on but given time to make its persuasion it becomes one potent pleasure.

Only Ashes You Leave and For the Heart, Soul and Mind step up next and take the enjoyment even deeper, both a continuation of tone from the first song whilst bringing different shadows and depths into focus emotionally and musically. The first is a heated expression of melodic and sonic craft driven by charged riffs and the intimidating rhythms of drummer Sasa Vukosav. Again the strings of Batinic play with emotions whilst the keys of Darko Terlevic explore their deepest corners within the inciting creativity. The rabid ending of male vocals and riffs makes way for an irresistible bass welcome from Petrovic for the beginning of the second of the two, a track which delves into the black of life further and with relish.

As a whole the album flows perfectly with a linking atmosphere across its expanse though there as to be expected are particular peaks. The first is the just mentioned track which is equally matched by the glorious Summer’s End, a song where the band pus everything they have into an imaginative wrap of melodic beauty and triumphant enterprise. Both though are surpassed by easily the best track on the album, Reality Sad. This song opens up the shadows pervading the album to draw even darker energies and emotions forth. It is a haunting and almost insidiously seductive embrace which ignites the fullest passion. Rippling with danger and venomous essence the song is immense and a flavour one hopes the band use more of ahead.

Reality Sad does highlight that for personal tastes the album falls a little short of being the classic the track suggests was within their grasp, the other songs despite their might in the shadow of this particular magnificence, but without doubt The Cure For Happiness is a thoroughly enjoyable and openly impressive album which fans of bands such as Within Temptation, Epica, and Nightwish will eagerly welcome into their dark bosom.

www.ashesyouleave.org

www.facebook.com/ashesyouleave

RingMaster 29/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

DreamCatcher – Never Look Back

The upcoming weekend is going to be as busy for UK melodic metallers DreamCatcher as the sounds in their new single Never Look Back which is released this coming Monday August 13th. Before then the Leeds sextet have a double appearance at Bloodstock to enjoy, Saturday the 11th seeing them play an unplugged set on the Acoustic Stage followed by their full high energy show on Sunday. The single caps things off with fine accomplishment in what will be a notable three days for the band.

Formed in 2008, DreamCatcher has gone from strength to strength with their live performances which has included sharing stages with Delain, After Forever, and Pythia, and their acclaimed SoulDesign EP of last year accelerating an already steadily growing dedicated following.  Never Look Back is taken from the album released through Rising Records and is available via the Bandcamp profile of the band as a free download in exchange for a Facebook Post or Twitter tweet, a barter which is certainly one of the best deals this year. The three track single is a treat which not only cements the band as a growing force but makes a satisfying celebration of where they and their sound are right now.

Never Look Back is a storming maelstrom of sound and invention which teases the borders of chaos whilst roaring with heated elegance and sure confidence to pull it all into a striking and enveloping presence upon the senses. Bringing the best aspects of major influences like Nightwish, Epica, Powerquest, and Anubis Gate into their own distinct muscular riotous form of metal it is a heady fusion which consumes every pore. There is a distressed clarity to it all which works a treat and adds that extra intensity which marks the band from other melodic metal bands. The track is a scorching amalgam of excellently crafted melodic imagination and rampaging power metal borne energy. The mesmeric keyboard skills of Adelé Pease flow with ease and understanding alongside the melodic play from guitarists Ben Scott and Alexei Green whilst their raging riffs bounce off the bruising rhythms of bassist Matt Hudson and drummer Rossi Lavery. Vocalist Lukas Jackson soars amongst it all with a craft and power which is never swamped or lost within the expansive sound, full credit going to the songwriting and the production from Jacob Hansen (ex-Anubis Gate, Mercenary), as well as the skill of the band itself.

Track one is an edit of Never Look Back with the closing song the original version though there is nothing to choose between the two, the thirty second difference neither improving nor detracting from the song. In between there is new instrumental Foresight. It is a muscular charge of creativity further exposing the individual skills of the band and the sure melodic craft which pervades their invention. The piece stirringly ruffles with crisp rhythms and explosive enterprise whilst showering the ear with equally marked melodic radiance and flair.

