Abstracter – Wound Empire

abstracter_band_pic_1

Thrusting the listener into a doomed physical and emotional landscape, a stark yet compelling void, US doomers Abstracter enchant and suffocate with the impressive Wound Empire. Four tracks to immerse within gleefully whilst expanding into the darkest corners of the psyche, the forty minute long album is a tantalising and fearsome journey though the rawest of climates over uncompromising wastelands.

Wound Empire is the successor to debut album Tomb of Feathers; a new encounter which those in the know suggest finds the Oakland band taking their already acclaimed sound to further reaching intensive heights. Breeding their own bordering on hallucinatory soundscapes within Wound Empire from inspirations which range from essences of Godfesh, Swans, and Neurosis to His Hero is Gone, Blut Aus Nord, Dystopia, and Darkthrone, Abstracter recorded their release with Greg “The Wizard of Doom” Wilkinson (Brainoil, Iron Lung, High On Fire, Noothgrush, OM, Atriarch) last year. Continuing their “fascination with concepts of human decline, cultural and industrial ruin, and complete social collapse,” the band swiftly engulfs and incites from the release’s first breath.

Lightless opens on a sonic breeze, broadening its haunted cold presence through raw caresses of guitar and a resonating heavy bass tone. As the whole of the album’s proposal, the track is a slow expansion of sound but every note and heavy lure offers a potent piece in an emerging picture. Once in full caustically scenic view, riffs gnaw and beckon with corrosive breath and infectious nature whilst the bass turns carnivorous in sound and predation as it prowls the track’s primordial terrain. Oppressively heavy and crushingly merciless, the doom drenched offering surprisingly has a potent swagger and contagiousness to its unsettling presence, a catchiness to enthral and grip ears and body as imagination and emotions are buffeted and ignited by the sonic enterprise.

There is no respite from the cavernous depths and cold of the climate evolved in its predecessor as Open Veins follows; the blackened sludge reaped tar of sound and coarse emotions a FINAL_ABSTRACTER_jacketmelancholic poison seeping over flesh and thought whilst crust caked vocals roar and slowly squally within the invasive doom. Slim but toxic grooves only add to the allure and detached nature of the track, their minimalistic but rich tempting a vine to grip as the rest of the sounds and vocals groan with the breath of hell.

The transfixing presence of Cruciform comes next and by this point the realisation that Wound Empire should definitely be taken as one fluid dose rather than individual apocalyptic descents into glacial prisons is evident. It is fair to say that the track holds none of the almost welcoming traits of its predecessors but still has some form of catchiness to its flight into the heart of the soulless; its sounds binding as they erode air and senses with caustic persistence.

Wound Empire is concluded by Glowing Wounds, a calmer slightly celestial tempting which still remains encased in an immense doom sculpted embrace. The track is as meditative as it is sonically fierce, a lingering flight across radiant hopes but accompanied by an insidious hold of unrelenting blackened malevolence. A masterful end to a seriously riveting encounter, song and album will not be an easy fit for all, but offers a thought and emotion provoking arousal each can take something from. In the dark times and world which encroaches on us all, it is releases like this and its groan of hell rather than most tirades of words which brings the cold reality home.

Wound Empire is released in the US and Europe on February 10th 2015 digitally via Sentient Ruin Laboratories @ http://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/wound-empire, on cassette through Sentient Ruin Laboratories and An Out Recordings, on CD by COF Records, and in vinyl version by Fragile Branch Recordings in the US and Vendetta Records, 7Degrees Records, and Shove Records across Europe.

http://abstracterband.com/

RingMaster 10/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Stoneburner – Life Drawing

Stoneburner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Drawing is available through Neurot Recordings now!

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

9/10

RingMaster 15/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Acephalix: Deathless Master

What to say about Deathless Master the debut album from US death metallers Acephalix. It is singular in attack, sound, and intent, it is relatively unadventurous and it is unremarkable in changing the genre or thoughts of its followers, most of all it strikingly impressive and deeply satisfying. The album does nothing but stoke up the fires and passions that lurk in every dark recess of the heart and mind. It is a release that barely strays from its core and a blistering album uniformal in sound, quality, and enjoyment.

Out of San Francisco, Acephalix formed in 2007 with originally a crust punk surface to their death metal sounds. Taking influences such as the likes of Celtic Frost, Cro-Mags, Discharge, and Bolt Thrower to add to their ideas the band has evolved into what is bursting out from Deathless Master, a spiteful venomous old school tainted death metal band. Last year saw an upturn in attention their way with the bringing together of their two cassette demos in one limited edition CD called Interminable Night through Southern Lord. The 2,000 strong pressing sold out swiftly and brought them to the fore of underground metal. Shows in support of the release did them no harm either whilst their part in the Power of the Riff 2011 tour with the likes of Undergang, Black Breath, Winter, Noothgrush, Eyehategod, and Pentagram only increased the acclaim.

Again through Southern Lord, Deathless Master seals the full transformation of the band and their sound though there are still tones of their initial punk driven energies veining the tracks within. As heralding chords open up the album and starter Bastard Self and guitars blister the ear the sense of something powerful and vicious approaching is immediate. The track does not leave it long to bring confirmation as tumultuous riffs flatten all defences and the rhythms leave the ear quaking in the aftershock. The track is not a full on assault though, it is more premeditated and picks at the nerves with razor blade melodies and a groove to strangle all life it touches, and with the festering corruptive filth claiming to be vocals outstanding the track lays waste.

It is a staggering start from arguably one of the weaker songs on the album, if the word can be used in any context regarding a release this powerful and aggressive. Things do take a further upturn though with the following duo of the title track and Tomb Of Our Fathers. Deathless Master surges upon the senses like a rabid scourge, incessant and merciless it is a ravenous assault of thumping drums and malicious riffs. With a death knell ambience to the cleaner spoken vocals behind the full pit borne gutturals creations that lead, the track is a crushing pleasure. Tomb Of Our Fathers picks up where its predecessor left off, its raging rampage hypnotic and the caustic groove that follows in their wake vehement in intent and mesmeric effect. With an added solo which sears deep furrows within the senses it is an unstoppable joy.

Already one is aware that diversity is not the order of the day though each track offers something a little different to be numbed and violated by. Because the base and intensity of what the band does offer is so immense and gratifying it really is not an issue. Tracks like the outstanding On Wings and Raw Life just leave one a gleeful spent husk from their irrepressible consumption. The first of the two is a song staggeringly effective in simplicity of vocals and attack, its smothering fetid aural stench a contagion that reeks of malice and foul intentions. The latter is a mesmeric piece of putrefaction, its decomposing breath a smog of sonic evil. From an initial prowl and taunting air the song slowly shifts its muscular might into the expected charge that fuels each track but always it offers the tease of a respite to snatch it away with pure devilment.

Blood Of Desire, In Arms Of Nothing, and the great closer In Hunger ensure the album retains its high level from start to finish. The uniformal heart of the album means every second of the album is an incessant and very satisfying annihilation devoid of lulls. Obviously you have to have that level set at a high to make it work and Acephalix definitely achieve that. Like ordering eight slabs of quality steak for consecutive meals you know what you will get, there are no surprises, but it is a guaranteed feast of flavoursome and undeniably tasty pleasure each and every time. Deathless Master is the same, enjoy!

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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