If SoulDesign eluded your attention then Never Look Back is the open invitation into the progressively symphonic metal world of DreamCatcher, it would be rude to refuse.

http://www.dreamcatcherofficial.com/

RingMaster 08/08/2012

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Interview with Darvius Noctem of Days Of Our Decay

Brought together by Cosmo Morte of US band Scream Machine, we had the pleasure of meeting Darvius Noctem of Canadian goth/black/industrial metal band Days Of Our Decay and reviewing the excellent album Electric Twilight which was released a few weeks ago. With a rich mix of flavours reminding of the likes of Rammstein, Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, Type O Negative, and Sisters Of Mercy, as well as unique and vibrant imagination of its own it was a release that found a firm place on our playlists. Wanting to know more about the band and the great creativity brought forth by Days Of Our Decay we threw a flurry of questions the way of Darvius and he graciously revealed all.

Hi Darvius welcome to The RingMaster Review and many thanks for talking with us.

Firstly could you just tell us about yourself?

Man, you gave me the hard question first.  I am so horrible talking about myself, but I think my Facebook “about me” section sums it up.   Here goes…

I draw stuff and occasionally get paid for it. I also compose and play music, but usually don’t get paid for that. Sometimes I collaborate with other musicians for various projects. I end up talking to myself a lot because no one really listens to me to begin with. I hate most things, particularly: people, religion, and summer. Most people often mistake me for a “snob” when I am actually a misanthrope. I’m extremely opinionated and often voice my opinions, which usually get me into some degree of trouble. I have a dry, morbid sense of humour, but I am usually the only one laughing.

What is your musical history before Days Of Our Decay?

I started playing guitar when I was 15 or 16, but just couldn’t really get into it and moved on to learn bass, drums and then keyboard.  I took piano in high school but never really took it seriously until just before I started Days Of Our Decay.  During high school I played in a really lame electronic/rock/metal/experimental band called: The Spacemen On Vacation.  Later on in my early 20’s I joined my friends’ band: Malice.  It was more of a nu-metal influenced band in the same vein as bands like Coal Chamber, Spineshank, etc.  Initially, I played drums and then moved into the keyboard and bass position just before the other guys called it quits, which is then when I started Days Of Our Decay.

Days of Our Decay was initially and in many ways still is a solo project?

I started the band and wrote a few songs, but wanted to get my ex band  mates from Malice to join and contribute, but due to our life schedules and one of the members alcoholism, it ended up just becoming my solo project, and in many ways it still is a solo project.  I have had many different people in and out of the band over the years, but the only other official member is Demonika Demise.  Most of the past members were just brought in so we could play shows.  I recorded some demos and alternate versions of songs with a lot of the past members, but none of the final songs included them.  There are some demo cds and a live cd floating around – I will tell you that.

What was the intent and spark behind starting the project for you?

I wanted to have a rock/metal influenced band that was really keyboard savvy.  The thing that annoyed me the most in metal and rock is that the keyboards were always mixed so low, or just so minimal, so I wanted to have a band that featured keyboards as the driving instrument.  In addition, I am really attracted to dark music, whether it is heavy or soft, which is something I also wanted to incorporate into my project.   Ultimately, I wanted to create a sound that I wanted to hear in music, from a listener perspective, and at the same time, I wanted something that didn’t take itself too seriously.

You have self termed it “Elevator Music For The Dying!” could you elaborate on that and did that apply to your music from the very beginning? I ask as I know you had a later album with the term as its title.

It was originally a line from a poem/song I wrote in my late teens and I thought it was just something silly and over the top, and just decided to run with it.  The term did apply from the beginning.  In regards to the album:  Elevator Music For The Dying, it kind of summed up every aspect of the band at the time and prior to that.  That album was more or less an end of an era and Graveyard Superstar was the first album of the new era.  It’s ultimately still “Elevator Music For The Dying” it’s just expanded a bit more, I think.

 From what I know of your music you are unafraid to explore your own and the music’s boundaries?

Umm, sort of.  I don’t stray much from my trademark style, but I am always trying to incorporate new elements per song or album.   Overall, I just try to write and play what comes natural at the time.  That’s also easier said than done.  I tend to over think everything.   Sometimes I write a riff or a song and have to think “Did I write that riff before?” or “Does this song sound too much like this one?” etc.

You are quite prolific release wise especially in recent times and I know people have commented on that to you but I get the sense whereas other musicians might do the same but just throw everything out they create whatever the standard you have a disciplined and strict standard you place upon your work and maybe discard songs as many as you release?

Definitely, for every album I generally write and record up to 20+ songs and narrow it down to the best 11 or 12.  It’s hard to determine what makes the cut until the end because each song means something to me, but I try and make each album as dynamic as I can and have it flow really well from beginning to end.  I always second guess myself though because you never know what songs are gonna connect with people.  I find that most of my favourites are people’s least favourites and vice versa.  One of these days I might just make an album of songs that I hate and maybe everyone will love it and it will be a big hit.

Is creating music the first and last thought for you each and every day?

Sometimes.  I think about drawing and art just as much.  Sometimes I write songs in my dreams.  No joke.  I wrote 2 songs from how I remembered them in my dream.  One was called:  “The Letter And The Ghost” and the other was called: “Gift.”

As you mentioned you work with Demonika Demise in the band and though she is mentioned as a backing singer she brings a lot more than her vocal skills to the project?

I think of her vocals as more of an instrument, rather than a backing singer.  It’s a complete contrast to my vocals, but somehow they seem to work well together.   I think that if I sang more conventional or if she sang more unconventional, it wouldn’t work.  In addition, she helps me with some of the final mixes.

How did you both meet?

We met online in December, 2006 when I was living in Minneapolis.  We got engaged and I moved to Canada in 2007 and the rest, they say, is history.

Does she get involved with the initial songwriting?

Haha, no, not at all.  She admits that she is not a songwriter.  She understands this is more my project and doesn’t want to interfere with that.  She has helped with a few parts though.  She helped me revamp an old song and she wrote a choir part to the intro/verse of our song:  The Dark Gift.

We have had a discussion about bands that people compare your music to rightly or wrongly so what are your major influences and which ones do you think have most added texture to your ideas and sound direction?

I`d say that our biggest influences that helped shape our sound would be: Deathstars, Type O Negative, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, She Wants Revenge, Sisters Of Mercy, Diary of Dreams, and The 69 Eyes.  Demonika’s influences are roughly the same as mine, but she is really influenced by more female -vocal oriented stuff like: Tarja Turunen, Evanescence, We Are The Fallen, etc.

I know Marilyn Manson is mentioned a lot when talking about your music especially vocally though I do not see it; does this get a bit tedious?

You are probably one of the only people who don’t see it, haha.  That’s cool though.  Overall, it does get tedious, but I usually find that it`s mostly from people who don`t know of any other darker- type bands, and since Manson is so mainstream, everyone just associates me with him.  I admit that I think our singing techniques are fairly similar from the raspy-ness in our voices and how we drag our notes, but if someone were to listen to us back to back, they would notice drastic differences.  I suppose at the same time, if someone compares us to Manson in a complementary way, I don`t get offended or anything, haha.

Always late to the party haha our introduction to you came with the great Electric Twilight which came out earlier this year. You first started making music for Days Of Our Decay with your first release The Devil’s Concubine appearing in 2005 I believe? How has your music evolved through the past decade and you as a musician and songwriter?

Yep, I wrote Devil`s Concubine back in 2005, but rerecorded for world release in 2007, and to also include Demonika Demise, as she was not on the original recordings of the first 2 albums.  Over that course of time, my songwriting and composing has gotten so much more refined and mature.  I can play stuff now that I could never play years ago.  We integrated new elements over the years and gradually got away from a lot of the `metal` aspects in our initial sound.  However, that will always be there in some form or another, I think, which is cool.  The production has greatly improved over the years for sure.  Even our vocals have changed and matured, quite a bit.  In the early albums it was about 50/50 singing to screaming, whereas now, I barely scream anymore.  Our vocal accuracy has greatly improved as well.  In a lot of ways we simplified and in other ways we expanded from the drums to the keyboards and all the sounds in between.  It was just a natural progression, I think.  I also managed to learn how to create and define a “mood” for a particular song much better.  Before it was just playing notes and making riffs.  For Graveyard Superstar, we started incorporating more guitar-synths and simpler compositions, as compared to our older work.  At this point, I can barely listen to our first handful of albums without cringing. 

Your website http://daysofourdecay.yolasite.com suggests you have already three more albums planned for the rest of the year and into 2013, are you that far ahead or is this just planned targets?

Ever since 2009 we have been 2 or more albums ahead of schedule (so to speak).  Keep in mind, we have been this far ahead even with me scrapping lots of songs.  I work extremely fast and can put out 1-2 finished songs per week.  If I were to die or end the band today, there would be a good 5 albums ready to go.  We’d be like the Tupac of the gothic rock world – dead, but still coming out with albums!

How do you create your music, what most often comes first and how do you develop these seeds?

I usually sit around and think to myself, “What would people really NOT want to hear.”

I’m usually inspired by a song, whether it is good or bad, or some kind of mood or feeling and then I sit at my keyboards and see what comes out.  I have spent hours just messing around with keyboard riffs and ideas, but usually I try and get the music to the chorus part done first and build the rest of the song around that.  A lot of times it doesn’t work that way, but that is initially how I start.  Once I finish writing and recording the main keyboard part, I fill in the rest of the sounds.  The drums usually come together last, as far as the music goes.  99% of the time, the lyrics and vocals are written and arranged after the music has been finalized.  I hate writing lyrics though, yet, ironically I spend a lot of time working on them.  It’s like an organized chaos and sometimes a warzone when I am writing a song.

You produce and mix your own releases too?

Yep.  I have the most unconventional equipment set up, but somehow it works for us.

How do stop yourself from getting too close in that department when you are doing every aspect of the music, do you have an outside ear to offer thoughts and ideas around too? Demonika maybe?

Exactly!  You hit the nail on the head, my friend.  I have to step away from it a lot and have Demonika take a listen.  Aside from her, I don’t want any outside influence because I don’t want to feel like I have to compromise what I do to appease someone.  Occasionally, I will ask my friends what they think of a particular mix or song, but that’s it.

How do you set up your live shows, still just the two of you?

It has changed for every show.  For the first 3 shows, we had a full line up (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums), without using any kind of backing tracks, but when I moved to Canada, we got booked for a show and I couldn’t secure a line up, so I had to resort to having our music (keyboards and drums) backtracked with Demonika and myself on vocals (respectively).  Honestly, I had so many problems with live musicians in the past, that we decided to keep the backtracks and go from there.  Some people might see that as unethical, but whatever.  The music is all created electronically, and unfortunately I can’t sing and play keyboard at the same time, so we have to resort to extreme measures to play shows.  Demonika doesn’t want to play shows anymore, and honestly, neither do I.  However, I get that “itch” from time to time, so if we play any shows in the future it will just be me and my lap top on stage.  I am also considering doing “internet shows” so people from all over the world can check it out, being as most of our fans are either in Europe or the U.S.

Is there a good audience for goth/black/industrial metal in Canada and especially Ontario where you are from?

Not at all.  We constantly get the cold shoulder from promoters around here, as well as bands, and just people in, general.  Most of the people around here just hate our style of music.  It’s really discouraging and disappointing.  The main thing is that it’s so divided here between crowds/scenes.  To make it in a band around here you either have to play really banal sounding hardcore/metal or classic rock and country.  There is no in between.  With most of our past shows, we’d get booked to play with all metal/hardcore bands, and that crowd is definitely not our demographic, to say the least.  Our last show we ended up opening for a blues, cover band.

Can we move on to the great art work to your albums, that is all your work too I believe?

Yes, indeed!

How long have you been creating art and is it an important part of the whole music experience you bring to your releases?

I have been an artist way longer than I have been a musician.  I have been creating art since I was a little kid.  I think my art is really contrasting to my music, but I think they work well together as a package deal.

What are your inspirations in this aspect of your skills?

I’d say mostly:  Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miro.

I am sure I am wrong but I just have this thought there is a link or theme running through your art which wraps around your releases?

Well, the art you see is just my style, so all of my pieces have a unique, ongoing look and theme.  For album covers, I generally just choose a piece that seems to fit for that particular album.

Apart from your album sleeves you do not have a gallery for your work on the website so where can people see more of your art?

Thanks for asking. Yes, I do:  https://www.facebook.com/visualdecadenceofficial

Does the art come after the music when creating music or arrive hand in hand?

No, I do art and music completely separate.  However, a song title has been known to influence a piece of artwork.

Which receives the priority of your time music or painting?

I’d say it’s about 50/50 give or take.  Some days I work on music all day and vice versa.

When can we get our ears and thoughts into your next album?

“Master Of Funerals” will be the next album, which we are planning for Halloween this year (2012).

Once again a great many thanks for sharing time with us.

Would you like to leave with a final thought or comment?

It’s not how much Crown [Crown Royal] you can drink, it’s how much ass you can get while drinking Crown.  I believe Vinnie Paul said that or something like that.  In regards to the music and art, you can download most of our albums on our website and tell all your friends (who might like us) to ‘like’ us on Facebook and spread the decay.

https://www.facebook.com/daysofourdecay

Read the review of Electric Twilight @

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2012

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Silent Opera: Immortal Beauty

Immortal Beauty from Italian symphonic metal band Silent Opera is an epic and vibrant album that sweeps one up in its grandeur and expansive sounds. The release offers a mix of the intimate and a more general theatrical wrapping for the ear which ebbs and flows to great effect, making it an album that whether it hits the right spot for you or not makes it one that is constantly intriguing and persistently provoking the emotions.

Formed in early 2010 Silent Opera consisting of Lady Victoria (lead singer), Rain (guitars), Alexandre (bass) and Shadow (drums) took no time in refining their sound with live shows before moving on to record this their debut album. Their symphonic/gothic sound carries the power and grace of the likes of Within Temptation and Nightwish but with an added operatic and theatrical flourish that sets them apart. With a themed life to it based around four immortals and their individual stories the album captures the imagination with ease even if at times the immediacy of some tracks are lost in others.

The first notable element of the sound is the vocals of Lady Victoria. She has an operatic skill and power that can stir the blood and ignite the senses but at times it also seems and feels out of place with the music and there is a struggle going on between her and the music surrounding her. This is not a destructive issue but it is an aspect that one feels need to be better defined to get a positively strong attention the band and she deserves, against that though her delivery gives certain songs a depth and pomp that fits wonderfully within the immortal/of the gods premise. Personally when she restrains and controls fully her obvious talent and skill the songs flow and capture the imagination much better but as always it is only a personal view.

Musically the band hit the mark consistently from the opening heart beat and ambient keys of Mask Manor and its breaking magnific presence through to the epic and imposing closer The Silent Opera. There is a vibrancy and thoughtful craft to the sounds that envelope and please throughout. The starter sets up the journey of the album perfectly and like the album on the whole, grabs warm attention and an eager ear.

The album first truly takes a heightened grip with Morningstar, a graceful and easy flowing majestic song. With the keys pushing towards the skies the guitars and bass rile up the senses with a strong and well defined play alongside attentive riffs whilst the drums take a firm if undemanding grip. The vocals are perfect for the enlightened sounds and combined there is a feel of lofty intentions and emotions swirling around the ear.

Further highlights include the piano led beauty of Farewell a song that glistens with passion, Always With You with the addition of great male vocals to add a bite and imposing might to the flowing power, and Lilium, a track that offers a noble and touching caress upon the senses. These go to making Immortal Beauty an album that always gives the ear something to be engaged by but it is when the band strike with a  heightened intensity that they fully connect. Second song Chapters with its thumping and momentous almost industrial symphonic metal prowling suggests the band has a tougher edge and it is only the vocals that sadly deflect from the track and its impressive sterner tread upon the ear but with Your Muse the band drip intensity and aggressive energy. Opening on Rammstein like male growling and industrial blistering riffs the song stomps across and defiantly pounces upon the senses. Electronic niggling lines the song giving it an eager light against the muscular and intimidating rhythms and flexing riffs. The song is a gem, Lady Victoria offering her best diverse vocals to temper the aggressive male accosting.

Immortal Beauty is a fine album that satisfies much more than it misses the spot. Silent Opera are a band to watch closely as they surely evolve and grow into something even more impressive.

www.facebook.com/Silentoperaitaly

RingMaster 11/03/2012

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